Proud to Be an American?
Patriotism and Contemporary Politics
American patriotism is on a slippery slope, and Americans' sense of their freedoms is following close behind.
“Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.” –Benjamin Rush (1773)
To celebrate Independence Day last week, American Apparel, a company that supports a plethora of left-wing causes, posted a patriotic fireworks image to its social media feed. Unfortunately, the image was a retouched photo of the Challenger Shuttle explosion, which the company says was posted “in error by one of our social media employees who was born after the Challenger tragedy and was unaware of the context.”
By extension, can we assume, given that all the employees of American Apparel were born after 1776, they have equally little understanding of the context for Independence Day?
The irony of this “error” is an appropriate metaphor for why American patriotism is on a slippery slope, and Americans’ sense of their freedoms is following close behind.
According to a new Pew Research study, 60% of “solid liberals” (those who support big government, are skeptical of free enterprise and support liberal social policies) say they do not “feel proud to be American,” a far cry from the 72% of “steadfast conservatives” and 81% of “business conservatives” who feel that way.
Admittedly, research findings such as these fall into the “keen sense of the obvious” category.
Pew also noted that only 28% of Americans now believe the U.S. is exceptional – a decline of 10% since 2011. That makes sense, given that in 2009, Barack Hussein Obama declared, “I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” As political analyst Jonah Goldberg observed, Obama dismissed “American exceptionalism as an empty platitude … a vague and meaningless form of national self-esteem, rather than a complex concept describing the uniqueness of the American founding and American character.”
In his farewell address to the nation in 1989, Ronald Reagan said, “An informed patriotism is what we want.”
But under Obama’s oppressive (a.k.a., progressive) regime, a generation of “useful idiots” is on the rise, and under the tutelage of their Community Organizer in Chief, they are becoming progressively more ignorant of the their most rudimentary civic duties and responsibilities. For that reason, and because they don’t understand the fundamental context of Essential Liberty, they have little patriotic pride in America.
Further, according to a recent Gallup survey on Liberty, the percentage of Americans satisfied with their level of freedom has plunged more than 10 points since Obama rose to power. The U.S. now ranks an appalling 36th among countries where citizens express confidence in their freedoms, and we have the dubious distinction of being one of only 10 nations where citizens say their freedoms have sharply declined. Others in that woeful group include Venezuela, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece and Yemen.
Of note, that survey also found that 11% of Americans would like to take up residence in another country … and may the door hit them in the arse on the way out!
Another recent Gallup survey showed that Congress’s approval rating is now just 7%, and the executive branch’s approval is just 29% – a six-year low. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans believing government corruption is widespread has risen dramatically to 79%.
Anticipating this slide in patriotic pride was predictable, given that, for more than five years, the largest soapbox in the world has been occupied by an ideological socialist whose every endeavor and utterance seems to make our nation weaker and less exceptional, inside and out.
Back in 2008, in a series on then-presidential candidate Obama’s pathos, I noted that Obama was a “disciple of hate” as the protégé of his longtime “pastor” and friend, Jeremiah Wright.
Of greater political significance, in the third part of that series, “Another Marx Brother,” I named the Marxist mentors who shaped Obama’s political views from his earliest years to the launch of his presidential aspirations. I noted that his first political fundraiser back in 1995 was hosted by his friend and neighbor, Bill Ayers, cofounder of the Weather Underground, a communist revolutionary terrorist group which bombed public buildings in the 1960s and 1970s, including police stations, the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol Building.
Not only were Obama and Ayers friends, but they also actively worked together for leftist organizations. And Ayers’s terrorist wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was a close friend and law partner with Michelle Obama.
In a rare interview last week, Ayers proclaimed, “I’m not proud to be an American and I don’t buy the American exceptionalism at all.”
Ayers, who recently retired as a professor of elementary education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, posted this note on his blog last week: “On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.”
Sound like anyone else you know?
In the second of his autobiographies, penned just before he began his presidential campaign in earnest, Obama wrote, “I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
In other words, he is a charismatic master of “The BIG Lie,” a smooth-talking pathological narcissist who duped a narrow majority of Americans into voting for him – twice. Unfortunately, the consequences of his subterfuge have now significantly undermined American exceptionalism, both in perception and fact.
In 1998, one of The Patriot Post’s early and enthusiastic supporters, William F. Buckley Jr., pondered the topic of patriotism. He noted that 18th century conservative philosopher Edmund Burke “said it definitively, that a society, to be loved, must be lovely.” But, Buckley warned, “[S]ome probationary signs are flying.”
Those signs have now been codified by the Socialist Democrat Party, but they can be torn down as readily as they were erected. To that end, Burke also wrote, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
Indeed, for millions of American Patriots across our nation, we have not lost faith in our Founders’ assertion that “Liberty Is Eternal,” and we remain equally ready to fight for the same. Are we still proud to be Americans? That’s a sure bet!
Fortunately, Obama’s façade is now fracturing, and according to the latest Quinnipiac University survey he now leads the pack as the worst president since World War II.
(Footnote: If you are among those who occasionally find yourself bogged down under leftist siege, take a moment to listen to the words of “My Beautiful America” by my fellow Tennessean, Charlie Daniels.)