Will we revive or resist that which made America great?
It is admittedly sad that we feel compelled to ask the question headlined above. But as a once-unthinkable balkanization of America continues unabated and the nation divides into tribal units living in separate and irreconcilable worlds, reality bites.
As Americans celebrate, commemorate, or ignore 243 years of freedom flowing from this experiment called a constitutional republic, let none of us understate how the very concept of this independent nation was radical to its core. The notion that a distant colony under the boot of the world’s most powerful empire would not only break free but put into practice an audacious theory of self-governance unparalleled in centuries of civilization was virtually inconceivable.
The founders with the unbridled courage to rebel and the framers with the collective wisdom to actualize their vision produced a swath of individual rights that remain uniquely American more than two centuries beyond the ratification of our Constitution. No other nation guarantees free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, the right to a speedy trial, and the additional bundle of rights which protect our individual liberty, however eroded they may appear in the fullness of time. And no nation has produced more prosperity in the history of civilization.
So why is the nation increasingly threatened from within by forces seeking to tear down the foundations upon which it was built? Why has July 4, for many, turned from a celebration of all things American to a debate over whether America is actually worth celebrating?
Furthermore, how many more disastrous experiments in tyranny, anathema to the enlightened ideals of America, must you see littered along the trail of tears that is collectivism, in the futile search for a perfect world populated by imperfect people?
Here is the central question for the resistance on this July 4: If America is the unjust society you claim it to be, why do the poor, tired, and huddled masses still yearn to breathe its freedom? The waves of desperate immigrants presently drawn to our land by the promiscuous promises of those committed to opening our borders present an unfortunate reality, but also an ultimately fortunate conclusion: America remains the go-to beacon of freedom in a dark world.
More questions for the social justice warriors: If America is unworthy of celebration or even commemoration this day, what about the more than one million souls who lost their lives during a war to end slavery and extend rights to all our people? What nation rescued the world from totalitarian tyranny of every stripe, from Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union, at the cost of untold human treasure? Can you not stand in awe at the nation’s founders, men of great privilege, wealth, and comfort, who were willing to risk certain execution for the sake of an experiment granting unparallelled power to the unwashed masses – people just like you?
A Cold War?
The gulf between the revivalists and resistors has become so wide as to stoke fears of a second war – cold or hot – between the states. At the heart of it is the increasingly troublesome national argument about the very definition of what America has been, is, and should be. One side treasures the individual; the other values the group. The revivalists affirm the melting pot which has defined the nation from its inception, recognizing the sovereignty of every person, and that the embrace of shared values stands at the heart of our national character. The resisters dream of a mosaic – multiple and partitioned cultures in coexistence – unburdened by the nation’s blood-stained history and illegitimate foundation.
The fading anthem of e pluribus unum – out of many, one – is threatened to a degree we have not witnessed since the conflagration of the mid-19th century. It has been steadily replaced by a political correctness that represents the slow drip of despotism. But 2020 beckons, and one of those once-radical, now-fundamental privileges of freedom will soon be exercised afresh as the nation’s electorate weighs in on the question of which future America should embrace: the revival of or resistance to that which made the nation great in the first place.
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