Filed under: Conservatism, History, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: America, Patriotism, Politics, Sarah Palin
I have a confession. For a number of years, I have been copying down passages from my reading into my own book of quotations. Not pithy little sayings like Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but long paragraphs that struck me as offering some special insight into our world. The following is one such passage, from a book called The Mythic West by the late Robert G. Athearn. Dr. Athearn was for many years a professor at the University of Colorado, author of many histories, and a recipient of the Western Heritage Award.
In the Western myth, many have found exactly what they were looking for. Significantly, the images and the simple story of the western legend first caught on in the early nineteenth century, those years when the young Republic, like a proud and gawky adolescent was trying to decide who and what it was. This myth has been around ever since, simply because it has always done its job.
The legend is rooted in a story with which just about anyone can identify. It tells what happened when ordinary people moved into an extraordinary land. Often enough they overcame the challenges that they met there, but the real point of the story is not what happened to the land, but what happened to the people. They were changed, the legend insists — transformed, reborn. And they were better for it. The ordeal in the wilderness created the American, we believe; free-thinking, open, tough, optimistic, self-reliant — the litany goes on and on. The western hero has embodied these virtues and this message. He is us, only a little bigger, tougher, braver. From James Fenimore Cooper to John Wayne, whenever anyone has told us this story and has done it well, we have clapped and made him rich.
To me this captured something about Americans that I have not seen elsewhere. It speaks to me of Americans’ love of their country and their identification with it. For Americans differ from citizens of other countries in their pride in their country, their satisfaction with their country and their conviction that there is no better place.
The picture of the flags above came from the Democratic National Convention, about a week later, when 84 bags of flags were left out by the garbage tins, apparently intended for the dump. Boy Scouts rescued them and a McCain supporter distributed them at a McCain rally. Details are here, here and here. Democrats were incensed, and predictably called it a cheap political stunt calling into question their patriotism.
Now I don’t know if anyone called their patriotism into question. I neither heard it, not saw any such statement. What I do recognize is a kind of sinking-feeling, a sadness that others don’t always understand. Perhaps it is more understandable, viewed from the other side, in a story from the Wall Street Journal. In a story about the Olympics in Beijing, Kobe Bryant told NBC’s Chris Collingsworth about how he got “goosebumps” when he received his Olympics uniform.
“I actually just looked at it for a while; I just held it there and I laid it aross my bed and I just stared at it for a few minutes; just because as a kid growing up this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball.” The L.A. Laker went on to call the US “the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities, and it’s just a sense of pride that you have; that you say, ‘You know what? Our country is the best.”
Mr. Collingsworth was startled. “Is that a cool thing to say in this day and age? That you love your country, and that you’re fighting for the red, white and blue? It seems sort of like a day gone by.”
Now I don’t know what is more startling, Mr. Collingsworth’s statement, or the fact that this small incident was considered important enough to be featured in the Wall Street Journal.
The point I am trying to make is that Sarah Palin would immediately identify with the passage that I quoted above, and ordinary Americans know that she would; because they identify with it themselves. That’s why they put their kids in Boy Scouts, and teach them to be respectful about the flag, and to care about their country, and to treat those who have served their country with respect and gratitude.
That’s why ordinary Americans are offended when the Obama Campaign sends an army of lawyers to Anchorage, armed with pocketsfull of cash, to see what dirt they can dig up on Sarah Palin. They are offended by folks who treat the flag with disrespect, let alone setting it on fire, while they grit their teeth because it is constitutionally protected speech. But they also understand straight talk when they hear it. And they are very, very tired of hearing about how terrible their country is, and what dire straits it is in, and how ordinary Americans need more government to take care of them.
Nobody is questioning your patriotism, Democrats. We are questioning your judgment. And if the shoe fits uncomfortably, well…
Filed under: Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, History, Military, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: America, Declaration of Independence, Freedom, History, Liberty, The Constitution
WE hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness —
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People
to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its Foundation on such Principles,
and organizing its Powers in such Form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness.
~ Action of the Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776
“He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him into America’s richest man….Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.”
~Richard Brookhiser on George Washington
“I have a deep-seated belief that America is unique, strong, great because of a commitment to personal freedom — in our economic system and our politics. We are a free people who consented to be governed. Not vice-versa.”
~Senator John Sununu
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
“The clear lesson of history is that individual liberty, the basic underpinning of American society, requires constant defense against the encroachment of the state”
“A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
~Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 1926
“For it has been said so truthfully that it is
the soldier, not the reporter, who
has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator,
who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag,
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who gives that protester
the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, History, Iraq, Military | Tags: Afghanistan, Air Force, America, Army, Coast Guard, Holidays, Honor the Fallen, Iraq, Mansions of the Lord, Marines, Memorial Day, Military, National Guard, Navy, Support the Troops!
For over 230 years, far better men than I have risked everything fighting for our independence, fighting to keep us together, putting themselves between America and the evils of the world. They are doing so now.
To a man they knew the dangers. To a man they went anyway.
Today we honor those who have fallen to keep us safe and free. We are forever in their debt.
We must always remember what they’ve done for us. Too many take it for granted. Still others really have no idea. That makes it even more important that the rest of us remember and honor them.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Of all the Memorial Day tributes I found, this was my favorite, but it is one that I can’t embed on our page, so I hope you’ll click the link and watch it. These were also very moving tributes…
Thank you to all who serve. God bless and keep those who gave all.