How could freedom be the worst thing about America? For the same reason it is also the best. We like being free and hold ourselves to a higher standard because of our belief in freedom. We extend this value not only to anyone who visits, but to people in other nations who don’t have the slightest idea what freedom is. Is this a bad thing? It is when we fall prey to the myth behind what being free in America means.
Best thing about America: our freedom myth
We should be proud of our heritage. The mythology behind American history embraces everything from the quest for religious freedom, to the colonists’ demands for justice in government, to the immigrant’s search for sanctuary.
History changes things and not always for the better. Freedom of religion has come to mean tolerating a religion notorious for intolerance. Justice in government only works if it is extended to everyone no matter who is in charge. That’s no longer the case. Ellis Island’s inspection station was hallowed ground for immigrants arriving in the U.S., even for those who were quarantined because of disease. Today, such a place would be considered racist, xenophobic, and unnecessary. Immigrants come as they please and we’re forbidden to even ask whether they should be here because that simple question might be profiling.
Xenophobia is a Democratic affliction
After political commentator Bob Beckel used the word “Chinamen” during a discussion of Chinese hacking last July, the House Asian Pacific American Caucus released this statement:
The implications go far beyond the Chinese community by promoting a culture of intolerance that has no place in our society. Unfortunately, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community knows all too well the dangers of these xenophobic views.¹
Wrong. Intolerance does have a place in our society. We just have to be careful how we use it. We need to be smart. The kind of “no exceptions” tolerance that leads the president of the United States to fawn over Islam by claiming that ISIS is not Islamic has no place in an America horrified at footage of beheadings (see: Politicians Hide Behind Smokescreen of Religious Tolerance).
Having an open society shouldn’t mean leaving our doors unlocked, but that seems to be where freedom in America is headed. Is it racist and xenophobic to warn that some of the Mexican and Central American nationals coming over the border look a lot like Middle Easterners? The PC crowd would say yes. They would never understand that suppressing unpopular political views denies Americans their freedom, or that refusing to acknowledge this threat out of correctness puts us in danger. The announcement of a minimalist Ebola screening policy will be called xenophobic by some, instead of just another poorly thought out government sop to make the people feel secure while we wait for an avoidable situation to turn into a crisis.
Two smart ways to take away freedom
Freedom is one of the best things about America. To prevent it from becoming one of the worst, here are two ways we can pull back and make ourselves safer right now:
1. Seal the borders. Enough lies. If Tea Party Republicans were coming over the Southwest border the White House would have made it impossible for so much as a ray of sunlight to cross. Freedom isn’t about endangering our security or trading amnesty for enforcement. Get it done now.
2. Profile. Remember the furor over profiling for terrorists at airport security checkpoints that led to children being searched? Now we have another opportunity for liberals to charge profiling over the announcement of piecemeal Ebola screening. The joke is on them, of course. Whenever a situation ignored out of correctness spirals out of control the left looks to their government for the solution. What happens? Government fails. Ask the president why the surge from Central America suddenly became an immigration crisis he couldn’t handle. Then ask what he’ll do when Ebola cases start showing up because we didn’t quarantine arriving West African nationals or stop their travel to the U.S. altogether until the epidemic was under control.
I don’t recall seeing Hispanic groups protesting en masse against illegal immigration. Nor can I recall seeing footage of great numbers of American Muslims waving signs at cameras to show the world how they feel about ISIS, though radical Islam shows an incredible zeal for denying the freedom they enjoy here. Ebola? The Dallas Hospital where the sole U.S. case died is already under fire for not doing enough. If accusations haven’t been made yet about the expired patient’s origin or skin color, you will hear them soon.
Americans will always hold our country to a higher standard. Our strong support for the freedom of the individual is one of the best things about us. Just one question. Why do we have to be so stupid about it?