Did patriotism get a bad name, or have we had it so good for so long that we forgot what made America a superpower and world leader? We need to remember. Disloyalty to what made this country great is being cultivated by elected opportunists who decided that the principles this country was founded on are flawed.
We have a choice to make. Will we live up to the legacy of patriotism that led the world to look to us for guidance because of what we used to believe, or is it time to give up what previous generations sacrificed for because government officials encourage our disloyalty to America?
When patriotism demanded a nuclear strike from a superpower.
During a November 2009 press conference with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan, President Obama was asked twice whether the nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the right thing to do:
And to President Obama, you are a proponent of a nuclear-free world, and you’ve stated, first of all, you would like to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki while in office. Do you have this desire? And what is your understanding of the historical meaning of the A-bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Do you think that it was the right decision?¹
The president never answered the question.
The force of will that made America a superpower allowed us to make that historic decision in 1945 because we knew America was right. That resolve no longer exists.
Think about the legacy of 9/11, an attack on our homeland where the loss of life was even greater than Pearl Harbor and still hasn’t been answered for. We struggle to negotiate with a recalcitrant Hamid Karzai and worry about the spread of terrorism in Iraq. As our influence in the Middle East under Obama is called into question we appear weak on the world stage when dealing with Iran and Syria and snub our ally, Israel.
When we need to summon the same national strength to face down Putin that we used against Khrushchev in 1962 we come up empty-handed. Capitulation and apologies, not patriotism, put us where we are now (see: America Shamed as Obama’s Global Leadership Crisis Grows).
Patriotism means loyalty to principles many Americans reject.
Patriotism means setting weepy platitudes about loving our country aside and talking about disloyalty and dependence. Do Americans loyal to our core values elect politicians like Nancy Pelosi, who used February’s lukewarm jobs report as an excuse to demand more handouts?
As of this week, more than 2 million Americans have been pushed off the emergency unemployment insurance they rely on to support their families as they search for work, but Republicans refuse to renew this essential lifeline. By increasing the minimum wage, we can put billions of dollars into consumers’ pockets, lift one million Americans out of poverty, and give a long overdue pay raise to at least 25 million hard working men and women – yet Republicans refuse to act.²
What happened to America’s reliance on individualism, sacrifice, freedom, and work? Three of the biggest issues to be fought over during midterm election races will be forcing businesses to raise the pay of unskilled workers, giving away citizenship, and finding ways to finance more handouts. We have to wonder whether our country could still survive real adversity. Patriotism used to mean sacrifice. Do we even remember what that means?
America the superpower led by example.
How much does our disloyalty to uniquely American values contribute to the rot that undercuts our economic influence and might, hastening America’s decline as a superpower?
In years past the simple force of words from America’s president could resolve a conflict because there was no doubt what stood behind those words. This is what the world hears when Secretary of State Kerry gets behind a microphone and talks about the situation in Ukraine:
As President Obama has said, we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine, and support international mediation to address any legitimate issues regarding the protection of minority rights or security.³
Guess what? Putin didn’t listen.