America First, American constitutionalism, American exceptionalism, barack obama, D/S/Cs, globalists, john kerry, Make America Great Again, nationalism, President Trump, racist, The Founders, Thomas Jefferson, Tribalism, Winston Churchill
One sees “nationalism” bandied about these days, usually by D/S/Cs, as an insult, a grievous wrong on the level of “racist,” the all-purpose D/S/C retort. It is the habit of the D/S/C movement to do everything possible to control “messaging,” under the assumption that if they can define the terms of debate—when they can’t shut it off entirely–they win. So they impose labels that allow them to alter reality as necessary for each newly refined narrative as the political winds shift. Just to level the playing field for the purposes of this article, let’s see Merriam Webster’s denotation of the word:
1 : loyalty and devotion to a nation especially : a sense of national consciousness (see consciousness sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups
Under this relatively benign definition, President Trump’s determination to “put America first,” seems positively bland and unobjectionable. Keep in mind, however, scant years ago, the second part of the definition, relating to global government, would not have been a part of any definition of nationalism. Now, when one’s political objectives reject any semblance of recognition of American exceptionalism, values or culture, unbiased definitions are not sufficient. Nationalism, as traditionally understood, is an appreciation for one’s culture, such that its preservation, by means of national sovereignty, is essential, a good, even noble thing. However, Globalism, a sort of religion of the self-imagined elite–the self-imagined “citizens of the world”–cannot abide nationalism, which of necessity rejects its premises.
This is in large part why Donald Trump won in 2016, and why he is likely to win in 2020. He understands, inherently, the definition, the feeling, of American nationalism, a feeling he encapsulated in “America first.” D/S/Cs try to depict this rational, even noble ethic as selfish, even evil. It’s anything but. Putting America, above other considerations is necessary, for if America is not solvent, strong and capable, America cannot act for good for her people, on the world stage, and the vacuum left by a failed America will surely be filled by nations with far less noble aspirations for the rest of the world.
Globalists see nationalists as anachronistic, a throwback to the savage tribalism of ages past. Nationalists are unenlightened, warlike, prejudiced, not nearly as sophisticated and nuanced as Globalists. This is a self-perpetuating belief. If Nationalists don’t believe as Globalists do, they are prima facie inferior, wrong and dangerous. Thus was the attempt to keep England under the globalist umbrella of the EU long, angry and poisonous. By contemporary, self-imagined elite definitions, the English are nationalists, and not in a good way.
Movements of all kinds—political, artistic, musical—are reactions to the status quo, to what has come before. However, for normal Americans, people who are nationalistic without necessarily identifying themselves in that way, there is nothing to which to react. They love their country, and generally love their countrymen. They see millions doing whatever is necessary to cross the Southern border. They see millions from every nation desperate to become Americans, or at the very least, participate in all that America offers, even if illegally. They appreciate our liberties and the prosperity so many take for granted and shed a grateful tear at the sacrifices of our military members and those that love them, and at the display of our flag and all it symbolizes.
To be sure, they recognize our faults, but because most put God and family before country, they are forgiving. It has often been said Europeans are always focused on the past, but Americans are always focused on the future. This is so because Americans believe they are always making the future, and each and every American has a part in it. Normal Americans love America and Americans. All too often, D/S/Cs don’t. That is why normal Americans, after eight years of Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and other Obamites, voted for Donald Trump. He promised to put America first, and thus far, he has. Americans are, by and large, happy they voted for Donald Trump, not because he’s Republican, or they think him some sort of messiah—that’s for D/S/Cs—but because he sees America as they do, and despite his many public faults, he has their backs.
Normal Americans have no doubt America is the greatest nation in the world. They know this emotionally, and by any rational measure.
Another important factor in American nationalism is American constitutionalism. Winston Churchill expressed the underlying issue well:
Indeed it has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government, with the exception of all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Our representative republic is the best form of government for a nation of our size, a nation so vast direct democracy is unworkable. It is the Constitution that makes us a nation of laws, not of men, that establishes the rule of law, and that makes some policies, no matter how well intentioned, impermissible. It is also the greatest contemporary point of contention, because it must live in the hearts of every American. If it doesn’t, we see the kind of division so prevalent today.
There are many, the largest portion being D/S/Cs, who no longer believe in American constitutionalism, if indeed they ever did. Perhaps they are merely more strident about their true beliefs, when before, they were more cautious about expressing them. They support the Constitution—or pretend to—only when it aligns with their desires and policies. When it does not, they ignore it, or seek to destroy it by judicial fiat, or by passing unconstitutional laws and implementing unconstitutional policies. Thus do they threaten to pack the Supreme Court, do away with the Electoral College, write into law vote fraud, and eliminate the First and Second Amendments.
The schism goes deeper, however. No nation is sovereign without secure borders and the rule of law. No nation can stand without a common language and culture. No nation that does not require immigrants to fully assimilate can long endure, yet in the pursuit of power, D/S/Cs are willing to destroy all that America is in the certainty of their unprecedented brilliance, of building a socialist utopia where all before them have failed.
Normal Americans want immigrants to assimilate, to learn the language and our culture, not because they are jingoistic, but because they want them to become Americans, to share in America’s bounty. They don’t expect immigrants to abandon their culture or their faith, they want them to be able to fully participate in our great American faith: American constitutionalism. They reject the “salad bowl” analogy because it seeks to do away with our “melting pot.” It asserts that all cultures are equally valuable.
They are not.
Americans do not imprison people for speaking their minds. We do not beat and enslave women and girls. We do not hang gay men from cranes or throw them off buildings. We do not mutilate the genitals of girls, nor force them to marry against their will. However we may fail to fully live up to our ideals, we strive to provide an equal opportunity for everyone to succeed, and we are the most generous people on Earth, spending blood and treasure for the benefit of people around the globe. This is nationalism. Who else does what Americans so willingly do?
Because they see the world as it is, rather than how some might want it to be, because they honor the blood sweat and tears of those that built this nation and secured—and secure—our liberty, because they are eternally grateful to the God that dictated we would win the lottery when He determined we would be born American, normal Americans are nationalists. They are not citizens of the world, they are Americans, and they will fight to remain so.
Why? Because they understand human nature. They know America is the pinnacle, the shining city on the hill, the last, best hope of Mankind, and they know as the Founders knew, they will have to fight to keep it. They see nationalism as not only giving us the will to fight to preserve liberty, but the defining belief that binds us all together, that makes us one: Americans.
That’s why “America First,” and “Make America Great Again,” resonate so powerfully in the hearts of normal Americans. We find D/S/Cs, conflicted as always, repulsed by the idea that a President of the United States should want to put the interests of America and Americans first. They see America, and Americans, as all that is wrong with the world, except they claim otherwise as they simultaneously tell us how they love America so much it must be “fundamentally transformed” into something, anything, other than America. And consider the conflict of screaming that America was never great, while simultaneously opposing the very idea of making America great.
Fundamental transformation is destructive to our representative republic. What matters to normal Americans is returning to and maintaining our national faith: American Constitutionalism.
Thus, as Thomas Jefferson wrote on July 4, 1776, and Abraham Lincoln wrote in The Gettysburg Address, Normal Americans pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
A proper understanding and practice of nationalism is our best hope to hold America together, now and for the future.