One of my biggest vices in life is arguing politics. I find myself frequently engaging in strong discussions on the subject with my parents, my peers who actually pay attention to Capitol Hill and random strangers online.
I won’t pretend to know why I do that. As much as the indifference and misinformed opinions of people my age worry me, I find it difficult to recommend to people that they become more involved in politics. It’s a constant headache that makes me old before my time.
And yet I can’t ignore it. I can never ignore it, for one simple reason: it matters. You’ve probably heard some variant of the phrase “just because you don’t take an interest in politics, that doesn’t mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.” The original quote comes from Pericles, an influential general and statesman of Ancient Athens. The saying is older than Christ Himself, and yet its applicability to politics throughout the ages has never diminished.
I obviously don’t have to tell you, the reader of this article and patron of Patriot Update, how important it is to keep up with politics. You’re here reading up on the subject, after all.
This particular rant, therefore, will not focus on the potentially irrecoverable damage that uninformed voters subject our nation to (I’ll be happy to touch on that in the future). Instead, what I want to focus on is the staggering lack of national pride that seems to run rampant among my generation, that is, Americans aged thirty-five and younger.
It seems that taking pride in being an American has become somewhat of a social taboo. Indeed we have social commentators like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher (or “entertainers,” as they so adamantly insist on being called in order to dodge responsibility for any damages or defamations resulting from their public statements) watched and admired by millions of young Liberals as they guffaw at the very notion that being an American is anything to be proud of.
I remember my final year of college well. I spent a lot of time around predictably Left-thinking students and professors spouting their admiration of Marxism and dismissing the very idea of national pride as a relic of the past, mere backwards-minded bravado espoused only by regressive Baby Boomers. One particular incident I remember well happened during one of the 2012 presidential debates. After Mitt Romney finished his point, a friend of mine stated that Romney had nothing relevant to say, and that he was simply “spouting apple-pie, Stars and Stripes, rah-rah-rah nonsense.”
I have also noticed that a lot of High School students are jumping on board with the cynical idea that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a waste of time. From what I can see, few even recite it anymore, they just stand lethargically as it’s droned over the intercom. Some refuse to do even that much. And there’s nothing the teachers can (or frankly, should) do to stop them from showing their brazen lack of a sense of duty to country.
But why does that matter to me? After all, I’m a Conservative Libertarian, and I fervently believe that the foremost duty of an American citizen is to question his government. My dedication to American Conservatism means that I’m certainly not about to swear my undying, unthinking allegiance to the tenants of a timid and clearly flawed GOP. And really, how much pride could we possibly have with such a corrupt leader at the helm?
Here’s why it matters: an indifferent nation is a dead nation. Let’s look at the example of the high school students. If they can’t even bothered to stand, rest their right hands on their chests and rattle off a ten-second pledge, what makes any of us think they would be willing to endure injury or death to fight off a foreign invader, or perhaps more pressingly, a political coup? When that day arrives, I expect to see a frankly embarrassing number of people running for the hills.
When I see a group of college students laughing as Bill Maher rants about how stupid and worthless Traditional American values are, or a radical Marxist rambling about how our troops are “corporate death-dealers,” or indeed a Conservative saying that he is no longer proud to be an American because of the actions of corrupt politicians, I see a nation that is doomed to die. Not an honorable death, either; it is doomed to curl up and fade away with a whimper.
I won’t pretend to have a tangible solution to this problem, because I don’t. After all, we can’t force people to be proud of their country. All I ask is that when your pride as an American is suffering, try to remember that the Spirit of America rests not with the self-proclaimed overlords in D.C., nor with the fundamentally flawed perspectives of my generation or the television personalities upon whose every word they hinge.
Rather, the Spirit of America lies in its founding principles, in the ideal that Jefferson and Adams and all the Framers envisioned when they drafted the most sacred document of American Freedom, the Constitution. We may never get to that ideal, but to me, the idea of obtaining it makes it worth fighting for.
So take pride, my fellow Americans. We have hit some speed bumps, to be sure, but remember that it was this nation that led the charge towards a free world in days gone by, and I know it can be that way again.