Let me get my bias out of the way from the outset. I love America. It is not so much the everyday reality of America that excites my patriotism, but the visionary ideals upon which our nation was founded and toward which some of us still strive; ideals such as individual liberty, personal freedom, and the right to become whatever and whomever you desire provided you are willing to put forth the effort. While it is not really true from a practical perspective that anyone can grow up to be president in America, it is true that everyone has the right to try. That’s good enough for me, and more than can be said for most other nations of the world.
The foundation of my love for America can be found in the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. These words, so simply stated yet so profound in meaning, always make me stand a little taller and a little prouder when I hear or read them. America has its share of warts and blemishes, and as a nation we have made our share of mistakes. However, no other nation on earth can compare with ours when it comes to wanting and trying to do the right thing. More importantly, no other nation on earth actually gets it right as often as we do. This is why I quickly adopt a those-are-fighting-words attitude anytime I hear elitist snobs criticize America.
It is bad enough that American liberals are so prone to criticize our country, the same country that gives them the right to do so and protects them when they exercise that right, but I my dander is aroused in a microsecond when the criticism of America comes from people of other nations. This is why I was so pleased to receive an email from a friend recently containing several stories of Americans who stood up to elitist foreign snobs who were critical of America. The email was labeled “Pin Drop” as in you could have heard a pin drop. I have no way of verifying the veracity of the stories this email contained, but regardless of whether they are fact or fiction, they do illustrate how patriotic Americans should respond when elitist foreigners criticize our country.
The first story in the email tells of a conversation that took place in the early 1960s between President Charles DeGaulle of France and America’s then Secretary of State Dean Rusk. This was during the John F. Kennedy administration. Against the wishes of President Kennedy and other western leaders, DeGaulle decided to pull France out of NATO. DeGaulle declared that he wanted all U.S. soldiers out of France as soon as possible. Secretary of State Dean Rusk responded: “Does that include those who are buried here?”
DeGaulle’s anti-American snobbishness epitomizes the attitudes of many nations around the world, nations like France that would no longer be sovereign if it weren’t for the brave American soldiers who died rescuing them from the tyranny of dictators and despots. Unfortunately, we have a president who apologizes to these unappreciative nations instead of taking a stand as Secretary of State Dean Rusk did on that momentous day back in the 1960s. In fact, I can’t even imagine Barack Obama standing up in a public setting while overseas and defending America’s honor. Why? Because he agrees with the critics.
A similar exchange is said to have occurred between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Archbishop of Canterbury during the George W. Bush administration. The Archbishop asked Powell if America’s plans concerning the war in Iraq were an example of “empire building” on the part of the United States. Powell responded, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for is enough to bury those who did not return.” Once again, I cannot imagine such a response coming from Barack Obama.
Another story in the email concerned a conversation that is said to have taken place during a conference in France that was attended by engineers from all over the world. Indonesia had just been hit by a devastating tsunami and President George W. Bush had ordered an American carrier to that beleaguered country to provide humanitarian assistance. A French engineer made the following comment: “Have you heard about Bush’s latest dumb stunt? He sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?” An American engineer from Boeing stood up and calmly replied: Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day; they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water every day; and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships. How many does France have?” I vote for this Boeing engineer for president.
I obviously was not present when these conversations are supposed to have taken place, so I cannot guarantee that they ever did. But I certainly hope they did. Further, I suspect these stories are accurate depictions of events that actually took place. I have read in credible historical sources about the Dean Rusk and Colin Powell retorts. In any case, all three of these stories are instructive for those of us who refuse to sit back and take it when America is criticized by elitist snobs both foreign and domestic. Our own president could learn much from these stories.
I am hardly a Pollyanna patriot. My love of country is based on historical facts and objective interpretations of those facts. Consequently, I will not sit still and listen to America being criticized by self-important ingrates who owe their freedom and, in some cases, their lives to our country. If you are reading this column, I encourage you to stand up to the elitist anti-American snobs who like to criticize our country as well as those liberal ingrates who follow suit. I also encourage you to stand up to the president and other liberals in public office who think they need to apologize for America. The only apology America needs to make is to itself for electing these self-important elitist snobs.