The Sterilization of Patriotism
Recently when I watched the dedication ceremony of the Bush Library, I listened to George W. Bush, one of our nation’s most humbled past Presidents, and my mind longed for the days of deeply convicted and sincere presidencies.
One of the comments President Bush was about his guiding principle: “To whom much is given, much is expected”. President Bush is still a service-minded individual; it is part of his core, part of a belief system that was freely given to him by his parents.
As many presidents of our nation’s history, his newly dedicated library was founded with the intent that it “belongs to the American people”. Former President Bush acknowledges it was an honor to be President and in today’s political climate, it seems now it is more of a business achievement rather than an honor or act of service. The position of President doesn’t present itself any longer as a function for the American people as much as a function for the politically elite.
All of us understand when looking back on things after years of “rest”, the rough edges of administrations are softened and the memories of things which were argued about during presidencies are vague—sometimes causing us to remember the good and not the bad.
At the Bush Library dedication, former Presidents Carter and Clinton were able to leave disagreements and politics behind and complimented President Bush, acknowledging his achievements. They were able to show appreciation and, in some instances, expressed a camaraderie and friendship.
A quality that President Bush has always exemplified is an incredibly deep and passionate heart for family and the experiences and lessons taught by them. He is not ashamed of those relationships and lessons and he doesn’t use them for personal or political gain. He also has a deep passion for God and isn’t ashamed to speak about it, a trait which is more rare than common in recent days. Inclusion of God and biblical truths he holds flow freely in his speeches, sounding as natural as any other statement.
As the US Army Chorus sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic at the Bush Presidential Library opening, an overwhelming feeling of pride come upon me, but at the same time I had a feeling of sadness. In many cases our children and future generations may not come to know these songs and their meanings to our nation. With fights over revisionist history textbooks and an ever-growing desire by some to make America “universal” and open, the uniqueness of our great land is being lost to political correctness.
Certainly there is great danger in becoming exclusionary in our focus and taking a separatist view of society. Even still, we must remember it is dangerous to sterilize and wipe clean our history in order to make immigrants and people of a variety of faiths feel welcome in America.
When sterilization comes and takes over, it allows other beliefs to move in and take hold because a history and foundation no longer exists to nourish and grow our historical and political roots.
Differences in ideas and beliefs should not be misinterpreted as a need for eliminating ideas and beliefs–this is when the seeds of radicalism are planted and grown. When generations grow up in a society that doesn’t richly appreciate its heritage, mistakes and scars included, children and immigrants no longer see how far we’ve travelled and the progress that has been made.
America and its leaders have made many mistakes in our history; however if a large percentage of those mistakes had never been made, we might not have progressed as far as we have.
To take away the tradition of patriotism and love of country by instating rules and regulations, not allowing American or military flags to be flown in neighborhoods for the sake of appearances or maybe to calm or make others feel more comfortable, is sterilizing our country. When we take down the monuments that honor those who have given their lives for this country we are sterilizing our beliefs and history and changing the idea of America.
Why do immigrants work so hard to come to America? Immigrants desire the ability to embrace political and religious freedom without fear of harm or being rebuked.
Yet today, in a country that has sacrificed so many lives for freedoms, we now restrict freedoms to appease those who want to live in America peaceably. There is a difference between living peaceably with others and desiring to dominate and change that country’s core values and beliefs.
When we appreciate and respect the patriotism of our past, we respect and appreciate the freedoms upheld in our constitution. As our country grows, we must appreciate the generations that have gone before, continuing to live within the bounds of the Constitution. In most cases, our life will be without incident and we will enjoy the freedom of our great land. Yet there are those who are radical and want to pursue their own agendas, and come to our country not wanting what we offer. These are the hands we (especially our young people) are falling prey to and are sacrificing our freedom to embrace their ideology instead of condemning it.
Presidents of the past may seem simple and “down-home” to educational elitist who are now heavily influencing our political climate, but their fight against radicalism was strong and sincere. If we were true to ourselves, we would realize that educational elitism and political correctness is not what made America strong. Instead, America was made strong by the basic concept of “clinging to guns and religion”, honoring God openly and giving our allegiance to Him, as well as insuring freedoms for our citizens.
Today we are allowing ourselves to be lulled into a sleep of freedom’s demise, clothed in the disguise of acceptance of everything. If we look back accurately at our history, cultures were integrated, accepted and grown all around our country, without the need for taking down American flags, without rewriting our history to make it more “acceptable” to others and without condemning the beliefs so many came to America to freely express.
Why now is it necessary to abandon what has worked in the past? When this sterilization is complete, what will take the place of our beliefs? Who or what will fill the void?
Without direction, without a foundation, people are lost.
We are at a point in life now where people who are lost and discouraged are turning to radical beliefs and actions to make things “right” in their minds. Unfortunately this includes killing people who they believe are wrong and unclean—all part of the sterilization. We think this is something that cannot be controlled—but that is untrue.
When we stopped educating our children with the truth of our nation’s history and began only concentrating on what we wanted and what we didn’t have, we began to lose the battle. When people are ‘programmed’ with lies or half-truths that is when we lose our country.
When our leaders no longer have the same beliefs and convictions that birthed our nation, we need to be afraid. Beliefs and concepts come for our leaders in a broad, national sense. When beliefs don’t align, disconnects appear and leadership begins to crumble.
Many of us who still believe in the core values of our constitution are fighting the smaller battles on our own personal front lines. But when we refuse to choose leaders who still embrace the constitution and its values, we will continue to be lost and killed on our own soil, by our own people.
People yearn to be directed. They will follow leaders who embrace them, teach them, and give them the time of day. Most importantly, people follow those who inspire them.
As we look for new leaders in the coming years, look to the past for inspiration of what made good leaders. Charisma, charm and connections aren’t qualities of leadership. Deep faith, belief in our country and a desire to no longer sterilize our nation for others are qualities I will be looking for in future leaders.