I am a proud American! I believe our nation is the greatest in the World despite all her flaws, blemishes, and scars. Old Glory, Lady Liberty, and the Star-Spangled Banner still stir butterflies and raise goosebumps every time I hear and see them. I am not so naive that I fail to recognize the sins of our forefathers but I also recognize the bravery, genius, and perseverance they set as the character and standard to which America’s children would be held. However, a dark and sinister cloud has been growing over this land for a long time. It is an evil that causes doubt about the foundation of our country, that encourages hatemongering and slandering of American principles, that breeds contempt for the freedoms and liberties and greatness that American progeny have enjoyed for centuries. It is a fifth column hoping to undermine our society, an undercurrent bent on turning neighbor against neighbor, a movement preying on the doubts and failed education of our children. And to what end? Many of those working to realize these ends say they want to burn it all to the ground and remake America in the image of Marxist and Socialist societies. Maybe not in these exact words but the doctrines and political goals they espouse are clearly of Marxist origins.
Perhaps, the most insidious (and ingenious) part of this movement is how they convince others to support their cause: through guilt. Guilt for America being so blessed compared to poorer regions of the world, guilt for the sins of our forefathers, guilt for having opportunities that many don’t get, guilt for wealth, guilt for the color of your skin, guilt for being born into a family with means, guilt for your religion, guilt for morals, guilt for believing life is sacred, guilt for believing no one is entitled to anything beyond those three God-given rights, guilt for believing in self-responsibility, guilt for believing people should be judged strictly on their merits, guilt for choosing freedom over security, and I could keep going. Ultimately, this mentality is precipitated from the idea that citizens are not just responsible for themselves but, also, for each other. They come from the idea that social responsibility outweighs self-responsibility, that the benefit of the whole justifies the sacrifice of a few, and that the end always justifies the means. You see, personal freedom is condemned and vilified. From this idea, however noble it may sound, grows the most depraved forms of government, enslavement, oppression, and poverty. Should you doubt the veracity of my words, study the history of countries like Russia, China, and North Korea.
If you made it this far in my post, I thank you for your doggedness and assure you I will get off my philosophical and political soapbox. The point of all these words is to show you why I am concerned about whether our current and upcoming generations of Americans hold fondness or contempt in their hearts for their nation. Moreover, I am angered and saddened by the elected officials in our country that continue to peddle these blasphemous ideas. For these reasons and more, my spirit was bolstered beyond words when I came across this podcast developed by the Ashbrook Institute covering the book “Give Me Liberty” by Richard Brookhiser.
The goal of the book is to breathe new life into the idea of American Exceptionalism by teaching America’s many “firsts” in her quest and subsequent embrace of freedom. Brookhiser covers many topics that are glossed over, at best, and usually omitted from high school and college Introductory American History courses. Notable examples include the origins of Jamestown’s First General Assembly and its contribution to self-government; the Flushing Remonstrance and its contribution to Freedom of Religion; and, the Trial of John Peter Zenger and its contribution to Freedom of the Press. At thirteen chapters in length, Brookhiser nearly traverses America’s entire history ranging from arrival of the first Virginian settlers from England in 1606 to Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech in 1987.
There is no doubt in my mind that America has her share of faults but she is the greatest and most exceptional nation on the planet, even today. In all of man’s history, her revolution and the subsequent establishment of a government founded on a constitution written to limit that very government stood out as a singular event. Since that day, this nation has continued as a phenomenon among states with peaceful transitions of power from one president to the next.
Brookhiser’s book demonstrates that America’s principles were born out of the harshest circumstances during the founding of colonial settlements, out of necessity created by the oceans that separated England from its colonists, out of the desperation of citizens under an oppressive regime, out of the pain suffered when she nearly split in two over ideological differences, and out of the burden of responsibility as the world’s shining light of freedom.
Even if you do not decide to purchase the book, listen to the podcasts freely available on all major platforms. Reignite the pride in your nation and fan the flames of liberty!
Clinton is a full-time Software Developer currently working for CGI Federal, Inc. He spends most his days building Java web applications using tools like Spring MVC, Java Server Faces, and VueJS. In his free time, he likes to dabble in Golang, Hadoop, and other cool technologies. Clinton has been married to his wonderful wife Ashley for 8 years. Together, they have a super-handsome, unbelievably cute (no bias here folks) 6 year old son, Andrew.