Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Patriotism is not a crime

We’re almost twelve years into this column, and I’m pretty sure you know by now that I love this country.

This columnist consistently trumpets Americanism and tries to educate about threats posed to personal liberty and the health of our economy by our own policymakers and outside forces. It’s a love for country that I practice in my professional life, too, helping to manage a company that could easily make many of its products overseas but instead choses to employ a couple hundred people and pay taxes here on American soil. It’s also something I carry into my volunteerism, helping the Boy Scouts of America, one of the last bastions of youthful patriotism and civic engagement.

Many of my readers are America-loving souls, too. They practice their national pride in their own way: They might buy American-made products, they might become engaged in the civics of their community, or they may make the ultimate pledge of patriotism by serving our country.

Love of country is a wonderful feeling to have, and doing your best to make that nation prosper is the right way, the only way, to be a good citizen.

But, it was made apparent in this last election cycle that the national media, many policymakers and even your own neighbors find Americanism to be repulsive. Painting with a wide brush stroke, they identified anyone who followed or voted for Trump (which this guy didn’t by the way) and/or who pushes a pro-American agenda (which this guy does) as being close-minded, world-hating, nationalist pigs akin to Nazis.

Disaffected Democrats and blue-collar workers and a total of 63 million Americans jumped on the Trump bandwagon not because of Nazism but because of Trump’s wanton desire to restore jobs to small town America, bring back manufacturing, improve our infrastructure and not that of others, and, as the slogan went, “make America great again.” It was the first time in a long time that so many people focused on the prospects of a better, stronger America.

Somehow, agents of the Democratic Party’s political machine and the press abandoned that mindset, and decided that it was dangerous for anyone to want this great country to be the best it can be. Patriotism was treated like a crime.

If anything, it’s that outlook – that Americans should just settle for what comes, not take the lead and not aspire for greatness – that’s dangerous. It’s the same approach that encourages disastrous free trade agreements (that are anything but free trade); becoming parts of centralized governing bodies that rob nations and their people of their sovereignty (like the United Nations and pipe dreams like The European Union); being party to allegiances that gets us wrapped up in all sorts of wars while encouraging terrorism; and developing blasé brands of national pride and concern that at their weakest levels have led to the destruction of many a nation.

America would be far better off if we followed the Constitution, ditched trade agreements, invested in our own bridges and highways and broadband, and stepped away from mysterious dalliances with the UN and other global entities. By doing that we make our home a better place – we invest in our own people and public works which excites our economy, improving the quality of life for our people, and, believe it or not, those of the rest of the world.

I don’t know if Trump will do any of that or back up his talk, but he or what his movement was believed to be inspired a good many people who, as a result of the election, care for America and its/their prospects and now know they are empowered to make a difference.

Promoting truth, justice and the American Way – which is the best way – is no crime. It’s the best thing for this country and this planet. Our Founding Fathers created the greatest framework for social and economic success this world has ever seen. Let’s capitalize on that. Wave the flag. Keep America first in your heart, mind and practices.

America might have its warts -- no one or no thing is perfect -- but this country is pretty darn close.   

From the 02 January 2017 Greater Niagara Newspapers 

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