from the Congress Action newsletter

America, Unique Among Nations

by: Kim Weissman
November 25, 2001

"My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union — and it is strong. Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. … They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. … This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom. … America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining." — President George W. Bush

Thanksgiving marks the start of a holiday season like none this nation has known for many years. Sixty years ago this nation was reeling from another blow struck by a fanatical enemy that sought our destruction. Sixty years ago, weeks after that attack on our freedom, the wreckage of the American Pacific Fleet still choked Pearl Harbor. Today, weeks after the latest attack on our freedom, the wreckage of the World Trade Center still smokes and smolders. Sixty years ago, as our nation steeled itself with great resolve for a long conflict, we knew with crystal clarity what we were fighting to defend and to preserve. Today some of us are not as clear.

We fight to prevent future deadly attacks on our nation such as occurred on September 11, of course. We fight to avenge the innocent dead, certainly, and to bring those who committed those atrocities to justice — or make sure that justice is visited upon them. We fight to destroy oppression and totalitarianism, but despite our best efforts oppression and totalitarianism will continue to exist around the world. President Bush said that we fight to defend the values of progress, pluralism, tolerance, and freedom. But what does that mean?

Over the past few decades we have been told by the multiculturalists that America is just one nation among many, that America embodies but one ideology among many (and a failed ideology at that), that all nations and all ideologies and all value systems are equally good, all are entitled to equal respect. We are told that this country itself represents "terrorism and death and fear and destruction and oppression" (quoting a college professor), that this country is the embodiment of evil in the world, by the hate-America left that is always too cowardly to put their words into action and move somewhere else that they find more agreeable. They never put their words into action because they know that it is the very freedom that this country embodies, the very freedom that this country defends, the very freedom that they pretend doesn't exist, that allows them to spew their hate and also prevents the nation that they vilify from throwing them in jail — or far worse — as would happen in a heartbeat under any of the other political systems that they so fulsomely praise.

We are even told by an impeached, disgraced, and disgraceful ex-president (echoing the fanatical Islamic terrorists and the American academic left) that we are to blame for the terrorists who want to destroy us. He is right, but not in the way he thinks. President Bush said that it is our freedom that the terrorists hate, it is our individual liberty that they despise. If we had far less individual liberty, as that thankfully ex-president tried to accomplish, perhaps the fanatics wouldn't hate us as much. If we were closer to the intolerant ideal that ex-president tried so hard to create while president, perhaps the terrorists wouldn't find us so objectionable. But then we wouldn't be America. Which would perfectly suit the left that always sympathizes with any enemy of America.

So what is it that makes America unique among nations?

Consider the following microcosm as symbolic of the sort of nation that we are. Every October, in preparation for Christmas, a national program that is called Toys for Tots gears up. The purpose of that program is to collect toys, and money to buy toys, to give to needy children on Christmas. The Toys for Tots program has been organized and run for many years, not by the government, not even by private charities (they only help to distribute the toys collected), but by the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve. Over the past 53 years, the United States Marines have distributed nearly a quarter of a billion toys to hundreds of millions of needy children throughout the nation. Name another nation on the face of the earth that can boast that one of its most elite military establishments, an establishment the primary function of which is to wage war and destroy the enemies of our nation, runs a program to collect and distribute toys for poor children. And name another nation on the face of the earth in which that same elite military establishment and their brothers-in-arms, in the midst of waging a war on an enemy that has massacred thousands of our citizens in our own country, simultaneously drops millions of packets of food and medicine to the population of that enemy country.

We have been told by the domestic haters of this country that we are a bigoted and intolerant nation. Yet we are a nation that honors a black man and a black woman who have been elevated (by a conservative republican, not by an impeached, disgraced, and disgraceful ex-president who thought that merely blubbering about "diversity" made him someone to be admired) to the highest levels of national policy-making — as Secretary of State and as National Security Advisor. We are a nation in which a white leading man kisses a black leading lady in a high school play and nobody thinks anything of it. We are a nation that can gather at an afternoon soccer game without fear that the game will be interrupted by a beheading or other grisly execution of a religious non-believer. We have been told that we are a sexist nation, yet the women in this nation can actually attend school, can practice any profession they choose, can appear in public without being swathed from head to foot and unaccompanied by a male relative.

We are condemned as a racist country when we propose to tighten up our visa and immigration policies, even by the common sense method of doing a rudimentary background check on those who want to enter this country from nations proven to be terrorist spawning grounds. So let's see if we have this straight — leftists in this country have forced the implementation of extensive background checks of American citizens who want to buy guns, under a system that will deny them that right even if they've only been guilty of a minor offense decades before. But our State Department thinks that foreigners who want to come into this country shouldn't have any kind of a background check whatsoever, even if they come from terrorist breeding grounds such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Saudi Arabia. Even if they come here on a student visa for the purpose of enrolling in flight school. Our State Department grants about a quarter of a million visas to visitors from Middle Eastern countries every year. Care to speculate how many "sleeper agents" are now living in the United States, courtesy of our current immigration policies?

We are told that we are an oppressive nation, and those making that charge point to the proposal to put alien terrorists on trial before military tribunals. These would be non-citizens, in this country and elsewhere, who have sworn allegiance to a foreign-based terrorist who has vowed to slaughter as many Americans as his minions can, who has vowed to try to destroy our nation. Yet we are not talking about summary executions. Which, by the way, the Congress did in fact authorize, by a vote of 420 to 1. House Joint Resolution 64, enacted September 14, authorized the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." But we are not talking about using "all necessary and appropriate force". We are talking about trials with defense attorneys and due process, for spies, saboteurs, mass killers, psychopaths working for a foreign fanatic who has vowed our destruction, and we are criticized for not giving them enough due process! On what basis do foreign killers demand protection from the very Constitutional order they seek to destroy?

So what sort of a nation are we?

We are a nation strong enough and proud enough of our heritage of individual liberty to allow, even in the midst of a war, our domestic haters to vilify the nation that shelters them, as much as they please with impunity. We are a great nation because even in the midst of a war, we accommodate the voices of those who consistently try to tear us down; those who even now strive to undermine our national will to defend the ideal of individual liberty. It is that ideal of individual liberty, embodied in a written Constitution and a written Bill of Rights, that sets us apart, because those documents establish the ideal toward which this nation strives, and create the framework within which individuals can work toward bringing this nation closer to that ideal.

We are vilified because this nation does not yet perfectly embody the ideal. What nation does? Human beings are imperfect, so anything created by humans will necessarily be imperfect, including any government created and run by human beings. Which is a point consistently missed by those who pretend that the solution to all our national imperfections, that the very greatness of our nation, lies in government. Government itself must be run by imperfect humans, and the more intrusive and controlling that imperfect government is, the more those human imperfections will be impressed upon society. Which is why overbearing totalitarian governments throughout history have always degenerated — must always degenerate — into oppressive destruction of individual liberty. Nothing has done as much to destroy the safeguards of individual freedom as the use of government in striving after the mirage of social justice.

"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

"And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations…and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best."
— George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation; October 3, 1789

Copyright Kim Weissman

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25 nov 2001