Marvin Olasky

No matter who becomes president on Nov. 4, I'm proud to be an American, and others are too. Let's not hear evangelical muttering about leaving the country if a disliked candidate wins next Tuesday.

Last year on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, Susan and I were in Annapolis, Md., home of the Naval Academy and also Chick and Ruth's Delly (that's how it's spelled) on Main Street. Each morning all within the eatery—cooks, waiters, patrons—stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

That's rare these days, but why should it be? Much of the world lives under tyranny, and we shouldn't take for granted having a country in which at least we know we're free. Jews certainly don't take that for granted: Chick and Ruth Levitt opened their restaurant in 1965 and later passed it on to Ted and Beth Levitt. Christians these days should not either.

The custom recorded at the biblical wedding of Cana—serve the best wine first, then bring out the bad stuff when guests are too drunk to tell the difference—also applies to patriotism: Abundance and ease dull our senses. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was common in the 1950s and early 1960s, when the United States faced great danger of nuclear annihilation from an evil empire that had hundreds of missiles aimed at us.

Some now say that the Cold War had the silver lining of pushing Americans to rally 'round the flag. But even if that were the case, let's remember one thing: It wasn't worth it. Depending on a balance of nuclear terror is no way to live. Only God's grace prevented disaster, and we should never assume that God will protect us from all our folly.

So the question now is whether we can have some national unity when we face the threat of only one major city being blown up. Those on the left are making noise about resentment on the right, but both sides have their fanatics. Can we at least have a good spirit about our political differences, in the way that the Levitts named sandwiches not only the George W. Bush (Swiss cheese, tomato, and bacon on rye) but also the Barbara Mikulski, after Maryland's left-wing senator (tuna and melted cheese on a bagel)?

A recent Harris survey showed 83 percent of Americans still saying there is a unique American identity—but 63 percent say this identity is weakening, 72 percent are concerned about cultural and political divisions, and 24 percent say it's too late to reassert a common sense of country. Are they right?

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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