Americans have become accustomed to our presidents standing tall in times of peril. So when warnings of the looming threat posed by multiculturalism to national identity and security are made, it is natural to believe they come from the American president. But not this time.
Over the past month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron have spoken out on the challenges posed by multiculturalism in their countries. Cameron recently proclaimed “under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”
When I heard Cameron’s words I thought of my grandfather. He came to America from Fascist Italy, where he left a stable government job to work in the coalmines of western Pennsylvania until he was 72 years old. My grandfather put literal sweat equity into those mines—not because it brought him wealth, but because it brought him the opportunity to be an American.
My grandfather, like most immigrants, believed that America was more than just another plot of land. To his generation America was a common aspiration, an idea. Part of that idea was that all men are created equal. That founding idea, as Abraham Lincoln said, was enshrined into our Declaration of Independence not only because it was a self-evident truth but also so that it could constantly serve as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression,” whenever and wherever they appeared.
As a result of multicultural relativism, however, we are seeing the American aspiration eroded, our common purpose lost, and a “re-appearing tyranny and oppression” that is not only poised against us abroad but is also pointing its dagger at us here at home. This is especially true in some of the Islamist communities, where separation from the rest of America is sacrosanct and intellectual assimilation degraded—and where the equality of every human being is not taught as a self-evident truth. Our American sense of toleration, in other words, is now protecting noxious philosophies that are anti-American.
America used to pride itself on the acceptance of differences toward the larger purpose of building a better America. The Seal of the United States speaks to this when it says “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”). The multicultural idea has inverted that phrase, emphasizing the “many” and diminishing the “one.” The latest manifestation of this is the notion that no society—or country—is better than any other was on display during President Obama’s around the world apology tour. As the argument goes, America and her ideals and practices are no better than, say, China and its practices or Saudi Arabia and its laws.
Just over a year ago, when Nidal Hasan went on his rampage, we saw homegrown Islamist terror as a result of what Cameron described as “hands-off tolerance.” Nobody wanted to say anything about Hasan before he took up arms against America, even as he set off alarm bells before he took up those arms. Then, in the wake of his rampage, our Army Chief of Staff said, “[A]s horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” And here I thought the military was about training our soldiers to win wars.
The problem of language is not confined to President Obama. When the previous administration pitched our war as a “war against terrorism,” I implored President Bush to define our enemy by name, not by tactic. When we don’t tell the truth about who the enemy is in the hope of pacifying those who might be offended, it becomes ever more difficult for the American people to rally, support, and sacrifice to win. And when we no longer tell Americans the truth and inculcate an informed patriotism in our citizenry about our own cause and country, we no longer know what we are fighting for as well.
Because we are an optimistic people, Americans generally do not face up to challenges until we absolutely must. In a brewing crisis, we need a leader who has the political courage to speak the truth not only about our enemy but also about ourselves; a leader who has faith in all we are as a people, to inspire America and keep her free, safe and good.
In the last year Western European leaders have had to face up to the devastation caused by socialism and multiculturalism. Yet our president continues to champion these policies. So I ask: will we be left behind by Europe, or join it in the cause of our mutual survival? The answer to that very question will determine whether my grandfather’s legacy and our grandchildren’s destiny can survive.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.
Be the first to read Rick Santorum's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.