Tony Blankley

New to me was his citation to the fact that all 47 Mexican consulates in the United States are mandated to provide textbooks to U.S. schools with significant Hispanic populations, which textbooks teach history from the point of view of General Santa Ana -- in which America stole the Southwest. The Los Angeles consulate, alone, has distributed 100,000 such textbooks just this year to the L.A. Unified School District.

Buchanan recounts the observation that "every great truth begins in blasphemy." In that sense this book is one extended blasphemy against not only liberal proprieties, but even against received wisdom about the nature of America believed by many conservatives.

I have particularly in mind his chapter 9: "What Is a Nation," in which he rejects the argument that America is fundamentally defined as a "creedal nation" of democracy, equality and the institutions formed by our constitution.

Rather, Buchanan argues, "The Constitution did not create the nation; the nation adopted the Constitution." While the Founding Fathers did believe in universal principles and rights, "they were loyal to a particular nation and to kinfolk with whom they shared ties of blood, soil, and memory."

In this elegantly crafted chapter, he weaves into a thought-provoking tapestry on the nature of nationhood and patriotism the writings of George Washington, Arthur Schlessinger Jr., Alexander Hamilton, Psalms and Genesis, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Joseph De Maistre, Abraham Lincoln, Charles DeGaulle and Israel Zangwill (Jewish author of the 1908 play "The Melting Pot") among others.

Of course, there is nothing more dangerously controversial than trying to define the ethnic, language and cultural nature and desirability of America. But until we as a country come to terms publicly with what kind of a country we think America is and should be, we can never have a rational and full debate about what kind of immigration policy we should try to enforce.

Buchanan quotes the French poet Charles Peguy: "It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of looking insufficiently progressive."

By that standard, Buchanan, in this book, is positively fearless. He is also right. Americans, from whatever nation or ethnicity we originated, have formed a common culture worth preserving and a common history worth continuing.

I am convinced a large majority of Americans agree. This book, "State of Emergency," will give its readers both the facts and the backbone to powerfully make that case.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate