Some of the media elites gave old-fashioned patriotism a clout to the jaw on May 1, May Day. When a reporter for a major American television network calls Fidel Castro “Cuba’s revolutionary hero,” without a hint of irony, you know that somebody’s confused about what’s honorable and patriotic.
In May Day reports from Havana, CBS correspondent Liz Palmer managed to utter the oxymoronic phrase not once but twice, on CBS’s The Early Show and again on the CBS Evening News. Palmer also praised new dictator Raul Castro’s efforts to “improve workers’ lives.”
Leaders of communist revolutions are not heroes. Without exception, they have been depraved monsters, responsible for murder, torture and economic destruction.
Palmer was born in England and educated in Canada, but somewhere along the line she should have learned that the Castro boys rejected the most basic American cultural and political values, namely the rule of law, respect for God-given human rights, the democratic republican form of government and the free market.
Defending these values, and celebrating the nation that adopted them, prospered from them and offered them to the world, is the core of American patriotism. Yet during the May Day episode of ABC’s Good Morning America, anchor Charlie Gibson reduced patriotism to a campaign issue. Chatting with Arianna Huffington, Gibson said Republicans “have owned, the, quote, ‘issue’ of patriotism for some time now.”
Is defending America a mere campaign tactic? Shouldn’t it be the bottom line of American politics?
This apparent disrespect for patriotism extends beyond the media elite to encompass the political elite as well. May 1 was the legal deadline to build 700 miles of double-layer fencing along the Mexican border. Only 90 miles of fence had been erected by the deadline, and only 12 miles of that is double-layer.
Rather than celebrate the completion of a barrier that would greatly improve national security and the rule of law, Americans spent May 1 watching thousands of illegal aliens marching in the streets of major American cities waving Mexican flags (until politically savvy organizers confiscated the Mexican flags and replaced them with Old Glory). Some of the protestors reportedly carried signs calling for the surrender to Mexico of one third of U.S. territory, everything from Texas to California to Washington State. And those were the reasonable ones. The extremists were calling for non-indigenous Americans to return to Europe and Africa.
No matter what laws they pass, the Republican administration and Democratic Congress apparently do not intend to take control of the border, and the media are giving them a free pass. Old-fashioned notions like patriotism and borders are passé, at least according to the secularist, egalitarian, internationalist value system that dominates American elites.
In the current issue of Newsweek, editor Fareed Zakaria announces the advent of the “post-American” world. The Pax Americana, or world peace resulting from America’s reign as the lone superpower, is coming to an end, we’re told. America isn’t in decline, exactly, it’s just that the rest of the world is catching up, thanks to the adoption of wise economic policies and political structures.
Zakaria seems to have missed an obvious point: this world is being remade in America’s image, not through the force of arms but through the power of our example.
Nations around the world are redesigning their political systems and their economic systems according to the American model: the rule of law, respect for God-given human rights, the democratic republic and free markets. They’re able to follow the path America blazed only because of the Pax Americana we have created and maintained through great sacrifice of our own treasure and blood. Never before has the leading nation in the world been as generous as America, or as judicious in the exercise of power.
Unlike the tribal or ethnic bases of patriotism in other countries, American patriotism centers on a shared set of values that have proven to be the most powerful and beneficial in human history. Any nation that abandons American values and turns to the secularist, egalitarian, utopian model so fashionable in elite circles will degenerate into a socialist dystopia like revolutionary Cuba.
One need only look at Zimbabwe for a glaring example of how a previously Westernized, prosperous nation can plunge into chaos and poverty under Marxist rule. To see how journalism deteriorates into worship of the political bosses, look at the lead story, as of noon May 6, on the Web site of the North Korea’s Central News Agency, “Kim Jong Il Inspects KPA Unit.”
Our elites, particularly the media elites, ought to be calling for more American-style patriotism, not sneering at it.