In a recent piece I wrote titled “American Hope”, I touched on the wave of positivity that has come over the United States over the past several months since Donald Trump was elected President. I really do believe that we are standing on the precipice of great change, and that those of us on the right have a special optimism that can help us to move towards a good future. But we must not allow our hopefulness and trust in the President blind us to the very real dangers faced by the United States, and the dangers faced by the rest of the world.
With the capacity for great goodness comes also the possibility of dire evil.
I’ve been watching a television show called Warfighters. It’s an un-narrated show that is told entirely in first-person accounts by American veterans, who also worked behind the camera and helped to shape the show. I’ve seen five episodes so far, and I highly recommend watching it. Whether or not you’re particularly interested in “war shows”, or necessarily supported the War on Terror (Which the series focuses on), it is a very valuable piece of television. It has moved me to tears, but more importantly, each episode has brought me as a Canadian a little closer to really understanding American patriotism and why it matters.
Watching these veterans has really made me realize just how lucky I am to live in a country where I have human rights, not to mention having my health and all of my limbs. Listening to their positive attitudes after facing things I cannot even fathom (and the scars which come afterwards) has left me feelings so thankful. I may be Canadian, but the American military protects my country, too. Yes, even though we may be becoming more rare (especially in light of what I consider to be an impending Islam crisis in Canada), there are Canadians who love America and see our neighbors to the South as our closest and most important allies. I’m proud to say I’m one of them.
American patriotism is something I grew up seeing as almost a bad thing. Canadians in general are not as patriotic about our own country as Americans are about theirs. Many parts of Canada, including where I grew up, are extremely multi-cultural, which makes it a lot harder to really have a strong national identity in the first place (though not impossible – there are many Canadian values I am proud of). So society at large in Canada tends to lean away from any sort of nationalist thought.
My family in particular is quite left wing, and naturally I grew up impacted by a lot of my father’s views in particular as one tends to do. I always saw Americans as sort of war-hungry imperialists, who went out into the world to pillage the poor and whose wealth was only due to their stealing from others. Needless to say, as I started to develop my own views as an adult, I began to see a much more nuanced picture.
This is not to say I think America or the American military is perfect. Far from it. Like any country, and any force, there have been terrible decisions made and acts of evil committed, both domestically and abroad. However, America is pretty great, and I am sick and tired of the entirety of our education and media downplaying the accomplishments of the West in general and America in particular.
My view on patriotism has taken a complete 180 degree turn.
American patriotism is a good thing, for myriad reasons. The beautiful flag, the American troops and American vets, The Star Spangled Banner, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Constitution in general… America the beautiful, indeed. There’s a lot to love.
But there’s another reason I have come to see patriotism as something so important to fight for.
Remember how I said we’re standing at a critical point in history? I think everyone reading this will agree that we want to move forward in the best way we can, and make the world better, not worse.
Well, if we want a good future, patriotism is the only option. German patriotism. Canadian patriotism. Swedish patriotism. French patriotism. Dutch patriotism. Western patriotism in general. And, in my opinion, the most important: American patriotism.
Because the alternative is white nationalism.
White nationalism is a terrible idea. I thought that those of us on the right opposed identity politics?! I guess that view doesn’t apply when we’re talking about white people, who should, apparently, take pride in something they did nothing to achieve because they happened to fall out of a white vagina.
Sorry, I find that stupid and lazy.
I’m proud of being a Westerner because my life has been part of a society which values human rights and freedom. My own choices within that society have helped to uphold Western civilization. Even though my own personal contributions may be small, but I also do my part to support those who make bigger contributions to maintaining and guarding Western society. That’s something to be proud of. It’s the same reason I’m a lot quicker to say I’m proud to be a mother than proud to be a woman.
I recognize that people have a general inclination to instinctively align with those who look like us and speak like us. That knee jerk reaction isn’t bad – it’s just evolution. We’re better than that, which is why the Western world has thrived and become a bastion of tolerance for all people. Innocently saying “I’m a proud black woman!” isn’t even what I’m talking about here, anyway. I’m not some sort of “never be proud of things you didn’t achieve” purist.
However, when you make your ethnic identity more important than your cultural identity, that can quickly become a problem. And I think the world will be made worse for it, the same way American racial tensions and gender tensions have been made worse by identity politics playing out domestically.
Back to Warfighters for a moment. On the show, they feature veterans of various ethnic backgrounds. I found myself deeply humbled to see men who were clearly of Mexican descent (one particular soldier had parents who looked like a coed Mariachi band, so forgive me for assuming) who had literally given their limbs to protect America and the American way of life. They are heroes, patriots, and Americans, and I hope God blesses them for their sacrifice.
Now, white nationalists.
Are we seriously going to act as though those men shouldn’t be American because they aren’t white? Are you kidding me? Dear Richard Spencer: When you lose a limb in Afghanistan, maybe you’ll have a tiny sliver of credibility when you sit there and wish to claim America for your “white ethnostate”. Give me a break. (And, no, I don’t think he should have been punched in the face, nor do I think he doesn’t have a right to speak.)
I realize I’m going after some segments of the alt-right here, but don’t misread me: the Left is just as much to blame for the rise of this idiocy, perhaps even more so. They are the kings of identity politics, and they have the gall to use education and the media to spread their divisive garbage.
But what they’ve done to American patriotism is even more dangerous.
The Left has demonized loving your own country. The Left has painted America as evil, so of course, to love America is to love the Evil, White Supremacist, Imperialist, Colonialist, Capitalist, Oppressive Patriarchy!
People need an identity. People need a community. When I watch these veterans who are willing to die to save another soldier, even someone that they have never met, it really shows me just how powerful it is to be a part of something.
As we stand at this critical juncture, facing the behemoths of Islamicization and Globalism, what community are we going to fight for? Are we going to fight to stand beside people based on the color of their skin, or are we going to stand beside our countrymen and the values we all hold most dear?
Be an American patriot or be a white nationalist. I know what I choose.