In his farewell address, President Ronald Reagan once remarked: “I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history…”
To the modern observer, this warning from the 1980s would seem prophetic.
Today, we are watching while western civilization is under attack and our national history is being rewritten.
Statues of our Founding Fathers are being torn down by vandals, veterans memorials defaced, and monuments honoring the great achievements of Americans of old are being removed, all in an effort to erase history and change our national identity.
If ever we needed to heed the Gipper’s warning, it is now. Reagan went on to say: “We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood … Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture.”
The decline in patriotism that Reagan feared in 1989, we are now experiencing in 2020.
We are in a time of great disbelief — disbelief in our national stability, disbelief in our fellow countrymen, and even a disbelief in our American identity.
Patriotism is being mischaracterized as “extreme” by ill designing forces that wish to see American Exceptionalism sink to the bottom of the sea of history.
We have been told that we should be ashamed of our nation. We have been told that America is racist and built upon this very premise.
But those voices don’t speak for you and me. On the contrary, I am proud to be an American. America is more than just a place. It is also an idea to aspire to.
When our founders eloquently penned the words “all men are created equal,” they were declaring what they believed to be true. But they were also describing a concept yet to be fully realized as the states began abolishing slavery in the late 1700s.
Our founders built a beautiful framework that gave us a construct that would allow us to correct national wrongs as society recognized them.
As John Winthrop once remarked about the new world, America is a shining “city on a hill;” one that would become a beacon of freedom and enlightenment for the future generations who aspire to continue propagating her legacy.
While the history of nations all over the world is marked by slavery, we are the only nation that waged a bloody civil war to end the practice.
America isn’t great because she has a perfect past, but because her founding ideals set the bar for what we should aspire to and her institutions were created to allow for it.
Institutional racism is being used as a disguise by Marxist revolutionaries to tear down and replace our current system and institutions.
If they can cause the American people to doubt the worthiness of our own institutions then they can succeed at rebuilding their socialist utopia from the ground up. A culture of appeasement will only lead to more capitulation. They must not be allowed to prevail.
Tearing down monuments and defacing memorials is only representative of what they wish to do with our national institutions.
Generations of Americans have fought the struggle, not only to end slavery but also to eradicate unjust laws that were associated with the Jim Crow era.
I believe that on the battlefield of ideologies, we are engaged in a war that will determine America’s course forever. Inevitably, someone will win this culture war. It must be those who love America.
I am proud to be an American. You should be too. And this Independence Day, we should help our neighbors and friends understand why they ought to be as well.
State Rep. Adam Schnelting is a Republican who represents HD 104.