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Only in America

October 1, 2010

What do the following concepts or phrases have in common?

  • The Belgium Dream;
  • Czechoslovakianism;
  • Anti-Swedenism;
  • Ukrainian Exceptionalism;
  • Becoming Nigerian.

Answer:  They don’t exist in the world’s lexicon.

To all the children under 50, I’ve got a message.  Our parents failed us.  For most of us, happily, it was a singular failure.  But significant.  They didn’t teach us what being an American meant.  Remember when someone used to say, “Only in America.”  When I was younger that phrase was reverently uttered following a story or anecdote about a young person who came to America with a hole in one pocket and his hand in the other.  The meat of the story was full of words that typify the American success story:  courage, initiative, determination, hard-working, industrious, perseverance, opportunity.  The tale ended with the unlikely conclusion of innovation, prosperity, family stability, and the exponential distribution of well-being to others.

Then, presumably when I was napping, “Only in America” came to mean something different altogether.  When I awoke, there was a sarcastic, almost sneering, tone from those who said it.  Instead of concluding an allegory regarding the unlikely least doing the most best, “Only in America” became the topper after hearing about, for example, pre-coned ice cream now available in your grocery store.  “Those fatty, fat Americans, so lazy.  When they want an ice cream cone, they want it on demand.  Only in America,” they condemn.  Or consider the Snuggie, spray-on hair, the Kush Support (a boobie separator for women who like to sleep on their sides but don’t like their breasts to touch), the Comfort Wipe (think old-timey cigarette holder, except it is for toilet paper.  Get it?), the Facial Flex facial exercise and toning kit (as offered on QVC), and appetite suppressant candy.   “Only in America,” they’d say mockingly.

Soon after the events of September 11, 2001, many characterized the attackers as insane and misguided suicidal, death-culture fanatics of an unsubstantiated belief.  I don’t believe this appropriately defines them.  Those men and their supporters and celebrants, as evil as their actions were, knew exactly what they were doing.  They knew precisely what they stood for and for what they would die.  It is not uncommon to find men and women worldwide in all cultures that stand firmly for what they believe, both in goodness and in wickedness.

Do you know where you stand?  Do you love America just because it is yours?  Are you in love with America because it is lovable?  Do you love America because it is worth loving?  You may love your children because they are foremost yours, are lovable, and are worth loving.  Most parents love their children despite their faults, big and small.  It is doubtless there are mothers and fathers that love their adult children despite completely unlovable characteristics and acts.  They love them because they are theirs.  Remember now that your country is not your child.  If you love her, you must love her for more than reasons of birth, residence, or because this is where all your stuff is.

There are many who can eloquently describe why he or she loves America, just as there are many within and outside of our boundaries that feel no great pride about her and can be persuasive to many by pointing out her current flaws and historical scars.  To counter this, and you must if you love her, you must know America’s current and historical goodness and greatness.  You are not blind to your own past indiscretions;  but if you focus exclusively on the muck and mire of where you’ve fallen, that is where you are likely to remain.  In the context of those personal observations on your own failing, wise are those that remember where they were before they fell and to where they were headed.  It is wholly unwise to think that because you were not good at one (or many) points on your journey that you must completely abandon that path or the manner itself in which you travel.

Throughout America’s history we have had to take up arms and arsenals in foreign lands as well as on our own soil to protect her.  Through warfare and violence, the core principles and ideals by which America is defined had to be defended.  Times are different now, friends.  Unlike any other time in our nation’s history, America’s honor must now be defended from within our borders and with words.

Know for what you stand.

Communicate your beliefs with enthusiasm and economy.

Promote, preserve, and protect what is important to you.

If you are able but care not to take the most meager of steps towards this goal, I say that you are no countryman of mine.  In your indifference or self-absorption, you are no different from those who want to destroy America or remake her in another’s image.

Get yourself into your own orbit around these things.  If not, you’ll find yourself subject to someone else’s gravitational pull.

One Comment
  1. The Castleton Crusader :) AKA Kristi Nastars permalink
    October 2, 2010 9:39 am

    I love America because Hugo can still blog and I can still comment. I love her because in spite of the naysayers…when a 9/11 occurs her people awake from their comfortable slumber and chase after her and each other to hold tight as one if if only for the blink of an eye. I love her because I hope she is stronger than the current cult of selfish pompous “global apologetic submitters” that feel no pride and don’t know that they can express that because she allows it. I have to believe as we awake again and realize that we are being insidiously poisoned from an enemy within that she (we) will rise up, rally us around the flag and show the world once again that she is the greatest freest land ever created by God …in other words exceptional!!

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