Many Americans celebrated the nation’s birthday earlier this week with spectacular cheering, flag waving and exuberant parades; most of all, with pride.
It’s uplifting to see people energized. Older people, perhaps past the late 30s range, likely have a different view of the state of America today versus America four or five decades ago.
Those earlier years conjure up memories of heightened American pride; her flag, her constitution, loyalty to our fellow human beings and country, freedom of religious practice without disdain, respect for authority and a palatable sense of responsibility and accountability.
A Gallup Poll released July 1 shows “very proud” of America dropped from 70 percent in 2003 to 52 percent in 2016 after 57 percent in 2013.
A clear look at reality shows us why we shouldn’t be surprised.
Although it wasn’t a common practice, flag burning became legal in a 1969 Supreme Court case wherein such an act was deemed covered under the First Amendment. Predictably, the ACLU has enthusiastically led legislative efforts fighting the banning of flag desecration, under the guise of protecting First Amendment rights.
Many of us grew up with a pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag and morning prayer in school. I think many would agree it was an uplifting, positive way to start the day. I never heard a complaint.
Eventually, prayer became forbidden as a result of vociferous dissenters. They erroneously title it as a matter of church versus state, which it is not.
A 1962 Supreme Court ruled that “official prayer had no place in public education.” That does not mean the ruling said students would be forbidden on their own to pray, but rather government officials will not “compose a prayer for students to recite.”
Clearly the true meaning of the ruling is not practiced today.
There’s vivid evidence that prayer is indeed forbidden. Example: Washington’s Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy who was suspended in 2015 for his practice of praying after the games. Both teams were welcome to attend completely voluntarily. After eight years of doing this, “someone” reported him to the principal. His litigation continues.
Then there’s the matter of California’s Camp Pendleton Marine Base and Memorial Hill.
In 2003, surviving Marines of Operation Iraqi Freedom made burdensome efforts to walk up a 3,000-foot incline, “near vertical at some points carrying shovels, stones and a wooden cross” (Business Insider May 2012). Their intent was to symbolize “a fallen Marine, a brother, who had given his life in combat.”
The memorial grew as Marines would bring more rocks, one weighing over 50 pounds. Others “brought bottles of liquor, drinking with their fallen brothers and leaving the rest for them at the site. Between rocks, there were dog tags, Purple Hearts, battalion T-shirts, and photos.”
Two salient points: 1) The Marines are steadfast in their belief that the cross symbol is not of religious intent; and 2) The cross is far from the view of any mere passers-by; one must exert efforts to seek it out.
One objector is the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. I don’t know if they have formally filed a lawsuit yet.
Americans are right to hold the presumption that anyone who wants to be the president should be proud of America. President Obama fails at that.
Obama took office in January 2009, and his detrimental world apology tour soon followed.
* “We Have Not Been Perfect.” Apology to the Muslim world – Obama interview with Al Arabiya, Jan. 27, 2009.
* “Some Restoration of America’s Standing in the World.” Apology at the G-20 Summit of World Leaders at a London news conference April 2, 2009.
* “America Has Shown Arrogance” and “Sacrificing Your Values.” Obama apology speech to France and Europe in Strasbourg, April 3, 2009.
* “At Times We Sought to Dictate Our Terms.” “Promises of partnership have gone unfulfilled in the past … we have at times been disengaged.” Apology to the Summit of the Americas, Port of Spain, April 17, 2009.
* “We Went off Course … our government made a series of hasty decisions … all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight.” Apology for the War on Terror with Obama’s speech at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009.
* “Our Own Darker Periods in Our History.” “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history.” Apology before the Turkish Parliament, Ankara, April 6, 2009.
* “The United States Has Not Pursued and Sustained Engagement with Our Neighbors.” Apology for U.S. Policy toward the Americas. Obama op-ed, “Choosing a Better Future in the Americas,” April 16, 2009.
* “Potentially We’ve Made Some Mistakes.” Apology for (alleged) mistakes of the CIA. Obama told CIA employees, CIA Headquarters, Langley, Va., April 20, 2009.
* “A Rallying Cry for Our Enemies,” “Guantanamo in the first place was the misplaced notion that a prison there would be beyond the law … rather it made us less safe” Apology for Guantanamo, National Archives, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009.
* Obama spoke at a town hall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20, 2015 of America’s “pitfalls” like “income inequality, a political system controlled by the wealthy and political parties divided along racial lines.”
* Obama spoke in March 2016 in communist Cuba. He did not speak of America’s democracy or denounce Cuba’s dismal reign against human rights but was eager to be the communists’ friend.
* A happy-faced Obama appeared with a bust figure of Ho Chi Minh, leader of the communist movement in Vietnam, on May 23, 2016. He spoke in gleaming terms of Vietnam and made no positive statements about America.
Gallup concluded: “Americans’ patriotism stayed relatively flat from 2006 through 2013, a period that spanned the Great Recession and Barack Obama’s election and first term as president. But over the last three years, Americans’ willingness to say they are extremely proud to be an American has declined further.”
Much of the loss of “very proud” of America can be directly attributed to the aforementioned and more.
This week’s events with a presidential candidate having proven beyond the shadow of any doubt to be a big liar and document destroyer add to America’s losses.
More on that next time.
Photo credit Donkey Hotey