Long Live America!

I vividly remember when the impossible had happened — the Berlin Wall had fallen. Through my dorm window at the University of Michigan Law School, I watched European students spontaneously jumping for joy and hugging each other. The Soviet Union would soon be gone.

The threat to America

Countless examples exist of the demise of seemingly eternal countries. As a human institution, America will of course not survive forever. But our demise may be closer than you think.

Those who hate America are becoming a force to be reckoned with. This Valentine’s Day, two environmental radicals poured reddish powder on the display case holding the original U.S. Constitution. One of the pair proclaimed on social media, “We are determined to foment a rebellion,” citing their extremist environmental views. In Dearborn, Michigan, during a protest of Israel’s military response to the massacre of over 1,200 Israelis on October 7, chants broke out of “Death to America!”

Student protesters at Columbia University and other universities have expressed the same sentiments. One student holding an American flag at Columbia was viciously struck and nearly lit on fire when protesters ignited his flag. Pro-Iranian protesters in Chicago chanted “Death to America!” in Farsi while praising Iran’s recent missile strike on Israel.

Assessing the facts of current history is always a dangerous proposition. But by all accounts, a sizable number of college students nationwide despise the very country that allows them to gather and protest. There is more than a bit of irony in the fact that these student are attending the most elite institutions in the world, with material wealth beyond the imagining of 99.9999% of all humanity who ever lived. They have the greatest freedoms ever enjoyed by any people in the world, which is apparently beyond their comprehension.

Indoctrination to hate

Why are they doing this? It is because they have been indoctrinated to hate the country that has provided them with so much.

These student radicals are swimming in a cesspool of general disaffection. A Wall Street Journal poll last year showed that people who think patriotism is a very important value plummeted from 70% in 1998 to 38%.

Also, the state of civics education is in a bad place overall. Many Americans are woefully ignorant of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and foundational history. It is impossible to appreciate what you don’t know.

Finally, large swaths of the media and the educational establishment are decidedly anti-American. Instead of teaching a balanced view of our history, they attack America. Many students are taught to hate our founding generation, hearing exaggerated accounts of their sins but nothing that deserves praise. Too many teachers make unrelenting attacks on former paragons of virtue like Abraham Lincoln and offer classes and programs designed to divide everyone based on identity.

A major example of this trend is the 1619 Project, launched by The New York Times and adopted by thousands of schools across the country. Using the lens of critical race theory, it condemns America as an oppressive, racist hierarchy from its very beginnings to the present day.

But this cannot stand.

Time was…

There was a time when men and women courageously stood for America. Patrick Henry thundered “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” Generations of young men and women went to their deaths to win our freedom. They fought against a tyrannical Britain, to keep our independence in the War of 1812, to preserve the Union and liberate the slaves in the Civil War, to fight for democracy in the Great War, to defeat fascism and Japanese imperialism in World War II, to fight against totalitarian communism in Korea and Vietnam, and to combat tyranny and terror in more recent decades. Generations of reformers have also risked everything to broaden the promise of America to all.

Today, most protesters utterly denigrate such sacrifices. Instead, they seem intent on destroying the very country that so many generations gave their lives to preserve.

America’s time may come someday, but let it not be on our watch.

Citizens of good will must not silently stand by. We must teach why America — even with its imperfections — is still the greatest nation in world history. We must celebrate our history, our Declaration, and our Constitution. We need to reignite our dedication to offer to all students an informed and meaningful civics education and balanced history classes. We must work to live up to our promise with increased devotion. Long live America!

This article was originally published by RealClearPublicAffairs and made available via RealClearWire.

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