Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Fear For My Republic

For me, patriotism isn't about frenzied flag waving.  It's not about frantic attempts to prove that being a disrespectful jerk is covered under "Free Speech."  Patriotism is not about going to war for your nation or defending it against critics.  For me patriotism is a deep and abiding love.  You have to love your country, hold true to its ideals even when those ideals aren't currently popular.

America is seen by some a racist bigoted nation that is a giant bully on the world stage.  They see the "post-American" world as a good thing.  Some people would do anything to tare at the very seems of the fabric of our society determined to prove in our nakedness that we are the vile filthy sight they claim.  The very people who deny the beauty of America are the same people who claim beauty in the violent orgies of mobs.  

We were never intended to be a truly Democratic country.  Votes matter.  That's important.  But if we voted every week our political landscape would change like seasons in an Ohio spring day.  Republic was there to give us stability.  There was method to the "madness" behind the structure of our Republic.  

Even the Electoral College, much bemoaned and greatly derided, has a purpose.  There is a method to the madness.  Imagine we just went by the popular vote.  Then a president could focus his or her sole attention on the cities and completely ignore the rest of the country.  Most of the usable land area is used for farming.  America produces a noticeable percentage of the world's food.  If you focused only on what the cities want, the farms, and the way of life that supports them would be left to rot.  You also have to imagine what would happen if a presidential candidate only focused on a geographic region.  What if the South had enough votes to outvote the rest of the country?  

The problem is it's more than just the structure of the government.  Our very history is under attack.  I could point out the recent flap about the Confederate Battle Flag, but there is too much ignorance on both sides.  For me the greatest example of this is the future removal of Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill in favor of a woman.  What woman?  We don't know right now, some woman, you can vote on that if you want.  The point is YAY WOMEN!  The problem is they're removing one of the ultimate symbols of what it is to be an American in favor of some vague amorphous desire to promote "women."  Why?  Because her sexual organs are more in vogue than Hamilton's?  If you really want a woman on US currency why not ditch Andrew Jackson?  Jackson may have started an "era" but it was not a good era, and his actions with Native American resettlement alone should be reason enough to remove him from the currency.   

Alexander Hamilton is a great exemplar of American ideals.  He was born into poverty, a bastard child whose mother died when he was 13.  He taught himself most of the skills he would need, then on his own left his home in the West Indies for America.  When war came to his new home in America he volunteered for a New York militia company, and taught himself military tactics.  His unit called "the Hearts of Oak" stole artillery pieces while under effective fire from a British ship, and became an artillery battery afterwards.  Later when he became Washington's aid, he was treated like one of Washington's (many) surrogate sons.   

Hamilton might have ended his career there, a bright spot in the Revolution, yet, Alexander Hamilton became one of the most fundamental reasons America exists at all.  Without Hamilton, at the right place at the right time, the Constitution might not exist.  Hamilton and Madison were the chief architects for the compromises between the Virginia and New Jersey plans.  As if that weren't enough, he set up the national bank, and oversaw the assumption of the state's debt.  Yes, his personality was arrogant and often abrasive, even to people who were on his side, and he had a rather bad habit of sleeping with other people's wives.  All of the Founders had character flaws.  Their humanity makes them more compelling not less.  So why would we want to remove him from our currency?  

What of our society?  We spend so much time focusing on the surface details of a person.  Social Justice Warriors seem determined to put everyone in a box.  To prove that narrower and narrower classifications of people.  Your value is less and less about what you do, or what adversity you can overcome, and more about how you are "oppressed."  Notional chains seem to bind, and imaginary barbs lash out at people who seem to be in a constant state of hysteria.  The slightest wrong word will set them screaming crying wailing.  I'm all for reasonable accommodation but what happens when the accommodations become unreasonable?  

I can't possibly know what a person's desired pronoun is.  Hell I can't even tell when a person is anything other than the simple "male" and "female."  I also have to tell you as a medical professional even if you've had all the surgeries, and take all the hormones, it doesn't matter if you identify as the opposite sex, you are still at your core, whatever gender you started out as.  This is a truth.  It might be harsh, and I might seem uncaring.  The truth is quite the opposite.  I have the greatest sympathy for a person that feels like they are a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa, but no amount of surgery or hormone therapy can change what you are. 

Race too seems to be a box that people want to be pigeon holed into.  How does your ancestry change you?  Do you experience discrimination because of your skin color, or because of how you project yourself?  I keep getting told to "check my privilege."  What privilege?  In what way do I have more privilege than another person?  I can't see it, or understand it.  I'll grant that there are racists out there, and I've run into them, I won't deny that there are people out there that will judge you based solely on your race.  But the important question is are these people isolated or part of a larger trend?  If they're isolated individuals, which I suspect, than you deal with the situations as it arises.  If not, if you truly believe that the problem is institutional, then you need to point towards more than outcome.  Correlation is not causation.  

I fear for my Republic.  Low information voters don't even know the basics of US history.  Our culture is under attack from all angles.  Our institutions are becoming bloated masses that seek more power than they need.  Whats worse is that the people who are losing their liberty are cheering them on.  Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government they'd created in Philadelphia.  He responded "A Republic.  If you can keep it."  Like so many of the Founders he knew that every generation must maintain liberty.  That the successes of one generation do not automatically guarantee the success of the next.  This Republic will quickly fall to ruin if we do not take ownership and possession.  If we do nor remember why saying "I am an American" is a source of pride for so many, than we will soon fall into all our scattered boxes and bicker incessantly.  As Abraham Lincoln said "If distraction be our lot, than we ourselves must be its author."

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