I am an American. Contrary to the current vibe that nothing means anything and truth is situational, being American involves a unique form of self-sacrifice: Always doing the best you can for your family, country and yourself. The antonym to self-sacrifice is self-obsession, a place I truly believe too many people have found a comfortable place to live in while deeper forces play out. It is also about:
Honor: Understanding the not so simple dictum that 2 + 2 always equals 4, and not what you think it should be. Logic is superior to mindfulness.
Volunteerism: Doing the best you can for others. Having Compassion, but compassion that’s never blind to the actions of others. We must strive to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, not making it someone else’s responsibility to do so.
Religion: Far from being the “opiate of the people,” as Marx once stated, religion provides the classical underpinning of a moral world where 2 + 2 equals 4. Faith is vital to the American spirit and ideal.
Fighting Evil and Fostering Patriotism: Only America has the will, war-fighting capability and understanding to fight evil. Evil must be destroyed lest it take over our moral world. There is no place to hide. The United States is the best country on earth. It is exceptional in its generosity, fighting for the rights of others and demonstrating a moral world that will not tolerate evil. All countries and systems are not equal. The fallacy of composition frequently points out that what you see is not frequently what you get. Don’t let people who know nothing lead you to failure.
Assimilation: How can you expect to enjoy what it means to be an American if you hold yourself out as something else? Live here in America? Adopt our customs, styles and yes, language. Is that too much to ask?
Individualism: Schools teach it wrong today. It is everyone’s responsibility to individually and not collectively take care of themselves. Few care for those that don’t take care of themselves, even as people inaccurately state otherwise.
Gun Rights: Is the only right keeping the government in check from collecting your guns and then telling you what to do and how to live without fear on their part.
Family: The old gold standard American family is what gave us our moral compass and an understanding of why we fight for our country. People don’t generally fight for patriotism; they fight for family and most essentially, their fellow warfighters.
Certain Unalienable Rights: No politician can take away those rights unless you let them. It is the foundation and the standard by which we, the citizens, can live out our days mostly peaceably, and so that we may pursue happiness. The Founders understood the proclivity of a central government to assume power at your expense. Human nature is frequently not correct or even benevolent, protestations to the contrary.
The Constitution: Is a document of protection. Without the Constitution as written; you have no rights that can’t be taken away.
The Rule of Law: In few other places is the law so closely valued. Here the law should hold to our primary truths of what we are and how we hold ourselves out to be. All of us must depend on the Rule of Law to keep us civilized and prosperous.
Capitalism: The most imperfect economic system in the world, except for all the others. Socialism and Communism (kissing cousins) divide the assets you have and assume a static state. Capitalism automatically fills needs, not always equitably, but always comes through with food, shelter, essential goods and medical care. The world is a better place for all people due to the existence of raw unfettered capitalism. Capitalism created the most altruistic nation on Earth.
American depends on freedom, all the different types. Without freedom there can be no individualism. Without individualism there can be no greed (an essential element of capitalism) and there can be no benevolence (because there would be nothing to give away). Freedom depends on you and the self-sacrifice you are willing to undertake to make yourself better. Don’t be a drone, be an individual.
Incidentally, 2 + 2 equals 4 is our litmus test. Know what’s true before you repeat untruths. All of us who are Americans by birth, or have come here legally and follow our laws, are welcome and have a right to aspire to be citizens. We have a new president. We all depend on him to demonstrate his commitment to the tenets displayed above and move beyond campaign rhetoric.
God Bless America!
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Letters: For love of country