Memorial Day: A Time To Distinguish Between Patriotism And Pulpit

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

I love this my country. Despite the apparently never-ending efforts of those who seek to “fundamentally transform” into a replica of the European social-democratic states (which has provoked a Euro-nationalist-populist reaction), it is still a great country.Pace the president’s casual dismissal of our history, it is a unique country. Until the formation of the United States there were very few places in the world (I think there were none but I say “few” in case there were tiny, obscure examples of which I am ignorant) that constitutionally recognized and guaranteed the natural right of free political speech, religious freedom (not just a tightly circumscribed “freedom of worship”), freedom of association, and freedom of the press to name but a few.

The United States is arguably (but not inevitably) an empire in the process of contraction but if that is true, it has been an empire erected partly for economic reasons to be sure but also partly to extend to others the civil liberties that we enjoy. No nation in the history of the world has spent more blood and treasure seeking to achieve and preserve those freedoms for other people. We fought two World Wars to preserve our freedoms yes, but Omaha Beach is not actually in Omaha. When we made that improbable landing at Inchon, it was not to take over Korea but to protect Koreans from the spread of totalitarianism. Had men not fought in the miserable cold at the 38th parallel, all of Korea would look like the North does now, but it does not. South Korea is a bustling, free, capitalist society because of the courage of Missouri farm boys and kids from the Bronx. However misguided the Baby Boomers thought the Vietnam War was, the Cold War Democrats (Kennedy and Johnson), who sent young men to Vietnam, were convinced that the Soviet Union was bent on imposing its totalitarian system upon the rest of the world and that meeting them at Hamburger Hill was preferable to meeting them at Beacon Hill.

Yes, we have grave national sins. Americans stole, sold, imprisoned, raped, and murdered Africans for profit. Americans systematically denied the humanity of an entire race of image bearers for hundreds of years. We also, however, fought a bloody civil war that nearly destroyed the Republic in order, at least in large measure, to end that “peculiar institution.” We ignored Jim Crow for a century but we also repudiated it. Whereas Dr King was once regarded as a troublemaker in many places, today he is regarded as a hero in virtually every place. That sort of growth makes this nation unique and worth celebrating.


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