On 9/11/2008, exactly seven years to the day after the unspeakable evil of the terrorist attack on New York’s twin towers, I became an American citizen. It took several years, an assortment of costly fees, fingerprinting (all ten digits), forms-filling-out, interviews, investigations and tests – but finally I am a naturalized citizen of the United States.
For the past 40 years, I was a “resident alien.” At my citizenship ceremony, I, and some 6100 other newly minted citizens, turned in our “green” (mine was actually pink) cards in exchange for a certificate of naturalization. For the first time, I took the Pledge of Allegiance.
The issue now before me is: What kind of American shall I be?
It begins with the Constitution
The Constitution of the United States of America is one of the great civilizing documents of history. Its purpose was to help the Founders to “form a more perfect union,” to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for future generations.
To the degree that today’s politicians and justices adhere to, and uphold, the original spirit and intent of the Constitution, I support them. To the degree they view it as a “living document” to be interpreted to serve partisan politics, I do not. In other words, I support strict constructionists.
Of special concern to me is political and religious liberty. It was upon those principles that the country was founded. Patrick Henry cried passionately, “Give me liberty or give me death!” For Henry, life under the bondage of authoritarian rule was not worth living. The first amendment to the Constitution is particularly relevant in this regard: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
England, America’s political ancestor, was ruled by a monarch, and it had a state religion (Anglicanism) which was presided over by the monarch. The Pilgrims and Founders wanted none of this. They didn’t want the Government (i.e. the Gang of 535) making any laws regulating the free and diverse expression of the Christian faith – anywhere, any time.
Nor were the Founders sympathetic to those who would attempt to spike dissenting political speech.
In our time, the Constitution lies in tatters on the floors of Congress, the Supreme Court, the courtrooms of activist judges, and sometimes even the White House. It has often been interpreted out of functional existence. It is a fading artifact of a once more noble past. Today, virtually every aspect of American life has been politicized and polarized. The tyranny of political correctness is ubiquitous. The only kind of “hate speech” that is not forbidden is that directed at Christians – especially those of the conservative variety; on them, its open season.
Civil War of Values?
I share the opinion that a “civil war of values” is taking place in America. It’s a war between Leftists (not true liberals) and traditional America. Of course the terms “left” and “right” can be somewhat misleading. In our lifetimes, the whole political spectrum has moved leftward. Yesterday’s liberals are today’s “Neo Cons,” and today’s “liberals” tend to be more radical. Both political parties – elephants and jackasses – are taking us deeper, perhaps irreversibly, into socialism. How politicians intend to pay for the mountain of existing and proposed entitlements is utterly beyond comprehension. One thing is certain: Unless we have a major course correction, somewhere down the road, the nation will bankrupt itself.
Endlessly raising taxes on “the rich” is not the answer. As Winston Churchill allegedly said: “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
For me, the Left is more in tune with the values of Karl Marx than with those of the Founders. The Left is openly hostile to Christian faith and Biblical values – especially to the public expression and moral influence of same. It seeks to redistribute the wealth of the wealthy via unfair taxes and social engineering. It takes a “one world” approach to foreign relations – viewing all of us primarily as “world citizens” rather than as Americans first. Under the influence of the Left, education has lost much of its discipline and has become mere indoctrination. “Good & evil” is no longer a socially or politically acceptable category for discussion. What was once known as “sin” has been psychologized, legalized and mainstreamed.
Under the influence of the Left, the U.S. is giving away piecemeal its sovereignty to international bodies. Leftist Supreme Court justices are deferring to international law rather than to the Constitution to render decisions for Americans. Leftist “greens” are hamstringing rational energy policy at every turn.
I could go on. Needless to say, I see the Left, and left-leaning Republicans, as The Problem. I view, to use Tom Sowell’s term, “the Vision of the Anointed,” as both flawed and dangerous.
Getting America back on track; returning this country to Founding values; reversing the headlong plunge into European-style socialism; reasserting the Judeo/Christian ethic and defeating the corrosive influence of the Left are all worthy, but daunting challenges. The Left has gained too much ground. No individual can accomplish much, but if large numbers of patriotic Americans can awaken to what’s happening to our beloved country, perhaps some of the deleterious trends can be reversed. Life as it daily unfolds is a matter of cause & effect. Change the causes and you change the effects.
Most of us have only the power of the vote – but that’s real power if we will only use it constructively. We the people need to keep voting out of office those who are corrupt, unresponsive to the will of the people, and resistant to the demands of the Constitution and replacing them with accountable men and women of personal integrity and loyalty to founding values. We need to expose and rebuke people who are harming our country from within.
As a naturalized citizen, I am far more concerned with being an assimilated American than being a hyphenated “Canadian-American.” I’m here to do all the good I can get away with in the short time remaining. I am a generic Christian first, an American second – as were many of the Founders. Now that I’m an American, I want to help rebuild America – not tear it down. If enough Americans feel that way, we can make it happen.