We Will Regret 'Post-American' Outcome

We Will Regret 'Post-American' Outcome

By Mark Davis - April 30, 2009

One generation never knows exactly what world it will pass to the next. But there is an alarming term making the rounds these days that seems a likely adjective for the era we are being guided toward:


This is to be distinguished, I suppose, from "un-American," indicative of actual loathing of the substance and behaviors of our nation. "Post-American" is pitched as the attitude that accepts and may even embrace the passing of America's era of global leadership.

I would hope it is impossible to be ambivalent about such a monumental global moment. Surely there are only those people who cheer this development as refreshing and timely and those who dread it for the certain dangers it poses.

Count me among the second group, and I would like a word with the first.

I have always believed that there are many ways to love America. Sharing my politics is not a precondition. But I have watched elected officials denigrate a war in progress (that we are now winning), soften borders that once protected us, erode cultural standards that once united us, and now attack an economic crisis not with an energizing call to boldness and courage but with astonishing spending designed to spawn dependency and thus political obedience.

Is it any wonder that the America my father handed to me seems nearly extinct?

President Barack Obama is not the cause of this disease, but he is a carrier. His words and actions reveal that he considers the United States to be an important nation but not the singular land every generation since America's birth has been taught about. That teaching, of course, changed a long time ago. For almost a half-century, schoolchildren have digested thick units that make sure to scold us for slavery, Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment camps and other sins.

Where is the curriculum that teaches that beyond our flaws, we have been the greatest society the world has known? We have built that legacy with a devotion to liberty and leadership unmatched in modern times. Yet we are led today by people who see the United States as merely the name between Ukraine and Uruguay on the United Nations lobby directory.

What we used to widely feel has been given a fitting name: American exceptionalism. It does not teach that we are without sin or that we cannot learn. It teaches that against the backdrop of history, no country has freed, fed or inspired more people than the United States. No nation has contributed more to science, culture or enlightened thought.

Today, that magnificent view is dismissed as tired jingoism. This new era requires America be brought down several notches, laid low by the frustrations and envies of rivals, taught a lesson about excessive pride. Our president is more than glad to direct us to this new humility. It is evident in his economic strategies, which liquefy wealth in a blender of socialism and environmental extremism. It is evident in his foreign policy, which kowtows to tyrants and comforts terrorists with the assurance of an America ready to step down as alpha male to become just another animal in the pack.

This is supposed to make the world like us better. It may, in the short term, until the dictators given room to breathe by an enfeebled America choose to broaden their adventures.

And when that time comes - and the world turns to America, as it has for centuries, only to find that we are no longer a superpower but just an ordinary neighbor - I hope those who favored and helped raise the curtain on the "post-American" world are stricken with a horror and regret that only the great tragedies of history can impart.


Mark Davis hosts a radio talk show in Dallas-Fort Worth and is a free-lance columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

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