American Nationalism: It's Real…and It's Spectacular

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American Nationalism: It's Real…and It's Spectacular
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
American Nationalism: It's Real…and It's Spectacular
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
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On Tuesday night my CNN colleague Chris Cuomo correctly asserted that I, and people like me, embrace terms such as “nationalist” and “America First” -- phrases that are, in his view, “stained.” He challenged me to provide an example of “nationalism that was positive and not oppressive to another.”  My immediate answer was “American nationalism,” to which he responded, “There’s no American nationalism.”

It is abundantly clear, of course, that American nationalism is a real thing.  We can consider, of course, the merits of this ideology, but we cannot honestly litigate its existence.  Our TV debate that night revealed a foundational chasm that is magnified in our political discourse.  For those of us embedded in the widespread 2016 movement toward sovereignty, a muscular return to nationalism forms a prerequisite for economic fairness and the diffusion of power.  Conversely, the “resistance” views nationalism as a retrograde parochialism that usurps the allegedly enlightened internationalism that has dominated policy and thinking among elites of government, big business, academia, and the media for several decades.

But instead of confronting American nationalism on its actual tenets, the Democratic Party and mainstream media complex smear the movement as inherently racist and evocative of oppressive fascism.  For example, permissive immigration advocates assail U.S. border enforcement as intrinsically racist.  During that CNN discussion, my colleague Angela Rye insisted that the motivations of people -- like me -- who desire stronger border protection flow from “fear that white people are losing their power in this country.  That is what is driving this.  White fear.  What is what is driving this.  It is racism.” 

In addition to slandering me, a Hispanic and immigrant son, as motivated by “white fear,” Miss Rye’s diatribe conveniently overlooks the clear reality that America is not a race.  American citizenship pays no regard at all to color.  In point of fact, protecting America from illegal alien trespassers proves particularly crucial for Americans of color, who suffer disproportionately from the ravages of mass illegal immigration, including unfair labor market competition and totally preventable street crime from dangerous troublemakers mixed among the migrants.       

Rye then extended the verbal attacks.  She echoed the alarmism of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, warning that, by operating detention facilities for border trespassers, America heads down a road that leads to “death camps” like those operated by Nazi Germany.  I wish that such inane hyperbole could be dismissed as a radical outlier but, in fact, such comparisons have become all too common in the mainstream media since President Trump’s election.  For example, MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch admonished “Morning Joe” viewers that “if you vote for Trump then you the voter – you, not Trump – are standing at the border like Nazis.”

In this effort, agents of the left deliberately conflate American nationalism with the rancid ethno-fascist history of the Axis powers.  The latter built political bonds based on blood and soil, focusing on racial purity and cross-border military conquest.  In direct contravention to such evil, American nationalism discounts heritage and genetics.  As a nation of immigrants, our founding instead focused almost totally on shared beliefs, on our creed as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence: “we hold these truths...”  There is no DNA test for American nationalism; it is, rather, a commonality of believers. Among these beliefs are the principles of pluralism, religious liberty, free-market economics, respect for our Constitution, and reverence for our great flag.

In addition, quite unlike the expansionist ethos of ethno-fascism, American nationalism, properly understood, seeks protection of our interests with a minimum of U.S. intervention abroad.  Whereas actual fascists overrun borders and abuse the prerogatives of sovereign nations, our nationalism strives to protect the integrity of our borders. In such efforts, we fulfill the teachings of a very famous nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi.  As leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement, he once remarked that “our nationalism can be no peril to other nations inasmuch as we will exploit none, just as we will allow none to exploit us.” 

America First stipulates that we, like any proud people, place our country’s own self-interest before the goals of multinational structures.  I believe this aspect of American nationalism drives much of the visceral disdain displayed by the globalist elites.  Luminaries of media and big business, for example, have thrived in a multilateral world, and largely find stronger bonds with journalists or executives in Paris, France than with the people of Paris, Texas.  These cronies, therefore, recoil at the notion of enlightened nationalism and consequently seek to delegitimize it as somehow racist and despotic.

But these privileged influencers should stop this dishonest disparagement. They should also look beyond their narrow self-interest and instead acknowledge the incredible benefits both here and abroad from an America motivated by a rational, mature, and edified self-interest. To channel Teri Hatcher’s famous breakup line to Jerry Seinfeld way back in 1993: American nationalism: It’s real … and it’s spectacular!

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics and a CNN  political commentator. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.



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