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The American Identity
It’s a real problem. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Americans lost $1.6 billion in resources due to identity theft. Identity theft continues to be the top complaint among consumers to the FTC .
But, people are not the only ones that are the victims of identity theft. It can also happen to nations. Currently, the United States of America is having its identity stripped from it, and is being replaced by an identity that invites division, trashes America, and suppresses our local and regional governments in favor an impersonal, centralized bureaucracy.
Today, we are told that Americans value security more than independence, that our government should spend whatever is necessary to provide whatever entitlements we wish for ourselves: free health care, education for everyone, elaborate age-old pensions—no matter the cost to future generations. We are told that Americans can kill others in the name of "choice." We are led to believe that America is a nation of open borders where anyone can come at any time, consume whatever he wants, and exit whenever he pleases.
Is that right? Is this what America has become?
Well, it’s not polite to wave things in people’s face, so back up, because I plan to do some shameful, indulgent, and long-overdue flag waving. This is the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, a nation that was birthed in faith and in a quest for liberty unparalleled in human history. Along with the nation of Israel, no nation has done more to bring prosperity to itself and those around it. It is this combination of faith in God and in freedom that has made America one of the most sought-after places in the world, the enemy of tyrants, and the desire of those that seek a better life and are willing to pay the price to achieve it.
The French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville talked about a national character that each nation possesses. America also has a national identity that distinguishes her from other nations. That identity is rooted in its founding principles such as freedom, equality, and independence.
Sadly though, that identity is being lost, taking a severe beating on many fronts and some of it is coming from our own officials, too many of which have become timid in opposing America's enemies and too comfortable at living at the expense of others. In this article, I’d like to remind us all what America is all about.
And, What Is America All About?
We live in the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth and perhaps the greatest nation to ever grace this planet. Our nation has been one of the freest and most prosperous nations throughout recorded history. Rooted in the values of Judaism and Christianity, this nation has done more to spread freedom and provide for itself and others than any other nation. We project both the most formidable military strength and the greatest compassion for the oppressed of any nation, past or present.
Furthermore, we now have the potential to extend greater freedom and opportunity to more people than ever before. The power of our information technology gives us greater capacity for more freedoms and more choices than we've ever possessed.. America has achieved many breakthroughs in the areas of politics and economics that allow people greater independence over their political and economic choices. The next frontier is independence in biology: giving more people greater knowledge over how their body works and how they can take care of it, with a technology to support those choices. Today, we live longer and have the opportunity to live fuller lives for a longer period of time.
Given these opportunities, it’s a wonder that we are moving away from greater freedom and opportunity and towards greater government control and fewer options. America has an identity; it stands for something. America stands for freedom—in speech, in religion, in assembly, in protection from the arbitrary force of officials. America stands for opportunity, especially economic. As such, there are some things that we don’t do as Americans and there are some things that we do because we are Americans. Right now our nation needs a reminder of just what those things are.
America is a nation where the powers of the state are limited. When a social problem arises, our first question is not “what is the government going to do about it”? Americans ask, “what can I do about it”? Americans know that government is woefully incapable of handling most of our social problems. Beyond protecting us from the bad guys, there is little that government can do better than the organization of private citizens. Americans know that government is likely to perpetuate our social problems or prolong them rather than solve them.
Therefore Americans oppose their government when it seeks to grab power for itself. We resist our lawmakers when they seize one-sixth of the nation’s economy in an effort to shove us into a health care system that will ultimately give us fewer options and reduced quality. We don’t shove our seniors into a one-size-fits-all system that treats them like they’re nothing more than a social security number, that sees them as a burden to our health care resources.
Americans are not anti-government. But they also know that governments have the monopoly on coercive force and that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So, while Americans are not “anti-government” they exercise a guarded suspicion when it comes to the actions of their leaders. Americans want to be persuaded by their officials, not coerced; lead, not forced. Americans are easily lead, but not easily driven and herded like dumb sheep. Americans know that their leaders ought to be out front, setting the example, not kicking them from behind, imposing upon them a system starved of freedom and opportunity.
Americans support a ready defense. They know that they live in a dangerous world and that they need to be ready to go on the offense if necessary. As normal people, we fear when we are threatened with bodily harm. But as Americans, we stand up to bullies; we don’t let them maraud our homes, terrorize our children and impose havoc on our nation. We stand up to fanatics that blow up our buildings and saw off the heads of our citizens. We value security, but we value freedom and independence more. The many that have died for our nation on distant shores are a testament to that priority.
Americans don’t make their nation’s armed forces a center for social experimentation. We don’t stick our head in the sand to the natural reality that men are better equipped to endure the rigors of war. Our military does not give a gun to a man that is so morally confused that he’s uncertain of his gender and the masculine role he’s to carry out in his society. We don’t embrace unnatural affections and call it an “alternative lifestyle” or “gay.” We certainly don’t grant it legal protection.
American fathers teach their sons that should it be necessary, they should fight for their country so that their mothers and their sisters won’t have to. American fathers are embarrassed that their daughters risk their lives on foreign lands to protect our freedoms while their sons stay home in domestic security so that they can enjoy those freedoms.
Americans don’t tie the hands of their soldiers or our police officers in their effort to defend their nation and their country, whether that be at home, on our borders, or abroad. As for those that protect our borders, Americans call those men and women “heroes,” not “racist, xenophobic bigots.” Americans embrace the olive branches of peace and diplomacy. But when murderers come to our doorstep, our border, or to our citizens abroad, they get stopped—abruptly.
America is a religious nation, one that is founded on the idea that we are one nation under God. Americans resist the religious oppression imposed upon us by atheist lunatics in the name of freedom from religion. We don’t terrorize children in schools, sending them to the principal’s office for discussing religious themes or force them to pray outside the schools around the flagpole. We don’t threaten valedictorians with censure when they express their faith in the Lord during their graduation speech. We don’t eject students from university programs because they express a religious view that is contrary to fascist educators that connive to squelch the freedom of expressed opinion. And we're not timid about posting the Declaration of Independence on our school walls just because some morally-challenged egotist might be offended that the Almighty is mentioned.
This is a nation under God; those that believe in Him have the freedom to publicly express their love for Him. Those that desire to honor Him with thanksgiving have the floor. Americans do not live a life apologizing to unbelievers for their faith. Believers aren’t on notice.
If anyone’s on notice, it’s the atheist. He’s the one that rejects his religious heritage. In a Christian nation, the atheist can express his views; but He has no position to impose his phobia of religion on others. He is not entitled to a “religious free zone” save, perhaps, in his own home. And he certainly is not entitled to such an atmosphere in public, in our government or in its schools.
Atheists, like children, plug their ears when they don’t want to hear things that upset them. But Americans know that one of the prices of freedom is that we're going to hear things we don’t like hearing. Americans know that the tradeoff for the right to express their ideas is that they’ll hear, from time to time, ideas that offend them. I don’t like hearing atheist ideas; they're an affront to history and intelligence, but I don’t try to suppress their right to speak or publish those ideas, no matter how offensive I might find them. I know that I have the freedom to respond to those ideas. I am willing to risk my ideas on the alter of freedom; let ideas be distributed freely and then embrace the belief that truth will prevail in the end.
We are Americans. We don’t gut the financial future of our children to satisfy our wants in the present. We don’t risk the economic future of our grandchildren so that we can live more comfortably. We save and invest in the future so that our children will have a better life than we did. As Americans, we enjoy the fruit of our labors, yet we also save so that we won’t be a burden to our children and that we can give back to our nation more than what we took. Those that went before us made sacrifices so that we can enjoy blessings in our generation. We Americans do the same in our time so that our children and their children will receive even greater blessings than we had in our lifetime.
As Americans, we go overboard to make sure that people are protected. Insurance is a major business in this nation for precisely that reason. We go to extreme lengths to make sure that the guy in prison or death row is the person that deserves to be there. We don’t take life indiscriminately. If the situation should call for it, we will take a life: in self defense or if a person has chosen to be such a monster so as to kill his fellow citizens indiscriminately, that he has forfeited his right to live in a free society.
Therefore, Americans don’t allow for the killing of infants, either before or after they’re born. They are persons and as such, are entitled to our protection under the law. Americans protect these little ones, whether it’s from a doctor or from a mother, who in a desperate state, has suppressed her natural instincts to protect her baby and has conspired with her doctor to kill the infant. Americans don’t weep over the death of baby seals, yet remain unmoved at the death of our children in American abortuaries.
We also don’t allow for the killing of the infirmed. We don’t starve those that cannot feed themselves or suffocate those that cannot breathe on their own. Americans exhibit compassion for those that cannot help themselves. Worldwide, we are, by far, the most generous nation on this planet. That generosity extends to the weakest of our citizens. Americans don’t circle the globe to feed the poor, but then sanction the starvation of Terry Schiavo and those like her.
Americans of the past, men and women of faith and endurance, worked hard and sacrificed much to provide a heritage of faith and freedom. It's time that each of us embrace that identify, hold fast to the best of the past, and carry that best part with us as we move forward into the future.
 Federal Trade Commission. "FTC Announces Top National Consumer Complaints for 2013." Accessed 23 May 2014. http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/02/ftc-announces-top-national-consumer-complaints-2013.
© 2010 William R Bowen Jr