Much has been written about the demise of the Motor City, expounding on the inevitable result of progressive liberalism gone wild and the potential ramifications to our communities if we allow the same forces to remain in power. Pictures and stories of the once-great American metropolis, brought to her knees, are staggering. As if the complete default of the city on its financial obligations wasn’t bad enough, Detroit continues to produce horrifying headline after horrifying headline, the most recent being a series of female victims who have each been found tied to a chair and burned to death in abandoned buildings throughout the city. It is hard to fathom that these stories are not coming from Mogadishu, but a major American city that holds a prestigious place in our history. How could a city that achieved such prominence become so godforsaken, both figuratively and literally?
G.K. Chesterton, once wrote, “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her,” (Orthodoxy). Rome’s greatness did not lead to the adoration of Romans. It was because of the adoration of her citizens that Rome’s greatness became fact. How starkly apparent this axiom becomes when applied to entities like Detroit or the United States herself. Men did not despise Detroit because she was broke. She was broke because men had despised her. Too often, the cart is put before the horse, and the result is mistaken for the cause.
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In what has become the definitive statement of his presidency, then-Candidate Obama promised to “fundamentally transform America” just a few days before his election to the Presidency. We wondered: if he loves America, how can he seek to fundamentally transform her? And why would he want to? If President Obama was honest (and that’s a pretty big IF these days), he would probably quip something akin to, “I love the idea of America, but we’ve got some work to do.” In spite of all the reedy protestations of patriotism and forced flag-saluting, this President does not love our country. And neither do progressives (on either side of the aisle) who likewise support and seek the fundamental transformation of our nation. Their actions and their words demonstrate the truth of it. If you love your father, would you ever seek to fundamentally transform him or allow someone else to?
When President Obama and his progressive pals swear their love for America, they aren’t lying. But they aren’t speaking about America as it exists today; they’re referring to the America that exists on the whiteboards of Marxist professors and the crumpled handouts of community organizers all across this land. They love the America that punishes success and mandates mediocrity, which stifles dissent and suffocates with ideology, which protects the depraved while slaughtering the innocent. And so they see no cognitive dissonance between detesting America conceptually and mouthing mealy murmurs of love for their motherland. In textbook Alinsky-fashion, they conceal their true intentions and thoughts to achieve their transformational trajectory.
This is why America as we know it is crumbling. Not because Americans hate this country, but because too many of them love another America. A major component of what made this nation great was the pride citizens took in representing the values embodied by the United States of America and the love they shared of the liberty that these values protected. Just as Detroit crumbled because the object of her citizens’ adoration shifted from those values that made her great to those that made her ill, this nation is fundamentally transforming to a new and different definition of “great.” Multiculturalism furthers this transformation by encouraging cultural relativism and a community of cultural silos whose inhabitants nurse grudges against inhabitants of neighboring silos. The attack on American exceptionalism is becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy by guaranteeing that America will no longer be exceptional for much longer.
If we are to avoid becoming a nation of Detroits, we need to evict self-hating, progressive politicians and bureaucrats from their positions of power. To get back to the equation Chesterton identifies, we need to get a wide swath of Americans to love this country again in order to begin her restoration to greatness. This is nearly impossible in today’s political climate, for the simple reason that we have a legion of Wormtongues filling the empty heads of their supporters with self-hate and grievance, which fuels their desire to fundamentally transform this nation into something that turns the stomach of conservatives. It is a brilliant turn of play that ensures no group will retain their love of country intact. Cauterize the wound by evicting progressive politicians and regulators, and we just might start to open our eyes like King Theoden and realize how lovely this nation can be without the trappings of totalitarianism with which she is draped today.
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