It’s an interesting phenomenon that those who most vociferously proclaim their love for America are the ones most responsible for this country’s fall from greatness. It’s certainly not a new situation historically.
Think of pre-war Germany. Like an athlete gobbling steroids, rabid nationalism helped Germany quickly bulk up into a menacing giant by the end of the 1930s, only to succumb to the drug’s dangerous side effects—hubris, feelings of superiority, aggressive behavior, visions of grandeur—soon thereafter.
Something very similar is happening in early twenty-first century America. We now live in a state of perpetual war with an enemy that we only see after they have blown up something. Prisoners of terror, the American people are cowered into waiting for instructions under the government's shadow. To question the direction in which our country is moving, we are told, is to spit on Old Glory. Military worship is the new religion, replete with ever increasing send-off ceremonies and yellow car magnets to demonstrate the depth of one’s faith. We don’t see our dead. We don’t see our wounded. We aren’t told how many thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed.
Meanwhile, our country slides into mediocrity at every level, from education to health care to science, we lose ground daily at the hands of pre-Enlightenment political minds and a bottom-line media.
True love is work. If you love your wife, and she starts smoking crack, you would intervene to help her. You know instinctively that love is not unqualified acceptance of whatever your beloved does. But when it comes to love of country, some of us feel that whatever is done in the name of America is noble and right. We are above criticism. That’s not love. That’s idol worship.
America is in trouble. Shouting patriotic slogans or attaching flags to overpasses isn’t going to help. It’s time, past time, for some tough love.