This week would have been the 102nd birthday of Ronald Reagan. Born above a general store in Tampico, Illinois, our 40th President personified our national spirit—hardworking, honest, independent, sometimes stubborn and always optimistic. He was an unwavering and unapologetic patriot whose love of country endeared him to millions of his fellow Americans and enraged our nation’s foes.
Thirty years later, however, Reagan’s kind of sunny patriotism is under attack. Not by international foes of old, but by malcontents on the American left who fear a chorus of “America the Beautiful” at a football game is “vaudeville that quiets political dissent.” You can’t make this stuff up.
In late January, Texas Christian University Professor Tricia Jenkins wrote a column in the Washington Post entitled, “When we cheer for our team, do we have to cheer for America, too?” Seems the dear professor is distressed that all the pro-USA displays during the Super Bowl and other sporting events might actually stir our patriotic hearts. And that, my friends, is not a good thing.
Specifically, she argues these “militaristic rituals” may injure the delicate sensibilities of America hatin’ players and fans, such as former Toronto Blue Jays player Carlos Delgado, who in opposition to the Iraq war walked off the field whenever “God Bless America” was played. Apparently he didn’t appreciate the chorus of “U.S.A., U.S.A.” and boos he received. Jenkins feels his pain.
“By refusing to participate in patriotic gimmickry because of their objections to U.S. policy, these athletes were exercising their constitutional right to dissent,” she writes. “Still, their teams, leagues and crowds tried to silence them. That’s their right, too, of course. But somehow, a country founded on rebellion finds not standing for an anthem or saluting a flag un-American.”
Yes, professor, IT IS OUR RIGHT. Despite her begrudging acknowledgment, it’s abundantly clear she—and other like-minded liberals—believe taking pride in our country is inane, or worse, dangerously xenophobic. “Patriotic gimmickry;” “militaristic rituals;” “vaudeville?” Sounds ominous.
But that’s the point. In their far-left world, our nation is not Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” but an intolerant place with millions of aggrieved victims; a place where seething resentment has replaced robust debate and dissent. This is not the country he knew from the cornfields of Illinois to Hollywood Hills and Pennsylvania Avenue.
No, Ronald Reagan likely wouldn’t understand this irrational loathing of the greatest democracy the world has ever known. Rest assured Mr. President, neither do we.