Years ago, during the First Gulf War, I asked one of our editors whether he objected to the protestors who burned American flags. He replied, "It's not my flag, it's not my country." I respected his opinion, though I wondered at the time if it was not a bit extreme. But every day there are news stories that tell us this is, indeed, not our country and, what is more, the people to whom the country now belongs, don't want anything to do with us.
Item: Chick Fil-A is being hounded by authorities in Chicago who object to what they invariably describe as the "anti-Gay" attitudes of the company's CEO. His crime against humanity is not to believe in same-sex marriages. In other words, an attitude shared by 99% of Americans a generation ago is now not only rejected but anathematized. Mayor Rahm Emanuel weighed in on the controversy, declaring, "Chick-Fil-A's values are not Chicago's values." One more good reason for sane people to get out of Chicago!
Of course, the Jewish Imanuel does share values with the raving anti-Semite Louis Farakhan, whose help in fighting crime he is publicly welcoming. Why not hire the Latin Kings and the Gangster Disciples? Does Imanuel really not know that the only reason the Black Muslims oppose gangs is because they are rivals? Talk, sometime, to people on the shtreet [sic].
On a slightly more serious note, the Obama camp is attacking the Romney campaign for remarks allegedly made by an unnamed staffer. The staffer, explaining Romney's trip to England, is supposed to have said (according to the Telegraph) something like to the effect that the Obama White House has failed to understand the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" shared by the U.S. and Britain. Another staffer is quoted as saying, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."
Team Obama is venting the usual outrage over racial insensitivity. If the staffers, whoever they are, actually said these things, no one knows exactly in what context. The most obvious point is that the anti-European Obama administration, which sent back a bust of Winston Churchill given as a present, and which has made clear its contempt not just for British but for all European and American traditions, cannot understand such quaint notions as the rule of law.
But what if they meant more? What if they had the nerve to declare that the United States was founded by British people, that our language and traditions are English, and that immigrants and aliens, while welcome, have a duty to assimilate to our way of life and not expect us to cater to such native traditions as the lawless rioting on display by the Mexicans in Anaheim in recent days?
This is what everyone outside of New York believed until a generation ago, and even if times and circumstances have changed, is it really so terrible to mouth a platitude that was once in every history and civics textbook?
The simple answer is, yes, it is so terrible. In today's America, everything our ancestors believed is now condemned not only as wrong but also as disgusting. It's not our country any more and hasn't been for some time, and all the Americans who voted, last time around, for Barack Obama are without exception the enemies of whatever our country used to be.
This includes not just the odd Neocon but also the so-called Obamacons who regarded him as the lesser of two evils. Who could possibly regard the disciple of Jeremiah Wright as the lesser evil? Who but the Wall Street Journal "conservatives" or single-issue wonks who despise what little they know of their country's history and traditions?
It is time to quit pretending: the American left is both anti-American and main- stream. How bizarre they mean seem to normal people--however many normal people are left--they are in a position to redefine not just the normal, but the good, the true, and the beautiful. They can be voted out in the next election, but unless conservatives and Republicans find the guts to tell the truth and defend what is left of the real America, it will not matter.
By telling the truth, I do not mean insulting people for their race, ethnicity, religion, or bedroom behavior. I do mean, however, that we have to be clear that American "values" are not universal and abstract, as the Neoconservatives would have you believe--this abstract Americanism is an unfailing sign of the neoconservative disease. Our "values" are the product of thousands of years of historical development, in Europe and here in North America. If we reject our history, our religion, our moral and cultural traditions, we are also rejecting everything that makes life possible in this apocalyptic world.
Then it is not enough to reject the Anti-Americans--the Obamas and Imanuels--but also the pseudo-Americans who try to harness whatever decent instincts are left and put them into the service of an equally pernicious ideology of American imperialism.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.