Symbols: What Made Us Great

Over the past week, I’ve been collecting comments I’ve made about the news. Much of it has been about the zero-tolerance border policy and the rhetoric around it. I’m not here to address the immigration issue head-on here because I want to go broader. I do think that the border situation is a complete mess, but it’s the (current) peak of a fight which has been going on for quite some time. That fight, in the quest to make America great again, is over what makes America great. To examine that, let’s go back to when America was at its greatest: When we saved the world in World War II.

Hitler rose in the ashes of The Great War. The Blitzkrieg came and rolled over appeasing nations. The Maginot Line fell, as did France. Europe was overrun by Nazis. Britain was in some shit. Captain America was slugging Hitler in 1941, before even Pearl Harbor which finally forced the USA’s hand. Within the next year, Superman was fighting for “Truth, justice, and the American Way”. We danced a careful dance with Russia, divided up the rest of the world, and became the leader of the free world. That free world relied on our strength, both military and economic. We led that world in what we thought was a benevolent fashion while imposing our will where we thought it right. There were clearly some missteps (to be overly kind) internationally, we had the Civil Rights movement internally, and it was an ugly struggle we’re still not through with today. But it was a struggle we met together*. We put men on the moon! I can’t say for sure how many times I’ve used that as a point here, but it’s because there was a sense that we could work through and achieve anything.

* I know this is going to seem painfully and intentionally naïve. I’m deliberately going past real and valid strife to the land of Leave it to Beaver. To the land of George Reeve’s Superman. Yes, it’s a flawed ideal and this will be a flawed discussion.

Stormy times for what embodied our national values.
Stormy times for what embodied our national values.

We even had this sense after 9/11. Bush/Gore was narrowly decided by hanging chads and was as close a presidential election as we can ever have. Still, Gore yielded for the country’s benefit and the images of W in New York afterwards are iconic. We were attacked and unified. Watch this. It speaks of Americans’ love and compassion towards each other and our strength together. Unfortunately, we then talked ourselves into the most poorly founded military engagement in my lifetime with the invasion of Iraq, who had no WMDs. And ever since then, we’ve lost what was once the American Way.

Congress has become partisan and we started taking stances which are either-or. Still, I believe that we were taking routes which represented different approaches to what was right for Americans and best for the world. Today, we’re miles away from what’s best for the world and even America First simply is not. And it’s not truth, justice, and the American Way. At all. We’re told there’s a Deep State, that everything we read unfavorable is Fake News, that statistics are wrong, and that crowd sizes are record – pay no attention to the pictures. The FBI is part of the Deep State, and its head was fired because of “this Russia thing”. It’s still under assault even as Christopher Wray, Trump’s appointed replacement for James Comey, defends it. We’re told to only trust one man regardless of what else we see and to watch his favorite network with him.These bring the storm clouds of authoritarianism.

And now we’ve instituted a zero-tolerance rule for border crossings which involves relocating children away from parents with sketchy ability to reunite them, especially the youngest ones who can’t speak. Are they all legit? No. Are some of them traffickers or drug runners? Yes. Is that an excuse to throw out the rule of law and break the checks and balances the framers built into the Constitution?

Does this sound like Nobel Peace Prize recipient? Does he even want one?
Does this sound like Nobel Peace Prize recipient? Does he even want one?

Do you really – truly, in your heart of hearts – believe that anyone who sees any of this as wrong is the opposition, wants open borders, and seeks the destruction of our nation? That they should leave? If so, you should look long and hard at what the American Way used to be and what made us great. What once made us great is what attracted the world to us and it’s the opposite of what the nation has embraced. And yes, I skipped a lot of the ugly stuff since that’s not what makes people nostalgic for a better time. I’m pretty sure that Captain America or Superman, symbols of that greatness, would try to work some sense into us.
Mike McCain’s “American Way”. 100% of proceeds donated to the ACLU.
Mike McCain’s “American Way”. 100% of proceeds donated to the ACLU.

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