The sentiment is building momentum for his uneven campaign as we inch closer to November and now he’s getting raves from conservatives, who previously eluded him, for his book, “No Apology; The Case For America’s Greatness.”
Millions of Americans are inspired by that nationalism and it’s become a battle cry of the far right against President Obama who did, in fact, once offer contrition regarding some of America’s foreign policies.
“Apology is a sign of weakness!” said one conservative pundit on Fox News. “We are vulnerable to enemy invasion if we do not show our strength.”
Many Americans, myself included, feel pride in our country at the very thought of the principles of freedom and justice on which we were founded, the problem is, those principles are becoming a fairytale version of reality. While the feelings are sincere, they are no more relevant than the sensation we experience when Snow White comes back to life with a kiss from her prince.
To say, as President Obama did, that “America has, at times, been arrogant and dismissive” is simply a statement of truth.
Hiding the truth of our foreign policy contradictions, or pretending that America has always been on the side of justice does nothing to enhance the world’s view of our strength, or to instill fear of American retribution.
Is it so hard to imagine that Iranians shook their heads in dismay when our government sold them weapons during our own embargo against such an action?
Were they confused in Central America when the United States gave that money to a revolution to overthrow the Nicaraguan government, even though the US itself had rendered such an act illegal?
When US interest in oil allied us with the Shah of Iran, who forced a one party system onto his people and whose affluence made him a monarch in an oil rich kingdom of poverty, does anyone think Persians gained trust in our foreign policy?
Let’s not even start with American expansionism and the annexation of Mexican land or our ever changing trade policies and relations with China.
The point is America does not carry a flawless history to uphold the principles of freedom with compassionate wisdom and Heavenly guidance.
American foreign (and domestic) policy is peppered with inconsistencies, even betrayals of justice, yet to many Americans, and to Mitt Romney, the mere mention of that truth translates into “hatred” of America, however, it is anything but. What the “liberal” agenda hopes to achieve is more than a parroting of America’s greatness but to actually realize American greatness.
We cannot improve unless we know what we need to improve. We cannot become closer to a greater realization of America’s promise of freedom unless we acknowledge the mistakes we have made. That doesn’t negate our “pride” or our “patriotism,” what it does, in fact, is make us more capable of achieving greater strength, having safer borders, and it creates a new history of moral authority. It makes us adults.
Make no mistake, pride in American freedom is a good thing. It’s the only game in town if we are to live a just, happy and peaceful existence. It is the thing we should live within, aspire to uphold and extend to those who live without that hope.
The mistake Mitt, and many others, make is that freedom is not perfect in and of itself. It’s a perfect idea, but not a reality without risks, even drawbacks. Ironically, prejudice thrives as fertilely as tolerance within the context of freedom. Freedom of speech offers bigotry a voice and the KKK, the Aryan Nations and Neo-Nazi’s have a forum from which to recruit and it’s why their expressions of hatred continue to be woven into the fabric of our history.
Individual freedom can render us less secure, as we do not, and cannot in its realization, require proof of citizenship and state our intentions at every bridge and crossing.
The cost of freedom is more than the blood shed by our brave military in its defense overseas, it is also the challenges it presents in that pursuit of liberty, civil rights, justice, truth, tolerance and compassion abroad and at home. When Mitt Romney says, “I will never apologize for America” he is saying “I will never pursue an honest foreign policy.”
He would condemn us to the very constructs that have made us less secure and more vulnerable to attacks born from hatred; policies that make freedom ring, not from truth and justice, but from the ringing in our ears when bellowing politicians fan the flames of nationalism into a pyre that alienates America from her own promise.