Back in 1984, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the U.S.A. as an indictment of the Reagan revolution (“Went down to see my V.A. man/He said ‘Son, don’t you understand’”). Ignoring the Boss’s hip-deep irony, Americans adopted this unlikely anthem, drowning out the liberals who scoffed, “You rubes, it’s not a patriotic song!”
Two decades later, liberals are at it again. No sooner had Judge Karlton of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court ruled that saying the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was unconstitutional than liberals were baiting angry conservatives, “You rubes, your pledge was written by a socialist, and ‘under God’ was added in 1954!”
Some have taken the bait, suggesting that maybe “under God” version is new and therefore less worthy of being conserved, or that the implied “under government” message itself is even worse. Gee, thanks guys.
Personally, I don’t care if the Pledge was written in crayon by a drunken one-legged Trotskyite. Or even Bruce Springsteen. I love God and am glad He’s in the Pledge, as do most Americans.
The enemies of America, whether wagging fingers on al-Jazeera or rolling joints in Berkeley, are probably amazed at their luck with such a ruling. Patriotism, they know, has a way of messing up their agenda.
Consider: When Flight 93 turned back towards Washington on September 11, 2001 the passengers knew from cell calls that they were as good as dead. But rather than sit there, they matched fists against box cutters to deny their hijackers a shot at a by-then empty White House.
If common Americans can muster that kind of sacrifice for a symbol, why can’t conservatives make the bigger case about protecting a patriotic ritual when it comes under enemy attack?
When the left, in a time of war, seeks to demoralize Americans by advocating the wholesale destruction of our nation’s signs, symbols, and rituals, they are abetting our enemies. This makes the finer points of their “argument” for a particular version of the Pledge moot.
Kierkegaard was amazed that his polemics against the church shook the faith of some believers. The incredulous philosopher observed that if his words were enough to shake their belief, they had no business calling themselves Christians in the first place.
Part of the problem is that the people doing serious damage to the Pledge don’t seem terribly serious. Look closely at a Mohammed Atta and you can see the face of evil. No surprise there. But look closely at a Michael Newdow and you see, well, Bozo the Clown. I mean, how much harm could a guy like that do?
There will always be liberals who lurk for years for the right moment to pop up like a jack-in-the-box and knock a tiny chip out of a country they hate. These are the sleeper cells of liberalism.
And if you don’t understand what these people can do to America, one day you might wake up to find the nation picked clean of all distinguishing signs, symbols, and rituals. You may not recognize it.
Son, don’t you understand?