Recently, the ongoing political turmoil has included accusations of un-American or unpatriotic behavior. Jesse Watters of Fox News, when commenting on the U.S. women’s soccer team, stated, “If you go out and you disparage the president, you act in unpatriotic ways.” Supporters of the president, while criticizing the four rookie congresswomen in “The Squad,” have said that their attacking President Trump and their disparagement of the U.S. is un-American.
The question must be asked, “What makes behavior unpatriotic or un-American?” Most Americans, if asked to provide an example of a patriot, would mention the signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington, or perhaps, Nathan Hale. The signers challenged the rightful government (being King George III and the British Parliament), Washington took up arms against the legitimate ruler and Nathan Hale spied to support the overthrow of the British colonial authority. Had the revolution failed, Benedict Arnold would have been the patriot.
If denigrating the president or the branches of the government is un-American, what should be done with a politician who stated the following:
- “He has been a disaster as a president. He will go down as one of the worst presidents in the history of our country. It is a mess.”
- “If elected I might fire some of the top generals now running the military.”
- “The president is the most ignorant president in our history.”
- “We need to make our government honest again.”
These statements were made by Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
Perhaps the root cause of accusations of being un-American is a fear of immigrants. Many white Americans see new immigrants as changing the American culture.
It might be useful to recall the words of Ronald Reagan about immigrants in his farewell message of January 1989. “This I believe is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because unique among nations, we draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world …Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge; always leading the world to the next frontier.”