Friday, August 10, 2018

America the...Ugly?

Friends, my latest article addresses one of the least likeable traits of leftists: their loathing for America, the country that nourishes and protects them and guarantees their liberties.  Why do so many liberals hate America?  Why do so many of those who don't hate America nevertheless love it conditionally, and sometimes only when it gives them what they want?  Read on, and see if you agree with my analysis...

Why Do So Many Leftists Reject America?

The United States of America is, among many other things, a nation, and the Left has long made clear its contempt for nationalism, patriotism, and other relics of what it considers to be humanity's benighted “tribal” past. It is partly for this broad ideological reason that many liberals reject the symbols of America – the Stars and Stripes, the pledge of allegiance, the Constitution, or a statue of George Washington, for instance. 

Nationalism is not the only reason, however. Leftists also believe that America is not merely a nation, but a bad nation – a nation defined by oppression, which liberals see everywhere. It is telling that, as racism and sexism have ebbed in this country, by any objective measure, the Left nonetheless perceives an increase in prejudice and discrimination. No wonder, then, that many liberals feel justified in rejecting the most popular symbols of America. They have concluded that ours is a country beyond redemption. The election of Donald Trump as president confirms them in this belief.

The result has been a cratering of liberal patriotism: the gap between the percentage of Republicans and Democrats who are “extremely proud” to be Americans has ballooned to 42 points (74% compared to 32%) in 2018. Just 23% of self-described liberals are “extremely proud” of this country. (Incidentally, even during the Obama years, conservatives and Republicans were more patriotic than liberals and Democrats.)

Consider the anecdotal evidence as well: recently a government-funded charter school in Atlanta abandoned the pledge of allegiance in deference to the negative “emotions” it evokes in students and parents. A local elected official in Connecticut has begun to kneel during the pledge of allegiance, in imitation of the protests that recently swept through the world of professional sports. On Thursday we witnessed a renewal of those protests by NFL players, who seem indifferent to the lasting damage they are inflicting on “America's game”. Meanwhile, churches, municipal parks, schools, and universities are reconsidering their public memorials not only to Confederate heroes, but to Founding Fathers like Washington and Jefferson. The New York Times published an article on Thursday claiming that the U.S. Constitution is an “outdated relic” and that “the subversion of democracy was the explicit intent of the Constitution's framers.” The American flag was recently desecrated at a demonstration in support of firebrand Congresswoman and Trump-hater Maxine Waters. The much-reviled “War on Christmas” is being replaced by a “War on America”, or so it seems.

One of the most telling pieces of evidence that anti-American sentiment is viewed as legitimate on the Left is the oft-repeated threat by liberal celebrities, and even ordinary Democrats, prior to November 2016 that they would leave the U.S. if it elected Donald Trump as president. Virtually none of them were foolish enough to follow through, of course, but the mere fact that they would give voice to such ideas is a testament to their lack of faith in American democracy, the American people, and the American spirit. Quite a few leftists are more loyal and devoted to their cherished ideals of political correctness and creeping socialism than they are to the United States of America as a nation and as a people. That is a sad thing to have to say about one's fellow countrymen, but it is inescapably true.

The last time that the symbols and basic institutions of America were under such sustained assault was during the Johnson and Nixon years, when the U.S. public was sharply divided by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights era. The Left succeeded in ushering President Nixon out of office, yes, but it didn't succeed in pulling the wool over the American people's eyes. 

Americans saw every night on their television screens confirmation of the extremism, spitefulness, and anti-American apostasy of left-wing activists. In those days, as is the case now, liberal rage boiled over and produced criminality and violence, usually on a small scale, but sometimes in the form of mass protests, riots, and terrorism. 

The result was predictable: the American people recoiled. They increasingly turned to the right, to the voices of patriotism and “law and order”, and to the Republican Party, which flourished and achieved its greatest electoral successes since the 1920s in the ensuing decades. The ultimate product of the leftist descent into anti-Americanism and radicalism was therefore the election of President Ronald Reagan, a principled conservative, in 1980.

One has to wonder whether the American people's response to the stridency, extremism, and disloyalty of the modern Left will be the same as it was in the 1970s and 80s. President Trump says that the 2018 midterm elections will bring a “red wave,” and Americans will definitively reject liberals' hysterical Trump-hatred, their obsession with impeachment, their advocacy of open borders, their dalliance with socialism, their ill-considered embrace of identity politics and political correctness, and, perhaps most of all, their contempt for America itself.

The talking heads guffaw, but history suggests that Trump may be right.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker program on WLEA 1480.


  1. Dr. Waddy: In my opinion: Leftist disdain for the symbols of Americans' gratitude for the incalculable good fortune of having been born in this materially prosperous nation are disingenuous. Whenever they attain to the power to do so they readily embrace organizational embodiements of their quickly proven foundationless convictions. I.E., they force totalitarian governments on those human enough to see in their concrete measures profound inhumanity.

    The doctrinally required closemindedness of the left prevents them from considering the evils perpetrated by all governments and societies in history and necessarily comparing among them the degree of wrong and the demonstrated willingness of some nations to make sincere and painful changes to attempt to mitigate, albeit perhaps inadequately, these undoubted injustices. More later.

  2. Dr. Waddy: Leftists have "developed" their contempt into an instinct which they would be hard put to explain, just as so many of them cannot define the terms "racism" and "sexism".

    Those who make war on their country with vindictive relish ought to be visited one night by the ghost of the totalitarian past and treated to edifying panoramas of crematoria and Gulag bound trains.

    I fully agree with you that the viciousness of the left's assault on our country's fundamentals is as intense as it was in the '60's. The antipathy between the opposing sides evokes the 1850's too.

    To once again use Civil War I analogies: we may have won our Gettysburg in 2016 but have yet to seal the deal as did Grant and Sherman in 1864. In President Trump, the real America may have found one with the common sense and courage displayed by by those two. We may still have to endure harrowing crucibles like the Wilderness and Cold Harbor but I think our America will survive.

  3. Jack, I certainly agree that 2016 was a significant battle, but the outcome of the "war" is still pending.

    I suppose leftists would say, in answer to your point that they should contemplate the excesses of past leftist regimes, that you and I should do the same re: right-wing regimes, and they would not be without a point. But perhaps this is why you and I call ourselves "conservatives": our goal is not to remake society along utopian lines, and slaughter those who stand in the way. We aim instead to PRESERVE the foundation of values and beliefs that Western Civilization has stood upon for millenia, and which the Left would carelessly throw away... And, once a social order is swept aside, constructing something truly serviceable to replace it is easier said than done!