Newsline

Newsline , Society

Shining City on a Hill: Embracing American History

Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2023
|
by Ben Solis
|
48 Comments
|
Print

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

american flag against countryside scene

Just 39 percent of Americans now say they are “extremely proud” of their nationality, a stunning 52 percent drop from 2004. The best chance of reversing this alarming trend is to embrace what has always inspired patriotism – telling the truth about America’s proud history.

The decline of national pride in America is a decades-long trend, but one major inflection point seems to be the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The late Rush Limbaugh once remarked that while Ronald Reagan viewed the United States as a “shining city on a hill,” Obama “portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night in a corner of America that’s very obscure.”

“He’s constantly telling America that bad times are ahead,” Limbaugh continued. For many, it seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Obama’s pessimism about the country and rejection of American Exceptionalism spread beyond the country’s borders. One former Italian diplomat who served during Obama’s presidency told this author that, from the outside, Obama’s tenure seemed to be an “attack” on “American traditional culture.”

“It looked like the White House wanted to humiliate and demean Americans,” he said. “It was hard to watch.”

Another current European diplomat said on the condition of anonymity that they saw Obama’s policies as the legal manifestation of sixties radical Bill Ayers (who was allegedly a mentor of Obama’s at the University of Chicago) stomping on the American Flag.

Obama was especially hostile toward America’s Christian heritage. From small slights like his pointed omission of the word “Creator” from a quotation of the Declaration of Independence at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Gala in 2010 to his ahistorical denunciation of Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2015, Obama sought to undermine this core foundation of America’s identity.

This author spoke at length to eminent historian Dr. Wilfred McClay, currently of Hillsdale College, about both the importance of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and how to restore patriotism in public life.

McClay in 2019 authored The Land of Hope, an authoritative source on American history which, unlike other modern textbooks, explores the good and bad of American history, from the first nomads crossing the Bering Land Bridge to the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

McClay focuses especially on the importance of faith in the early days of the American experiment, and how religious thinking framed the way the founders viewed their new nation.

On the subject of restoring a sense of patriotism in the American people today, Professor McClay said the education system must do a better job of instilling an interest and fondness for America’s past.

“A certain student character makes him or her more likely to want to dive into an exploration of America’s past,” the professor said. “Because the past is so much of what we are and what we have to be grateful for.”

McClay also shared a story about when he taught at Tulane University in New Orleans. When some students said they were unexcited about the American Flag, one girl, a veteran in her 20s, responded: “You do not understand what that flag there represents.”

McClay reflected that military families have a unique ability to grasp the significance of American history because they are willing to sacrifice everything for the ideals upon which the United States was founded. “They are accustomed to the idea that people in the real world give their lives for the country’s sake. Even if they have not lost their life, they could have,” he said.

An understanding of American history also helps people see why certain institutions are so important in the country today, McClay emphasized.

As one example, he pointed to the Mayflower Compact, a revolution in self-government that continues to influence our country’s legal system today. According to the document, the inhabitants of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies agreed to “have a covenant with one another and God” – not a king or monarch. The idea that certain rights are “inalienable” and are bestowed by God alone would become a defining feature of the American experiment in self-government two centuries later.

This fact alone, McClay says, that America’s founders ruled out a hereditary monarchy in favor of a bold venture in self-government that has resulted in the oldest still-active constitution in the world, is remarkable.

American history is also a story of individualism and self-reliance, something that is again unique to this country. “’Mind your own business’ is very American,” McClay said. “We see ourselves as sufficient, but having one another to help out when it is needed.” People, in other words, have the freedom to act as they wish and perform virtuous deeds, as opposed to a nanny state.

The failure of the American education system to teach this value – and in particular the fondness of left-wing academics for entitlements and government handouts – has eroded this core tenet of the American identity, and thus pride in the country.

But despite the dire state of American culture today, McClay emphasized that American history is still the shining city on a hill that Reagan envisioned.

“Just a few years ago, protestors in Hong Kong held the Declaration of Independence high,” he said. It was a clear sign that the story of America’s founding was still a source for hope for oppressed peoples around the world.

Meanwhile, young people in the United States seem to have forgotten most of this history. “We cannot be obsessed with our faults,” McClay said. “We must find a way beyond being condescending of the past, which is one of our worst sins.”

McClay also said he tries to impart to his students how unique America’s history is. He notes that following their revolution, the French replaced the American notion that people are endowed by their “Creator” with certain inalienable rights with the idea that “the nation” bestows rights on its people.

This is another foundational element of the American government and national identity – that certain rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are affirmed by God and God alone, and any government or law which seeks to limit those rights is by definition illegitimate. “It is one of the most glorious aspects of American history,” McClay stresses.

He tells his students that they must be proud and grateful for their heritage in spite of its shortcomings. “You have complaints, fine, so do I,” he says to them, adding that it is their role to enhance American greatness. “I always urge them, do not neglect a glorious past legacy.”

Despite the decline in patriotism seen in America today, McClay is optimistic for the future. “It will be morning in America again,” he says with a smile.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Action Logo

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
48 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
9 months ago

Very important article Mr. Solis , Well Done ! In the spirit of God Bless America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. There are many things that could be quoted from American history that could defend the American spirit — I will go with the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence here — ” And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor. ” The facts speak for themselves is a time honored expression, and it makes sense, history shows what happened — and when presented honestly who was involved , what was the purpose, and how matters were resolved . What is great to consider about the United States of America is the idea of self – determination, and it should be added the right to develop individuality. Robert B. Charles just wrote an excellent article on AMAC – Newsline a few days ago about the value of Individuality. The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution provided the foundation for many great things that help to insure that Truth , Liberty , and Hope are respected and practiced , that the betterment of life can be achieved . What you wrote here Ben is very inspiring, it is appreciated , for sure. I reckon that is enough said for now , except for saying I do believe everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to keep this Country on the right course, and respect for the will of God will be part of that , with thoughts about the value of the principles of Faith, Family and Freedom.

Doreen
Doreen
9 months ago

Thank you for this article! I have been a bit down on our country because of all the terrible things that are happening. Years ago I wanted to display our flag, but in recent years the desire has waned. But this article has encouraged me to look to the history of our country and it’s greatness, rather than the decline of the present. Thanks again!

Julie????
Julie????
9 months ago

I observed that about Obummer from the beginning. How sad to have not been able to support him. Rush was right. If Obummer succeeded, America would pay and pay dearly. Looks like we’re long down that path—as he is likely “running things” as we speak. I wept when he was re-elected, and he’s still at it. Such damage—ugh.

Donna
Donna
9 months ago

The democrat party attempts to usurp God’s authority and replace it with government.

Michael
Michael
9 months ago

The biggest mistake in our history was the election of B.O. the manchurin candidate whom was financed and backed by George Soros. Not to sure his election was even legal!

Willie
Willie
9 months ago

Democrats are evil and come from bad places.

Walter Knapp
Walter Knapp
9 months ago

America is more than our history. It is a diverse population of many people that are not sure who they are. Are they liberals conservatives or communists? It seems we must be one extreme or the other. Morally corrupt is our society since we moved away from God.
A true American will be loyal to the country, work hard and always take care of family and neighbors. But today our system has a large percentage of the population lining up for the great give away! Why work if you get free money, food and medical. No wonder everyone wants to come here.

Nanvy Goebel
Nanvy Goebel
9 months ago

What’s to be proud of now? I can only be proud of those people still trying to save America. Most everyone still doesn’t care that GEB, Walmart, Kols etc don’t sell anything made in America.

Steven
Steven
9 months ago

Obama and please do not for one minute forget his wife Michelle we’re but a huge leap forward to execute the existing destruction of America and it’s founding. Many left wing Presidents along with neoconservatives Republican and hard left Democrat politicians came before to set the direction toward Communism, Fascism, etc.. all of them fleeced the American Citizen taxpayer to make themselves rich and to finance the demise of American culture, Language and borders…

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
9 months ago

Obama, deserted by both his black father and white mother, was quite hypocritical criticizing his wealthy white grandparents. Had they not raised him, he would have gone NOWHERE; yet, he always acted racist towards whites!
Biden, an avowed racist for years, plays the “race card’ and pretends that he loves blacks! Too bad that many blacks fall for this “shuck and jive.”

Louis
Louis
9 months ago

Obama was and is still the epitome of evil. He certainly didn’t hide his dislike for this country and neither did Mike. Unfortunately it seems he is still pulling the strings in the demoncrat party.

Lover of America and GOD!
Lover of America and GOD!
9 months ago

why didn’t more people recognize this before they voted him in for a 2nd term??? Maybe it was a _______ just as Biden being elected was…. FAKE!

John
John
9 months ago

Just because the government is corrupt doesn’t mean the country is bad. The country and what it stands for is still good. It just means the corruption desperately needs to be cleaned out! Just like the gospel of Christ is true. Just because imperfect mortal humans are easily corrupted and do horrible things doesn’t make the gospel bad it shows that humans can and are doing bad things. Doesn’t even mean most are doing bad things. Just means the visual people have lost their way. The top crust have let greed, power, arrogance run their show. Time for a major cleanout and start to realize what this country was supposed to be from the beginning and give the rest of the world that same chance of a free Constitutional Republic for all!

Thinking
Thinking
9 months ago

That morning is a long way off. Ever since O became president America has been slowly becoming a nation without morals. They are working on doing away with the white race by mixing the races and bringing in more colored people illegally. Take away the assets of the middle class. Enriching the rich and killing off the young and the old and making the rest weak and ill so they will die off as well. All in the name of climate change that only seems to be occurring in the free world and communist countries keep on polluting.
Look what they are doing to Trump. There court cases hold no water. But they get him with paid DA’s and judges and their two part justice system, then it is only a small step to get to you.

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

39% that probably is the correct number of Americans The rest is a motley crew from every hell hole on this earth Legal or illegal They came for the money not to build a better life for them and their families but to turn the country into the same hell hole they came from No intention to be one with the country to become truly American and live and let live Recipe for disaster it’s working Chaos violence disturbance That is the new American To think that Irish or Polack were smirked at Ha

Donna
Donna
9 months ago

AMAC do you have the ability to find the source of these useless bot/troll comments and prevent them?

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
9 months ago

??? Only 39% of Americans are extremely proud of their country? What country would the other 61% want us to emulate?
I am genuinely, interested in what the detractors think about America. I don’t think there is a citizen of ANY country that couldn’t find this, or that problem with their government. It’s really a matter of weighing the pro and cons when considering the moral standing of one’s country.
For those who might point to another country as being better than America, I would suggest that they emigrate to that country. I would go to your departure terminal with tears in my eyes, ……… tears of joy! There are over 332-million citizens in America, not counting the millions of illegal aliens. The last thing this country needs is a person who admires another country more than the United States.
On a personal note, Like Lou Gehrig said, I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world to have been born in America. There isn’t another country that I would rather be in. Yeah, I’m a recalcitrant flag waver for the good old U.S.A. ….. But hey, that’s just me.

Larry D Mordica
Larry D Mordica
9 months ago

You know today a majority of Americans do not understand what our flag stands for!!!!! After I became a C5 loadmaster I was required to go to combat survival school . I chose to go in the summer due to the stories I heard about going in the winter, This is some of the most realistic training I ever had !!! First week was classroom , next 2 weeks was out living off the land the last three days was POW camp The only thing I will say is that the last formation they called us to , My thoughts were they want us to salute their flag! I had already decided I would rather go to the hot box rather than salute their flag !!!!When we turned around there was not a dry eye in the group!!!!!!

Andre Bixby
Andre Bixby
9 months ago

Break a countries pride and a nation will fall. (author unknown)

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

Punkydoodle and his immense vocabulary who HATES AMERICA

johnh
johnh
9 months ago

One of the goals of Communism in 1950s is to control the news media. It will be one of the saddest days in American history when we start accepting Facebook, Twitter, Truth Social, tiktok, , etc. as the truth and do not accept our national news networks. How many times have you heard the term FAKE NEWS in the last few years & sometimes claiming that even after they are caught on camera/microphone as the person that said that.

johnh
johnh
9 months ago

I am one of the Americans that is extremely proud of my nationality & appreciate the freedoms that we have available to us. Keep America great & quit trying to change it to something other than a Republic.

Myrna
Myrna
9 months ago

President Eisenhower is remembered for the addition to the pledge of allegiance “one nation under God”. What a detraction from education — the pledge is seldom said or heard today.

Sindal19
Sindal19
9 months ago

Obama is a Muslim, they hate every thing that is not Muslim!

gin
gin
9 months ago

I believe God wanted this country to get out the word that a Savior had come. Instead we gave the world alcohol, Hollywood, and a lot of other bad ways to live.

Garyk
Garyk
9 months ago

Very enjoyable article that lends a positive light to a difficult time in our history.
God Given Rights – Never Surrender them.
Wake up America, it’s time for Our Citizens to save Our Country!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
9 months ago

You like it because you toss salads.

Jack
Jack
9 months ago

Amac, Block this vomit with odour of with Demorats. Remove this trash, we will deal with them in the appropriate way. This IP is registered.

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

Hey Punkydoodle I’ve decided to rename you CLARABELLE because you’re just like the CLOWN he was! See, after your derogatory comments about the “old” it proves you’re just a internet scrolling 15 year old brainwashed Communist Indoctrinated punk! Now go get ready for school and remember to change your underwear!

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

For sure, a make believe cartoon character who HATES AMERICA!

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

Punkydoodle, the 15 year old spews his HATE AMERICA rant. Now don’t forget to change your diaper before going back to school!

Martiemae
Martiemae
9 months ago

You are so pathetic, get a job and go get counseling.

John Shipway
John Shipway
9 months ago

“American exceptionalism”? Seriously? The country as the founders envisioned it died in 1865 when “Saint” Lincoln ended the “Republic” part of the entire “Democratic Republic ideal we had a revolution to establish. As for history showcasing “American Exceptionalism”, look at how many people believe our Civil War was fought to free the slaves. Hardly when several Union States were slave states all the way up to the end of the conflict. And someone PLEASE take the time to read what the real “Honest Abe” wrote and believed about “the negro” and ask yourself why the northern powers that be didn’t want the coming western states to be slave states. It had nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with disallowing the presence of any black people in those western states.
Fast forward into the 20th century where we have been propagandized into believing the US almost single handidly won both world wars. In the first we didnt arrive until nearly the end of a war fought over nothing. In the second world war we entered only after profiteering off both sides of the war, selling arms and munitions to both Allied and Axis powers and physically entering the war only after the end was set in stone. Ever wonder why the old USSR was responsible for over 70% of NAZI casualties and lost between 28 and 50 million soldiers in that conflict where the US lost about 400,000….in BOTH theaters. Ever look into something called “The McCullom Memorandum”? Makes ya wonder about who started the war with Japan and why and no, it had NOTHING to do with any “surprise” at Pearl Harbor. Later we had losses in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and soon, Ukraine all conflicts “we” got involved with for a misguided notion of being the worlds policeman and then simply for financial gain ever fueling what President Eisenhower warned us about…….the Military Industrial Complex. Who is going to SELL new munitions to NATO now that our European slave states have been ordered to empty their armament lockers and turn it all over for Russia to destroy on the Ukraine steppe in a conflict the US started with the coup it funded in Ukraine back in 2014
Believe NOTHING you read in popular history. Do some research and find the truth and see how dim that “shining city on a hill” really is and has been for over 150 years now.

Donald Trump
President Joe Biden departs after speaking at the NAACP Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mark Laws
Big Bend, Wisconsin, USA - Jan 22 2024: Kamala Harris delivering remarks at a political event

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

48
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games