America is an ongoing experiment, one that will perhaps never be perfected. That we continue to try in honest give and take — the antithesis of cancel culture — is to our benefit and credit. Keep this in mind now that the fireworks are over, and the parades have once again concluded.
Our chief export is ideas. It always has been. Since its founding almost 250 years ago, the American idea of individual rights and our concept of liberty have spread, becoming rallying points for the aspirational and the oppressed around the globe.
Now, these ideas are under attack from all sides. Advocates of group identity would subordinate our individuality and replace traditional norms regarding home and family through judicial fiat, seeking to tick the boxes on an agenda for social reorganization that threaten the American idyll.
What is on the table now — the teaching of critical race theory, the demands to defund law enforcement, the erasure of historical figures from our past — truly are the things of an Orwellian nightmare. Some would, if they had the means and opportunity, take this great nation down the path forged by Mao Zedong during the cultural revolution. Their motives are already clear.
There’s too much at stake to ignore what is going on in hopes that it is all merely a fad that will go away. We are citizens, endowed by our common Creator with certain unalienable rights. That idea was radical when Thomas Jefferson put it to paper in 1776 and seems equally radical today. Too many, it seems now, look to the state or to the courts to invent rights they like and take away those they do not.
This is America. Every life matters. We are a nation composed of communities of common interests and geographic linkage. We are united — at least we should be — and sovereign. The government works for us and not the other way around. This is the legacy we received from Washington and Adams and Jefferson and Hamilton and others who spent lifetimes studying the perils of tyranny.
Some of the loudest voices on the scene today reject that gift. They seek equity instead of equality. This is un-American. Outcomes are not guaranteed. Only opportunity should be. We are equal in our humanity and under law but not in our circumstances but because we are both an upwardly and downwardly mobile society, we have it within our power to change our circumstances for the better or the worse.
Indeed, we have the freedom to fail — just as we have the freedom to succeed in ways unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
“Eat the Rich” is a slogan that threatens to become a reality of sorts. We must remember our lives are in our own hands, that we are masters of our fate, not subject to the whims of a British King, a Soviet oligarchy, an Iranian theocracy, or the caprices of Somali warlords. In creating this nation, the founders promised us a more perfect union, not paradise. Our imperfections, no matter how grievous, are insufficient excuses to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start again. Those in academia, the media, and politics who are leading the charge to do just that are doing the rest of us a disservice by trying to turn brother against brother. Their efforts should be resisted proudly and loudly rather than embraced.