Sunday, November 30, 2008

Love of Country and Defending Liberty

Okay. The holidays are over. No more fun.

This guy is the stuff of which victorious fighting forces are made. He is a Navy SEAL, wounded in Iraq and eager to return to duty. This comes from "Backfive," an interesting outfit.

My question for you is this. What kind of society produces this kind of man? (Just an aside: the placard doesn't explicitly say, but this is clearly a man. No woman would say these things. SEALS are necessarily men.) What are we preserving in our society that encourages this sort of courage, self-discipline, love of country, and self-denial? Or are we only spreading the sort of soil that produces people who stampede over Wal-Mart employees, killing them in our attempts to be first at the deeply discounted flat screen televisions?

In a chaotic world, liberty demands that some brave, patriotic souls sacrifice themselves for others. Men like that do not spring from nothing. Notice that this patriot does what he does because his heart has been formed in a certain way. He has particular "loves." He loves his job. Fine. Soldiers love to fight. Be he goes on. "The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love." It's not Iraq that he loves. He loves the United States of America. Of course, he loves his family ("people I love"), but he also loves his country, not just because it is his but because it is a land of liberty. It is a country uniquely committed to the self-evident truths "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and] that among these are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." No doubt he has a sober appreciation for this land. Surely he loves America "on balance," despite her vices and shortcomings. After all, he grew up here and, when he's not fighting, he lives here. But mature love is like that.

The question for us as the citizens whose liberty he is defending is this. How long can a country remain free when, from the public schools to our elite universities and from the movies to the news media, we are despising our country, its moral foundations, its most noble founders, and its greatest accomplishments? What happens to a country that no longer believes in itself?

This question becomes practical when citizens are called upon to elect school boards and Presidents. As for the current President-elect, let's hope that what he learned in church didn't stick with him, or that his religion doesn't affect the way he governs, or that he doesn't actually hate his country the way his wife Michelle does.

No comments: