Overthrow the Church of Leftist Guilt

For the past couple of decades, Leftists have used guilt masterfully to convince Americans to vote against the interests of their country. They set forward some lofty and idealistic vision of what justice in America should be, typically using language generic enough to be palatable to both sides. Then they focus on all of the ways we have fallen short of this goal, ignoring the fact that we have gotten much closer than almost any other country or culture in history. And then they offer an opportunity for penance and salvation—keep voting for them and you will continue to be absolved of your sins.

But Democrats still need the vague feel-good vision of America to appeal to voters’ patriotism—it’s hard to run a country that you hate. And so they use aspirational language effectively to campaign while hiding their overwhelming disgust with the nation. They have never been proud of America. They are only proud of what America could be if everyone capitulated to their demands.

Mainstream liberals do not advertise this fact loudly, but they don’t hide it, either. John Kerry chose the slogan Let America be America Again for his presidential campaign—a phrase from a Langston Hughes poem that describes an idealized America, laments that it’s never fulfilled these lofty goals, and finally admits that “America never was America” to him. Michelle Obama famously remarked, during her husband’s first presidential campaign, that it was the first time that she was proud of her country. And, of course, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—a possible contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—said this week, “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.”

Exploring the Sacraments
Democrats have surmised correctly that most people in this country are proud to be American and they won’t commit political suicide to challenge that view. But they haven’t yet realized that that we aren’t proud of America purely for the lofty ideals written in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,and certainly not as those are interpreted by them.

After all, the Soviet Union’s constitution had some beautiful language about freedom of expression and the press, and we all know how that turned out—perhaps excluding Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Freedom is not cheap. But we successfully have secured it for a large majority of our population for a large majority of our history. And while we do not have a perfect track record, it is a hell of a lot better than that of most of the rest of the world. We keep improving. Admitting past failures does not require subjugating yourself to the future whims of whatever group makes you feel the guiltiest.

Yet many metropolitan Americans still join the church of the Left. They go to confession to seek absolution for their privilege. They offer penance in the voting booth. And they decry the heathens in the rest of the country who want America to be strong for the benefits of the people in this country. Having performed the necessary sacraments, their guilt is assuaged and they wash their hands of the negative outcomes of their policies—even when it hurts the very communities and countries they supposedly are trying to help.

Even many neoconservatives join the church—or perhaps have never left it. They believe that it is America’s duty to uphold its lofty ideals across the globe and they are willing to spend our country’s lives and treasure to do it. They argue that creating a new world order with all the right words and institutions will help America in the long run.

But so far, the people who have been most helped by this global effort have been those running large corporations that have access to cheap and unregulated labor. And given the rate of corporate inversions, the prevalence of tax shelters, and the lack of national loyalty at these elite global corporations, most Americans will never benefit from their success.

What Makes “MAGA” Perfect
Anyone looking to make the world a better place need not look past America’s borders. There are plenty of opportunities to lift people out of poverty right in our backyard.

Make America Great Again was the perfect slogan. The use of the word America casually swept aside decades of political correctness. The use of the term Great boldly asserted that greatness is something that we should strive for. And the use of Again forced the Left simultaneously to argue that America was already great and that it had never been great—this last, in particular, is driving them crazy.

Most Americans want America to be great. They want America to be wealthy and free. And while they may want the rest of the world to be great, wealthy, and free, they believe the national government’s priority should be to secure these blessings for American citizens first and foremost. Nothing wrong with that. We expect (or should expect) every individual, community, and country to act in their own interest. We are no exception.

We should not be bullied by the embarrassed and penitent metropolitan congregation that believes that America is inherently flawed and expects the rest of the country to pick up the tab for our sins. We must boldly and unabashedly advocate our interests.

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Photo Credit: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

About Karl Notturno

Karl Notturno is a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness in addition to being an entrepreneur, musician, and writer. He recently graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history. He can be found on Twitter @karlnotturno.

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