Patriotism is back Essay

* It has taken a long time to return, but now patriotism is back.It’s a truly wonderful thing to see that Americans arerediscovering how to express their love for this great nation. The mostencouraging aspect of this new wave of patriotism is the fact that muchof this rejuvenated national pride is coming from the 18 to 30-year-oldage group. Just think, it wasn’t long ago that many of our young adultswere still rejecting the so-called hypocrisy and sterile materialism ofAmerica. They had been taught by guilt-ridden academics to believe thatnearly all of the world’s troubles (everything from the infantmortality rate in the third world to every war on every part of theplanet) was somehow the result of conspiracies between thisnation’s major corporations and our government. Well, America’s young and not so young adults have grown tiredof this false guilt trip.

They have taken a fresh new look at the worldand realized that the United States is not the sinister evil empire thatthey were led to believe. In fact, many of these Americans arediscovering for the first time that we are a pretty decent people andthat our positive influence on the world community has far outweighedany negative. However, while many of our fellow citizens have had to rediscovertheir patriotism, there is one group that seems to have never lost itand that group is America’s gun owners. It appears that gun ownersand hunters, in general, are among the most patriotic citizens around.

In the not too distant past when the patriotism of the average personwas dragging, one could usually find some relief by visiting the localgun club, firing range or hunting association. I’m not entirelysure as to why hunters and those involved in the shooting sports arealways so bullish on America, but I can venture what I believe is a goodguess. Firearms, in addition to being tools of self-defense and sport,are also symbols. They symbolize self-reliance, independence,individualism, and because of the way that our country had to fight forits freedom, they literally represent liberty in its most basic context.Therefore, those citizens among us who maintain a steadfast devotion tothose fundamental virtues responsible for the creation of the greatestbastion of individual liberty in the history of civilization are goingto be attracted to anything that symbolizes those virtues. On the other hand, this concept of guns, as symbols, seems to alsoexplain why so many liberal anti-gunners believe as they do. The basicprinciples that the true liberal mind embraces are nearly the polaropposites of the fundamental American virtues mentioned in the precedingparagraph.

The liberal does not believe in self-reliance; he insteadwould rather have the population always looking to the government forsupport and solutions. Independence is also something that the liberalmentality cannot tolerate, because by definition being independent meansbeing free to choose. Since the liberal elite always know what is bestfor us, they have never been hesitant to push for legislation that willnarrow our choices down to only those that are consistent with theliberal’s prevailing social agenda. The remaining fundamentalAmerican virtue of individualism is particularly repugnant to theorthodox liberal. To the liberal, there is no longer any such thing as an individual,and consequently, no such thing as individual freedom. The liberal canonly recognize so-called group rights. To the elitist mind, there is nosuch thing as a particular man, there are only men, and likewise no suchthing as a particular woman, only women.

A nation of individuals cannotbe tightly controlled. But, in a society where people are dealt withonly on the basis of some type of group identification (sex, race,national origin, etc.), it becomes much easier for social engineers tocontrol the future.

As you can see, firearms symbolize the very things that standbetween this country’s liberal elite and the absolute power thatthey long for. So, of course, they hate guns and this is why the cryfor more gun control comes almost entirely out of the mouths of liberalpoliticians, bureaucrats and academics. This current wave of patriotism, however, represents more to gunowners than just simply a refreshing reaffirmation of America’sgreatness. America’s firearms fraternity must realize that thispositive climate is also an opportunity to be taken advantage of,because support for more gun control usually drops sharply duringperiods of heightened patriotism. Now is the time to take the offensiveand undo the damage that the anti-gunners have inflicted upon us duringmore psychologically depressed periods.

Because overt patriotism soadversely affects their cause, you can expect the gun control crowd todenounce it with the same fanatic fervor that compels them to want totake away our guns. Liberals in general are also counterattackingagainst what they see as a popular repudiation of their”enlightened” social agenda. Evidence of this liberal counterattack can be seen and heard as itis now flowing freely from the media. This country’s elite, and ofcourse, predominantly liberal journalists are committed to raining onyour patriotic parade.

For example, did you enjoy watching the OlympicGames in Los Angeles? Did it feel good to see American athletes win allof those medals? Did you feel proud, perhaps even patriotic, as aresult? Well, if your love of country did get a shot in the arm becauseof America’s victories in the Olympics, you really should now beashamed of yourself! That’s right; according to a Mr. James L.Huffman, such feelings of chauvinism are unworthy of us. Who is thisMr. Huffman? Why, he is an associate professor of history at WittenbergUniversity in Springfield, Ohio. Mr. Huffman recently returned to the United States after spending ayear in Tokyo.

It appears that Mr. Huffman, upon his return, wasappalled to find Americans indulging in a newfound patriotism. Thisacademic was apparently so upset that he felt compelled to scold us forour childish behavior. Mr. Huffman made his dissatisfaction known in aneditorial that appeared in the Houston Chronicle on September 7th, 1984,on page 21 of section 1.

The following quotes are from Mr.Huffman’s editorial. “On returning to the United States aftera year’s absence, I am troubled by the unabashed, unreflective,zesty–yet somehow childish and insecure–style of patriotism that seemsto abound these days.” After giving us a couple of examples of how our childish patriotismcan lead to evil deeds, this self-appointed national conscience from theivory tower goes on to say the following. “All of this isdangerous in a world grown interdependent.

And it is unworthy of anation that claims great power status . . . Narrow-minded, self-seekingpatriotism or chauvinism will undermine a nation, leading it intoactions that alienate and embitter others .

. .” Mr. Huffman seemsto assume that when Americans let go and unashamedly express feelings ofunqualified exuberance about the good old U.S.

A., they are incapable ofsimulatenously caring about the problems that plague the rest of theworld. Based on his editorial, he like so many other academics appearsto believe that the only thing that can follow a period of flag wavingis evil. All that I could find in Mr. Huffman’s diatribe is anacademic’s righteous indignation, because the thing that was reallywaiting for him upon his return to this country was the American people finally freeing themselves from the guilt-ridden influences of theliberal elitists and their cohorts in the media. Whether he realizes itor not, I believe it is this loss of influence that has upset Mr.Huffman so much, not the refreshing rebirth of genuine patriotism.

Make no mistake about it, the anti-gunners and liberals (usuallyone and the same) are not going to take this current wave of patriotismlying down. They will and are fighting back by attacking anything thatstimulates the growth of national pride. The summer of 1984 will probably be remembered by many as the timewhen this country’s growing patriotic sentiments finally pulledtogether into one unified expression. I will always remember lastsummer for the three things that I believe were primarily responsiblefor causing the majority of Americans to again unite behind the flag.The three things that I am referring to are the Olympic Games in LosAngeles, the candidacy of President Reagan, and finally, the highlysuccessful pro-gun and pro-America movie Red Dawn. I know that thesethree things were important in helping to coalesce today’s wave ofpatriotism because of the vicious attacks brought against them by theliberal elements in our society. Everyone seems to agree (myself included) that the ABC television network did an excellent technical job of broadcasting the OlympicGames. Often during the games it seemed as if you were right down inthere huffing and puffing with the athletes, and the coverage of thespectacular opening and closing ceremonies was likewise superb.

So, whatwas there to complain about? Plenty, if you happen to be anelitist-type liberal who is far more concerned with what others think ofus than with what we think of ourselves. ABC correctly concluded thatits principal audience (the American public) was hungering to seeprimarily U.S. athletes in competition and, of course, U.S.

victories inthe games. This did result in somewhat lesser coverage of foreignathletic triumphs. As a result, the usual critics of America hadsomething to seize upon and whine about. According to the critics, we should first view ourselves ascitizens of the world and then possibly as Americans. They would havemuch preferred a type of coverage that de-emphasized the fact that thegames were being held int he U.

S. and, of course, I’m sure that thecorrect liberal approach would have been to allocate coverage in such away as to allow each nation its proportionate share of air time,regardless of the number of medals won. Perhaps the next time that anevent like the Olympic Games takes place in the United States, we canpacify our liberal apologists by forcing the television networks to usean affirmative action-type quota system for broadcasting.

We could, forexample, require that for every minute of coverage given to Americanathletes, at least two minutes of coverage be given to our foreigncompetitors. Because our liberal critics have such a great fondness forquotas, this should make them very happy. ABC Television should be commended for broadcasting the OlympicGames in such a positive manner; they did a great deal to help upliftAmerica’s self image. But, there was one very notable bias inABC’s coverage, at least where gun owners are concerned. Therather extensive shooting events of the games–where were they? Iwatched many hours of Olympic programming and found references to theshooting events to be few and far between.

If ABC was scheduling itscoverage around those events that held the greatest potential forAmerican success, then we should have seen a considerable amount ofOlympic shooting on the TV. Even though the American Olympic team produced more than its fairshare of shooting medalists, I am convinced that the powers in charge atABC Television were not about to give anything having to do with gunsany more positive coverage than they absolutely had to. Let’s facefacts, the people at ABC made a correct business decision by slantingtheir telecast of the games so as to appeal to the patriotism fo theirprimarily American audience. There is, however, at this time no reasonto believe that the patriotism of the American Broadcasting Company hasincreased to the point that would cause it to do a political about-faceand suddenly become a progun network. By the time this article appears in print, the 1984 elections willbe history, and the role that patriotism will have played in them willbe more clearly understood at that time. Those charged with the responsibility of planning PresidentReagan’s reelection campaign for the summer of ’84 concludedthat the President could lay claim to the new patriotism as his issue,and that the majority of voters would be willing to give him credit forhaving stimulated much of the rejuvenated pride in America. On theother hand, the designers of former Vice President Walter Mondale’scampaign apparently figured that the voters could be persuaded to viewthe summer’s buoyant patriotic climate as a shallow and fashionablething.

Mondale’s people set up for their candidate the task ofconvincing the voters that, if reelected President Reagan would only usesuch a patriotic vote of confidence as a device to justify dangerous anddespicable acts of adventurism. Unfortunately for Mondale, early attempts in his campaign to grab apiece of the patriotic pie for himself failed, leaving him no choice butto adopt the aforementioned negative strategy. Through the summer, theformer Vice President and his running mate hammered away at the voters,preaching in essence that the current atmosphere of well-being is falseand that there is still plenty wrong with America. From allindications, thus far, this strategy has proved to be about as popularas a boogey-box-toting Bambiist during deer hunting season. Now, on the other side of the political picture, not only hasPresident Reagan been able to lay claim to America’s rising tide ofconfidence, I am convinced that if the crowds had been able to gettheir hands on him, they would have painted him red, white and blue andsaluted him. Ronald Reagan has turned out to be not just thebeneficiary of last summer’s patriotic fervor, he also became thevery symbol of it.

Although the media never mentions it, a great deal of PresidentReagan’s support comes from America’s gun owners and hunters.The President has never wavered from his staunch support of the secondamendment and, as a reward for this loyalty, he has enjoyed the unifiedbacking of the National Rifle Association and its nearly three millionmembers. This is very significant when you consider that in some pastpresidential elections, the difference between the winning and losingcandidates had been less than three million votes. If you were unable to get down to the theater last summer to seethe movie Red Dawn then you missed a truly unique film. If for no otherreason, you should have seen the film because it has undoubtedly becomeone of the most viciously attacked movies of the past 30 years. Whenthe liberal media’s film critics saw this one, they must have goneabsolutely berserk in the theaters. They must have, because the reviewsthat most of them authored about this film could only have been writtenby people who were out of control and foaming at the mouth. To truly understand the impact of Red Dawn, it is necessary torealize that latent patriotism can be brought to the surface usually byone of two ways.

First, one’s national pride can be pumped up byspectacular and impressive achievements. An excellent example of thiswould be the stellar performances of the American athletes in theOlympic Games. Except for shooting, I have almost no interest insports, yet if I had been in L.A. during the games, I’m sure that Iwould have been more than a willing participant fully immersed in thepatriotic frenzy. The second means by which one’s patriotism canbe caused to swell is danger. The old axiom that says that people donot truly appreciate what they have until they lose it is particularlytrue where national security is concerned.

The danger can be immediate and real, like the Japanese attack onPearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. I understand that within days afterthe attack there were lines at nearly all recruiting stations and thatthese lines were primarily composed of young men who, in most cases, hadrarely expressed patriotic sentiments before the attack. The danger mayinstead be potential or theoretical in nature. Even though there may beno actual or immediate threat of hostilities, patriotism can bestimulated by mere possibilities when they are presented in a logicaland convincing manner.

The scenario upon which the film Red Dawn isbased is perfectly logical and absolutely convincing. This is why themedia’s liberal film reviewers hated the movie and did not want youto see it. In addition to the above, the media’s anti-gunners also gotall bent out of shape after seeing this film, because Red Dawn may verywell be one of the most potent progun movies ever made! Beforediscussing any of the specifices of this film, let’s look at what acouple of the critics had to say about it. “This movie, however, is so absurd, so bungled and poorlywritten that it makes old John Wayne cowboy flicks seem like genuine,multilayered works of cinematic art . . . I’m not certain I caughtevery detail of the storyline, because there are major distractions.

Oneof them is an incredibly dumb script, so contrived and cliched thatit’s a real laugh, a parody of itself throughout thefilm.”–Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s a long commercial in which the Marlboro Man hasbecome the American Guerrilla, with his good buddies, good guns and abottomless case of Coors.”–Jack Kroll, Newsweek. These quotes are typical of what the majority of the big-timecritics had to say about Red Dawn. Without asking you to endure morequotes, I would simply like to point out that the media’s elitemovie critics made abundant use of words and phrases like,”ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “absurd,””paranoid,” “muddle-headed,” “dumbmachismo,” “incorrigibly gungho,” and in one case, acritic even called the director of the film, John Milius, “.

. . aself-styled Zen fascist.” I’m not at all certain that thesecritics saw the same movie that I did. I saw a movie titled Red Dawn;judging from their reviews, it sounds more like they saw a film titledTorturing Puppies for Fun and Profit.

The movie Red Dawn is about a Soviet invasion of the United States.The story concentrates on the small fictional town of Calumet, Colorado.As the town is being captured by Cuban and Nicaraguan commandos in anearly morning surprise attack, some of the town’s teenagers manageto grab some supplies (including a few hunting rifles) and escape to themountains.

While in the mountains, the Calumet high school kids fashionthemselves into a guerrilla unit and then they begin to fight the Cuban,Nicaraguan and now Russian occupying forces. This in thumbnail from isthe basic premise of the film. In terms of pure cinematic or literary achievement, the film RedDawn rates about average.

The quality of the dialogue and the depth ofthe characters are on par with the typical war adventure-type movie.Those who would condemn this movie for not being another Citizen Kane orbecause it obviously falls short of the profound complexities of aShakespearean play are simply elevating the standards (in this one case)so as to follow themselves another avenue of attack. But, if Red Dawn is just another run-of-the-mill war flick,wouldn’t it have gone almost unnoticed by the media’s premierfilm critics? Usually yes, but there is more to this movie than justthe common formula plot normally associated with this genre offilmmaking. This “more” consists of two elements both ofwhich are tailored so as to cause even the most committed anti-gunpacifist to resort to violence. These elements are a decidedlyuncompromising pro-gun message and a frighteningly believable scenarioon just how someday we may find ourselves facing Russian soldiers onAmerican soil.

The fact that Americans will need to be armed so as to enable themto resist such an invasion is an assumption easily detected in thismovie. However, writer-director John Milius evidently wanted to makesure that the audience didn’t miss the point, so he drove it homein two dramatic scenes. In the first scene, the Cuban and Nicaraguancommandos are mopping up after the battle for Calumet. The camera zoomsin and pauses for a moment on the rear bumper of a pickup.

On thisbumper there is a sticker that reads, “They can have my gun whenthey pry it from my cold head fingers.” Then an invading soldierenters the scene and rips a 45 auto from the hand of an Americandefender lying dead in the street. In the next scene, the Cuban colonel commanding the invastion forceis giving instructions to some of his subordinates.

He tells them to goto the local sporting goods store and collect all of the federal 4473forms (the yellow form you fill out every time you purchase a firearm).He explains that these forms will help them to locate most of the gunowners in the area. In the theater that I was in, both of these sceneswere followed by muffled gasps and groans from the audience. It isobvious that John Milius (in just these two scenes alone) has delivereda stinging rebuff to the advocates of more gun control. No wonder themedia’s liberal and anti-gun critics are so upset over this movie.

Before going to see Red Down. I was of the opinion that aSoviet-backed communist invasion of the United States was animplausible, perhaps even silly, premise. But, because John Milius andhis colleagues did their homework, my confidence about the futuresanctity of American heartland is somewhat less secure than it was. Inconstructing the film, Mr. Milius consulted Alexander Haig, the formerchief of NATO, and also visited the Hudson Institute, the famedWashington-based think tank. They didn’t think his scenario wassilly at all.

In fact, the possibility of such an invasion has beenseriously studied by the Pentagon and contingency plans do exist fordealing with such a catastrophic disaster. The creators of the film carefully lay out the conditions and worldevents that lead up to the dark day of the invasion. The frighteningthing is that these conditions and events are not the wild-eyedconcoctions of some science fiction writer, but rather they are simplythe logical progressions of those stories that fill today’snewspapers.

As the movie begins there is a type of preamble thatappears on the screen. This preamble tells the audience the following:”NATO has fallen apart under the threat of Soviet attack. TheSoviet Union has had several very bad agricultural years in a row and isdesperate.

Central America falls to communist-backed revolutionaries.Mexico finally succumbs to revolution, causing a flood of refugeesacross our southern border.” Later in the film we learn thathidden in this tidal wave of refugees are thousands of trained saboteursthat effectively neutralize much of our nuclear deterrent. In general,America is shown to be without allies; it is surrounded, alone, impotentand ripe for the taking. Consider for a moment some of the realities that support theconjectural basis of this timely film. For example, the NATO allianceis tenuous at best.

In conventional terms, the Warsaw Pact nations haveNATO out-manned and out-gunned at nearly every turn. Even though theWest enjoys certain significant technological advantages, the result ofany prolonged conventional conflict would be the utter devastation andloss of Western Europe under the Soviets’ massive military machine.Currently, the only thing that holds the Russians at bay, from amilitary standpoint, is the ability of NATO to employ the use of nuclearweapons as a last resort. This last resort, although a very effective deterrent so far, doeslittle to bring the Europeans peace of mind, because no matter who thewinner of such a war would be, the fact that both Western and EasternEurope would be a mess goes without question. It is this fragilestalemate that worries many analysts. The fear is that should ourEuropean allies learn that an invasion is imminent, some of them maychoose to break ranks with NATO in order to seek some kind ofaccommodation with the Soviets, thereby sparing themselves from thebloodbath.

Pre-revolutionary rumblings can now be felt coming from Mexico. Itappears that large land owners have, in some cases, been forced to hireforeign mercenaries to protect their holdings from newly-formedrevolutionary groups. It is also my understanding that caches of smallarms (of communist bloc manufacture) have already been found in Mexico.The situation begins to look like a textbook case on how a country canfall prey to communist exploitation when Mexico’s extreme economicproblems and poverty are added to the picture.

It is estimated thatshould a violent revolution break out in Mexico, the U.S. can expect asmany as 20 million refugees to flood across its southern border in justa few short years. And there would be little that could be done to stopthe flood. When I left the theater after seeing Red Dawn, I knew that JohnMilius had very skillfully pulled my patriotic strings, but somehow itdidn’t matter.

He reminded me that the freedoms that we often takefor granted, in this country, are fragile things and that there aresinister forces in this world (and in this country) that seek to destroythem. Normally, I dislike going along with the crowd, but in the caseof today’s patriotic fever, you can consider me a willingconformist. Let’s hope that this is one fashion that doesn’tfade for a long, long time.

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