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 are
rediscovering how to express their love for this great nation. The most
encouraging aspect of this new wave of patriotism is the fact that much
of this rejuvenated national pride is coming from the 18 to 30-year-old
age group.

Just think, it wasn’t long ago that many of our young adults
were still rejecting the so-called hypocrisy and sterile materialism of
America. They had been taught by guilt-ridden academics to believe that
nearly all of the world’s troubles (everything from the infant
mortality rate in the third world to every war on every part of the
planet) was somehow the result of conspiracies between this
nation’s major corporations and our government.

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Well, America’s young and not so young adults have grown tired
of this false guilt trip. They have taken a fresh new look at the world
and realized that the United States is not the sinister evil empire that
they were led to believe. In fact, many of these Americans are
discovering for the first time that we are a pretty decent people and
that our positive influence on the world community has far outweighed
any negative.

However, while many of our fellow citizens have had to rediscover
their patriotism, there is one group that seems to have never lost it
and that group is America’s gun owners. It appears that gun owners
and hunters, in general, are among the most patriotic citizens around.
In the not too distant past when the patriotism of the average person
was dragging, one could usually find some relief by visiting the local
gun club, firing range or hunting association. I’m not entirely
sure as to why hunters and those involved in the shooting sports are
always so bullish on America, but I can venture what I believe is a good
guess. 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 for
its freedom, they literally represent liberty in its most basic context.
Therefore, those citizens among us who maintain a steadfast devotion to
those fundamental virtues responsible for the creation of the greatest
bastion of individual liberty in the history of civilization are going
to be attracted to anything that symbolizes those virtues.

On the other hand, this concept of guns, as symbols, seems to also
explain why so many liberal anti-gunners believe as they do. The basic
principles that the true liberal mind embraces are nearly the polar
opposites of the fundamental American virtues mentioned in the preceding
paragraph. The liberal does not believe in self-reliance; he instead
would rather have the population always looking to the government for
support and solutions. Independence is also something that the liberal
mentality cannot tolerate, because by definition being independent means
being free to choose. Since the liberal elite always know what is best
for us, they have never been hesitant to push for legislation that will
narrow our choices down to only those that are consistent with the
liberal’s prevailing social agenda. The remaining fundamental
American virtue of individualism is particularly repugnant to the
orthodox liberal.

To the liberal, there is no longer any such thing as an individual,
and consequently, no such thing as individual freedom. The liberal can
only recognize so-called group rights. To the elitist mind, there is no
such thing as a particular man, there are only men, and likewise no such
thing as a particular woman, only women. A nation of individuals cannot
be tightly controlled. But, in a society where people are dealt with
only on the basis of some type of group identification (sex, race,
national origin, etc.), it becomes much easier for social engineers to
control the future.

As you can see, firearms symbolize the very things that stand
between this country’s liberal elite and the absolute power that
they long for. So, of course, they hate guns and this is why the cry
for more gun control comes almost entirely out of the mouths of liberal
politicians, bureaucrats and academics.

This current wave of patriotism, however, represents more to gun
owners than just simply a refreshing reaffirmation of America’s
greatness. America’s firearms fraternity must realize that this
positive climate is also an opportunity to be taken advantage of,
because support for more gun control usually drops sharply during
periods of heightened patriotism. Now is the time to take the offensive
and undo the damage that the anti-gunners have inflicted upon us during
more psychologically depressed periods. Because overt patriotism so
adversely affects their cause, you can expect the gun control crowd to
denounce it with the same fanatic fervor that compels them to want to
take away our guns. Liberals in general are also counterattacking
against what they see as a popular repudiation of their
“enlightened” social agenda.

Evidence of this liberal counterattack can be seen and heard as it
is now flowing freely from the media. This country’s elite, and of
course, predominantly liberal journalists are committed to raining on
your patriotic parade. For example, did you enjoy watching the Olympic
Games in Los Angeles? Did it feel good to see American athletes win all
of those medals? Did you feel proud, perhaps even patriotic, as a
result? Well, if your love of country did get a shot in the arm because
of America’s victories in the Olympics, you really should now be
ashamed of yourself! That’s right; according to a Mr. James L.
Huffman, such feelings of chauvinism are unworthy of us. Who is this
Mr. Huffman? Why, he is an associate professor of history at Wittenberg
University in Springfield, Ohio.

Mr. Huffman recently returned to the United States after spending a
year in Tokyo. It appears that Mr. Huffman, upon his return, was
appalled to find Americans indulging in a newfound patriotism. This
academic was apparently so upset that he felt compelled to scold us for
our childish behavior. Mr. Huffman made his dissatisfaction known in an
editorial 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 after
a year’s absence, I am troubled by the unabashed, unreflective,
zesty–yet somehow childish and insecure–style of patriotism that seems
to abound these days.”

After giving us a couple of examples of how our childish patriotism
can lead to evil deeds, this self-appointed national conscience from the
ivory tower goes on to say the following. “All of this is
dangerous in a world grown interdependent. And it is unworthy of a
nation that claims great power status . . . Narrow-minded, self-seeking
patriotism or chauvinism will undermine a nation, leading it into
actions that alienate and embitter others . . .” Mr. Huffman seems
to assume that when Americans let go and unashamedly express feelings of
unqualified exuberance about the good old U.S.A., they are incapable of
simulatenously caring about the problems that plague the rest of the
world. Based on his editorial, he like so many other academics appears
to believe that the only thing that can follow a period of flag waving
is evil.

All that I could find in Mr. Huffman’s diatribe is an
academic’s righteous indignation, because the thing that was really
waiting for him upon his return to this country was the American people finally freeing themselves from the guilt-ridden influences of the
liberal elitists and their cohorts in the media. Whether he realizes it
or 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 (usually
one and the same) are not going to take this current wave of patriotism
lying down. They will and are fighting back by attacking anything that
stimulates the growth of national pride.

The summer of 1984 will probably be remembered by many as the time
when this country’s growing patriotic sentiments finally pulled
together into one unified expression. I will always remember last
summer for the three things that I believe were primarily responsible
for causing the majority of Americans to again unite behind the flag.
The three things that I am referring to are the Olympic Games in Los
Angeles, the candidacy of President Reagan, and finally, the highly
successful pro-gun and pro-America movie Red Dawn. I know that these
three things were important in helping to coalesce today’s wave of
patriotism because of the vicious attacks brought against them by the
liberal elements in our society.

Everyone seems to agree (myself included) that the ABC television network did an excellent technical job of broadcasting the Olympic
Games. Often during the games it seemed as if you were right down in
there huffing and puffing with the athletes, and the coverage of the
spectacular opening and closing ceremonies was likewise superb. So, what
was there to complain about? Plenty, if you happen to be an
elitist-type liberal who is far more concerned with what others think of
us than with what we think of ourselves. ABC correctly concluded that
its principal audience (the American public) was hungering to see
primarily U.S. athletes in competition and, of course, U.S. victories in
the games. This did result in somewhat lesser coverage of foreign
athletic triumphs. As a result, the usual critics of America had
something to seize upon and whine about.

According to the critics, we should first view ourselves as
citizens of the world and then possibly as Americans. They would have
much preferred a type of coverage that de-emphasized the fact that the
games were being held int he U.S. and, of course, I’m sure that the
correct liberal approach would have been to allocate coverage in such a
way as to allow each nation its proportionate share of air time,
regardless of the number of medals won. Perhaps the next time that an
event like the Olympic Games takes place in the United States, we can
pacify our liberal apologists by forcing the television networks to use
an affirmative action-type quota system for broadcasting. We could, for
example, require that for every minute of coverage given to American
athletes, at least two minutes of coverage be given to our foreign
competitors. Because our liberal critics have such a great fondness for
quotas, this should make them very happy.

ABC Television should be commended for broadcasting the Olympic
Games in such a positive manner; they did a great deal to help uplift
America’s self image. But, there was one very notable bias in
ABC’s coverage, at least where gun owners are concerned. The
rather extensive shooting events of the games–where were they? I
watched many hours of Olympic programming and found references to the
shooting events to be few and far between. If ABC was scheduling its
coverage around those events that held the greatest potential for
American success, then we should have seen a considerable amount of
Olympic shooting on the TV.

Even though the American Olympic team produced more than its fair
share of shooting medalists, I am convinced that the powers in charge at
ABC Television were not about to give anything having to do with guns
any more positive coverage than they absolutely had to. Let’s face
facts, the people at ABC made a correct business decision by slanting
their telecast of the games so as to appeal to the patriotism fo their
primarily American audience. There is, however, at this time no reason
to believe that the patriotism of the American Broadcasting Company has
increased to the point that would cause it to do a political about-face
and suddenly become a progun network.

By the time this article appears in print, the 1984 elections will
be history, and the role that patriotism will have played in them will
be more clearly understood at that time.

Those charged with the responsibility of planning President
Reagan’s reelection campaign for the summer of ’84 concluded
that 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 for
having stimulated much of the rejuvenated pride in America. On the
other hand, the designers of former Vice President Walter Mondale’s
campaign apparently figured that the voters could be persuaded to view
the summer’s buoyant patriotic climate as a shallow and fashionable
thing. Mondale’s people set up for their candidate the task of
convincing the voters that, if reelected President Reagan would only use
such a patriotic vote of confidence as a device to justify dangerous and
despicable acts of adventurism.

Unfortunately for Mondale, early attempts in his campaign to grab a
piece of the patriotic pie for himself failed, leaving him no choice but
to adopt the aforementioned negative strategy. Through the summer, the
former Vice President and his running mate hammered away at the voters,
preaching in essence that the current atmosphere of well-being is false
and that there is still plenty wrong with America. From all
indications, thus far, this strategy has proved to be about as popular
as a boogey-box-toting Bambiist during deer hunting season.

Now, on the other side of the political picture, not only has
President Reagan been able to lay claim to America’s rising tide of
confidence, I am convinced that if the crowds had been able to get
their hands on him, they would have painted him red, white and blue and
saluted him. Ronald Reagan has turned out to be not just the
beneficiary of last summer’s patriotic fervor, he also became the
very symbol of it.

Although the media never mentions it, a great deal of President
Reagan’s support comes from America’s gun owners and hunters.
The President has never wavered from his staunch support of the second
amendment and, as a reward for this loyalty, he has enjoyed the unified
backing of the National Rifle Association and its nearly three million
members. This is very significant when you consider that in some past
presidential elections, the difference between the winning and losing
candidates had been less than three million votes.

If you were unable to get down to the theater last summer to see
the movie Red Dawn then you missed a truly unique film. If for no other
reason, you should have seen the film because it has undoubtedly become
one of the most viciously attacked movies of the past 30 years. When
the liberal media’s film critics saw this one, they must have gone
absolutely berserk in the theaters. They must have, because the reviews
that most of them authored about this film could only have been written
by people who were out of control and foaming at the mouth.

To truly understand the impact of Red Dawn, it is necessary to
realize that latent patriotism can be brought to the surface usually by
one of two ways. First, one’s national pride can be pumped up by
spectacular and impressive achievements. An excellent example of this
would be the stellar performances of the American athletes in the
Olympic Games. Except for shooting, I have almost no interest in
sports, yet if I had been in L.A. during the games, I’m sure that I
would have been more than a willing participant fully immersed in the
patriotic frenzy. The second means by which one’s patriotism can
be caused to swell is danger. The old axiom that says that people do
not truly appreciate what they have until they lose it is particularly
true where national security is concerned.

The danger can be immediate and real, like the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. I understand that within days after
the attack there were lines at nearly all recruiting stations and that
these lines were primarily composed of young men who, in most cases, had
rarely expressed patriotic sentiments before the attack. The danger may
instead be potential or theoretical in nature. Even though there may be
no actual or immediate threat of hostilities, patriotism can be
stimulated by mere possibilities when they are presented in a logical
and convincing manner. The scenario upon which the film Red Dawn is
based is perfectly logical and absolutely convincing. This is why the
media’s liberal film reviewers hated the movie and did not want you
to see it.

In addition to the above, the media’s anti-gunners also got
all bent out of shape after seeing this film, because Red Dawn may very
well be one of the most potent progun movies ever made! Before
discussing any of the specifices of this film, let’s look at what a
couple of the critics had to say about it.

“This movie, however, is so absurd, so bungled and poorly
written that it makes old John Wayne cowboy flicks seem like genuine,
multilayered works of cinematic art . . . I’m not certain I caught
every detail of the storyline, because there are major distractions. One
of them is an incredibly dumb script, so contrived and cliched that
it’s a real laugh, a parody of itself throughout the
film.”–Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle.

“It’s a long commercial in which the Marlboro Man has
become the American Guerrilla, with his good buddies, good guns and a
bottomless case of Coors.”–Jack Kroll, Newsweek.

These quotes are typical of what the majority of the big-time
critics had to say about Red Dawn. Without asking you to endure more
quotes, I would simply like to point out that the media’s elite
movie critics made abundant use of words and phrases like,
“ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “absurd,”
“paranoid,” “muddle-headed,” “dumb
machismo,” “incorrigibly gungho,” and in one case, a
critic even called the director of the film, John Milius, “. . . a
self-styled Zen fascist.” I’m not at all certain that these
critics 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 titled
Torturing 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 an
early morning surprise attack, some of the town’s teenagers manage
to grab some supplies (including a few hunting rifles) and escape to the
mountains. While in the mountains, the Calumet high school kids fashion
themselves into a guerrilla unit and then they begin to fight the Cuban,
Nicaraguan and now Russian occupying forces. This in thumbnail from is
the basic premise of the film.

In terms of pure cinematic or literary achievement, the film Red
Dawn rates about average. The quality of the dialogue and the depth of
the characters are on par with the typical war adventure-type movie.
Those who would condemn this movie for not being another Citizen Kane or
because it obviously falls short of the profound complexities of a
Shakespearean 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 premier
film critics? Usually yes, but there is more to this movie than just
the common formula plot normally associated with this genre of
filmmaking. This “more” consists of two elements both of
which are tailored so as to cause even the most committed anti-gun
pacifist to resort to violence. These elements are a decidedly
uncompromising pro-gun message and a frighteningly believable scenario
on just how someday we may find ourselves facing Russian soldiers on
American soil.

The fact that Americans will need to be armed so as to enable them
to resist such an invasion is an assumption easily detected in this
movie. However, writer-director John Milius evidently wanted to make
sure that the audience didn’t miss the point, so he drove it home
in two dramatic scenes. In the first scene, the Cuban and Nicaraguan
commandos are mopping up after the battle for Calumet. The camera zooms
in and pauses for a moment on the rear bumper of a pickup. On this
bumper there is a sticker that reads, “They can have my gun when
they pry it from my cold head fingers.” Then an invading soldier
enters the scene and rips a 45 auto from the hand of an American
defender lying dead in the street.

In the next scene, the Cuban colonel commanding the invastion force
is giving instructions to some of his subordinates. He tells them to go
to the local sporting goods store and collect all of the federal 4473
forms (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 gun
owners in the area. In the theater that I was in, both of these scenes
were followed by muffled gasps and groans from the audience. It is
obvious that John Milius (in just these two scenes alone) has delivered
a stinging rebuff to the advocates of more gun control. No wonder the
media’s liberal and anti-gun critics are so upset over this movie.

Before going to see Red Down. I was of the opinion that a
Soviet-backed communist invasion of the United States was an
implausible, perhaps even silly, premise. But, because John Milius and
his colleagues did their homework, my confidence about the future
sanctity of American heartland is somewhat less secure than it was. In
constructing the film, Mr. Milius consulted Alexander Haig, the former
chief of NATO, and also visited the Hudson Institute, the famed
Washington-based think tank. They didn’t think his scenario was
silly at all. In fact, the possibility of such an invasion has been
seriously studied by the Pentagon and contingency plans do exist for
dealing with such a catastrophic disaster.

The creators of the film carefully lay out the conditions and world
events that lead up to the dark day of the invasion. The frightening
thing is that these conditions and events are not the wild-eyed
concoctions of some science fiction writer, but rather they are simply
the logical progressions of those stories that fill today’s
newspapers. As the movie begins there is a type of preamble that
appears on the screen. This preamble tells the audience the following:
“NATO has fallen apart under the threat of Soviet attack. The
Soviet Union has had several very bad agricultural years in a row and is
desperate. Central America falls to communist-backed revolutionaries.
Mexico finally succumbs to revolution, causing a flood of refugees
across our southern border.” Later in the film we learn that
hidden in this tidal wave of refugees are thousands of trained saboteurs
that effectively neutralize much of our nuclear deterrent. In general,
America is shown to be without allies; it is surrounded, alone, impotent
and ripe for the taking.

Consider for a moment some of the realities that support the
conjectural basis of this timely film. For example, the NATO alliance
is tenuous at best. In conventional terms, the Warsaw Pact nations have
NATO out-manned and out-gunned at nearly every turn. Even though the
West enjoys certain significant technological advantages, the result of
any prolonged conventional conflict would be the utter devastation and
loss of Western Europe under the Soviets’ massive military machine.
Currently, the only thing that holds the Russians at bay, from a
military standpoint, is the ability of NATO to employ the use of nuclear
weapons as a last resort.

This last resort, although a very effective deterrent so far, does
little to bring the Europeans peace of mind, because no matter who the
winner of such a war would be, the fact that both Western and Eastern
Europe would be a mess goes without question. It is this fragile
stalemate that worries many analysts. The fear is that should our
European allies learn that an invasion is imminent, some of them may
choose to break ranks with NATO in order to seek some kind of
accommodation with the Soviets, thereby sparing themselves from the

Pre-revolutionary rumblings can now be felt coming from Mexico. It
appears that large land owners have, in some cases, been forced to hire
foreign mercenaries to protect their holdings from newly-formed
revolutionary groups. It is also my understanding that caches of small
arms (of communist bloc manufacture) have already been found in Mexico.
The situation begins to look like a textbook case on how a country can
fall prey to communist exploitation when Mexico’s extreme economic
problems and poverty are added to the picture. It is estimated that
should a violent revolution break out in Mexico, the U.S. can expect as
many as 20 million refugees to flood across its southern border in just
a few short years. And there would be little that could be done to stop
the flood.

When I left the theater after seeing Red Dawn, I knew that John
Milius had very skillfully pulled my patriotic strings, but somehow it
didn’t matter. He reminded me that the freedoms that we often take
for granted, in this country, are fragile things and that there are
sinister forces in this world (and in this country) that seek to destroy
them. Normally, I dislike going along with the crowd, but in the case
of today’s patriotic fever, you can consider me a willing
conformist. Let’s hope that this is one fashion that doesn’t
fade for a long, long time.


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