Patriotism is not some bad form of nationalism
By Rachel Alexander
The left has become really clever at falsely associating conservatism with horrible things, such as racism, greed and violence. Under President Trump, they began a push to associate patriotism with bad forms of nationalism, like fascism and Nazism. It was easy to do because nationalism has multiple definitions; one sounds like patriotism, but another sounds like fascism or Nazism. Trump made patriotism a showy part of his platform, with his Make America Great Again slogan and massive amounts of red, white and blue decorations at campaign events. But that’s really all it was. There wasn’t any specific agenda associated with nationalism, Trump merely adopted a typical conservative platform, not much different from Ronald Reagan’s platform in 1980. Forty years later, the country is still involved about the same extent with globalist organizations like the U.N. and NATO.
The association is ludicrous considering the Democrats have become the party of big government, they’re closer to national socialists or fascists than Republicans. Those two political philosophies oppose materialism and selfish individualism. They favor government-controlled corporatist unions — not a far stretch from the Democrats’ government unions. Both detest capitalism and advocate for redistributing wealth.
The MSM articles hysterically labeling Trump supporters as dangerous nationalists are devoid of evidence. One writer at the left-wing Daily Kos claims a Trump supporter who was merely speaking constitutes evidence. “I was walking through a casino in Las Vegas this last weekend and an older white male (I would guess late 50s, early 60s) pulled off his Make America Great Again hat and began taunting bar patrons, pointing at his hat and yelling ‘Trump! Trump!’” Another example he cites is an unofficial Facebook page run by border patrol agents where they said rude things about illegal immigrants. The page was not authorized by the government, an investigation was conducted and the employees were disciplined. How some rogue employees joking privately about illegal immigrants is comparable to national socialism is mind boggling.
But they know exactly what they’re doing. If they repeat a lie enough in the MSM, people will start to believe it. If conservatives are racist, violent and greedy, then it’s easy to believe they are also totalitarian fascists. A typical line about it goes like this, from a Canadian academic magazine in 2017, “The last twelve months have seen a great shift in the North Atlantic political landscape, with only Canada immune (so far). Nobody in universities saw it coming. ....There has been a surge of support for ethno-nationalism of the blood-and-soil kind, fearful of global openness and resentful of globally connected persons, whether migrants, traders, or cross-border professors and students.” Notice the cleverly dropped reference to violence.
The left points to some on the right calling for civil disobedience, secession and other actions that connote violence, as if they’re evidence of this frightening nationalism. Well it’s nothing new. People on the right have been using that type of language throughout my entire life, and nothing ever happens. The quote by Thomas Jefferson, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” has been used for years by people and organizations on the right. No one actually thinks it’s time for revolution nor are they about to act on it. But the left has cleverly created this perception that the talk just started under Trump, the few saying it represents the right, and they actually intend to commit violence. When they occasionally find a guy who carelessly drove into a gun-free zone with his gun and two magazines, they pounce on it as evidence they are correct. Regardless, a mere handful of deranged people on the right does not mean the right has become dangerous as a movement. There have always been a handful of deranged people on the right as well as on the left.
Another variation of the accusation specifically denounces “Christian nationalism.” They warn that Christians are going to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. Evangelical leaders on the right like Beth Moore are rushing to denounce it as if it’s a real problem. It’s not. Again, there is zero evidence. They can’t point to much other than the handful of rioters who pushed their way into the U.S. Capitol who claim to be Christians. That small number of people does not represent millions of Christians who support Trump across the country.
The reality is there hasn’t been much of a change in anything other than a few more patriotic decorations; Trump turned out to be quite similar to Reagan. The real change has been an increase in hostility by the left toward the U.S. The patriot theme arose on the right under Trump in response to the Democrats’ trashing the U.S. They have become increasingly globalist and critical of our heritage and the Founding Fathers. Children’s history books have been rewritten to denigrate U.S. history, and the left points to other countries as superior to the U.S. So what used to be considered normal behavior, being proud of our country and heritage, is now being treated as a dangerous patriot movement by the left.
The left is going to continue to take words and ideas associated with the right and lump them in with horrendous things. We have to start calling them out on it instead of allowing them to drive a narrative about us that is not true. If we’re going to be able to successfully push back, I shouldn’t be the only one complaining about this.