Instead of focusing on the past, let’s envision our nation’s brighter future

Instead of focusing on the past, let’s envision our nation’s brighter future
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Our society is in a state of political turmoil, but for some on the left, the problems are deeper than simple disagreements over policy issues. Instead, there are those on the left who are running active campaigns to undermine the founding principles of the nation.

We saw this last week in the annual outrage-fest most normal folks call Columbus Day. Liberals have decided to cast Columbus as the representative of imperialism and domination over “indigenous peoples,” demanding Columbus be sent to the dustbin of history, scrubbing his name from any public monument, plaque, or even history textbook.

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These activists seem to stop short of forcing the University of Columbia or the District of Columbia to change their names, but in the case of Confederate generals and even the Founders of the United States of America, they don’t seem to be holding back.

 

Just as President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE predicted on Twitter, calls are growing from the left to remove statues commemorating the likes of Washington and Jefferson. In the wake of the Charlottesville attack, a CNN commentator and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus said monuments to the founding fathers like Washington and Jefferson "need to come down."

Students at the University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson, are now calling for classes on Jefferson’s ties to white supremacy. On Columbus Day, protesters gathered at the Museum of Natural History to decry the statue of Teddy Roosevelt, demanding that the museum be “decolonized” of its racist history lessons.

The garment rending and protesting about statues might seem childish and unlikely to cause any real change, but make no mistake; this movement by the left is a direct assault on the foundational ideas of the American experiment. This line of attack is right out of Marx’s plan to upend governments and change society.

Just a few decades ago, only the most fringe radicals on the political spectrum supported changing Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” but now the Detroit City Council voted unanimously to change the holiday’s name. Just how much longer until the people calling to remove all monuments to the Confederate dead start joining calls to remove American presidents from the pages of history books and the public squares? There is no limiting principle on this line of attack and that’s exactly the left’s strategy: it’s entirely open-ended with no absolutes save to destroy whatever offends.

The ultimate goal of this fervor: to undermine the founding principles of our country as they were laid out in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Portraying the founders as dead slaveholders is no accident. It’s design is to undermine their significance thereby undermining the ideas and philosophies that have made America the envy of the world for the last two centuries. If you can delegitimize the Founders, you can delegitimize their writings, their documents and the government they founded.

A growing percentage of the left see America as a racist, bigoted, irredeemable country because, as one New York Times column put it, there is a cancer in our Constitution. This article specifically pointed to the Second Amendment, arguing that the right to self defense as provided for by the Second Amendment, was a mistake akin to slavery, saying “The Second Amendment...has become so perverted, twisted and misused that you have to see it now as the second original sin in the founding of the country, after slavery.”

Aside from equating the millions of law-abiding Americans that own guns to those that enslaved their fellow man, this kind of commentary represents a pervasive Constitutional illiterate infection that oozes out of the elites in academia and the media and in turn infects our entire country.

We see this hate for the Constitution primarily in our universities, as across the country, what used to be bastions of free speech and civil rights have turned into Orwellian reeducation centers. Rather than learning about the enduring principles of the Enlightenment enshrined in our Constitution that free man can live in community and flourish, universities have become hotbeds of intellectual terror as students weed out thoughts these students consider hateful and are producing hollow men and women.

At Berkeley on Oct. 9, students protested an exam after the earthquakes in Mexico, claiming the emotional trauma meant they deserved a take-home-test, finally exclaiming that the students that didn’t walk out to support them were “white supremacists.” Just a few days earlier, Columbia students barged into a classroom to scream at the administrator teaching the class for her insufficient zeal in prosecuting Title IX abuses.

And on Oct. 11 the scholar Charles Murray was again abused by radical protesters, delaying the speech for more than 40 minutes and smashing the phone of an attendee that was filming the entire episode.

These aren’t isolated incidents. This is a pattern of behaviour that is a result of the failure of our politicians, educators, and society at large to pass down the principles of liberty that make it possible to have a thriving, free and open society. There’s something rotten in our country, and the next generation will accelerate that rot. The election of Donald Trump was a narrow miss. Had Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT MORE been elected president, the trends causing this decay would not only have grown without resistance, but would have accelerated to irreversible levels.

For all those who see America as irredeemable, I see it as the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We’ve been imperfect, and we’ve had our faults and sins, but we’ve also given the greatest amount of freedom and opportunity to the greatest number of men and women than any other nation.

Throughout our history, while perhaps not always faithful to the values and principles we proclaim that all men are created equal, and that all have a right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as Tocqueville said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation but in her ability to repair her faults.”

So instead of focusing on all our failings, far better to focus on what we could become as a people, and to envision the even great heights we to which we could climb as a nation.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter: @nedryun.