Joseph Giallombardo, Contributing Writer
There has been a severe whiplash from the re-election of President Barack Obama. Many have voiced the opinon that this event is the death knell of the republic, of our way of life, of the American Dream. People have been tempted to lose hope in the future of this nation. The most common response is to joke, “OK, it’s time to move to Canada/Ireland/Germany/Malta/back to Rome/the Moon!” or “It’s time to secede!”
Of course, few of these people actually intend to leave the country or incite the secession of their preferred states, and yet there is truth and bitterness in those jests. In their deepest hearts, would they really miss America much if Texas seceded? Others have claimed that America is in no way a special nation, evidenced by the observation that we – as they claim – are following the exact same path as all nations that have fallen before us.
And this is a half-truth, for indeed we dally along a path that will lead to our destruction if we follow it to the end. But nothing is inevitable. I reject the view of historical determinism. It is a Marxist idea. That is how Communists talk, not Americans.
Our nation can be saved; the vision that our Founding Fathers had can be recovered, but we must know to whom this task falls. It is true that we can put little faith in the politicians who claim to represent us. Those whom the Republican-establishment machine keeps churning out will be powerless to oppose the driving force of progressivism as long as there is precious little difference between them and the progressives. But politicians aren’t the only ones who get to shape the course of history. Let others place hope in candidates; let liberals worship Obama and libertarians worship Ron Paul. For it is the task of “we the people” to redeem this nation of ours.
Three million registered Republicans didn’t vote in this election. See, the only battles we lose are the ones we refuse to fight. If you want to fight for your nation, this is what you and I can do now.
First of all, the fight for a nation begins at home. You must win your household, your town, your county. For us, home partly means UD. Our religious freedom at UD is under attack, for the university will be required by the healthcare mandate to provide contraceptives to workers, and through the university our tuition dollars will fund these contraceptives. The university has declined to file a lawsuit against the HHS – which many other Catholic schools have done – and, ostensibly, opted rather to wait out the one-year grace period and hope that someone, somewhere comes up with some sort of compromise. While it is too early in the game to pass judgment, this may not be enough.
Even Notre Dame, which is about as Catholic as a Kennedy and which invited Obama himself to speak at graduation four years ago, is suing the HHS. Perhaps a lawsuit would not be as fiscally feasible nor as effective as in the case of other universities (as the school’s legal council advised), but we may need a more robust response than we have issued nevertheless. We have a duty to keep the university honest, and if their response proves insufficient, to advocate a stronger course of action. In many ways, our battle starts here, by prompting action and protecting our religious freedom at UD.
This mandate is exemplary of the crux of our dilemma. Inherent in progressivism is the task of replacing all private society – and the family is the most private of societies – with a single, universal, cosmopolitan, public society. This idea, derived from the writings of Kant, was imported into American thought during the late 19th century and became the axis on which the wheels of progressivism turned. So progressives attack the family, especially via abortion and contraception.
It takes a minimum birthrate of 2.2 children per family to sustain a demographic over a 25-year period. Americans are having an average of 1.9. There is no one to go into the workforce, so America becomes top-heavy, with the elderly, the infirm, and single mothers – people who cannot support themselves – outnumbering those who can work.
No wonder so many rely on free stuff from the government. The best thing a patriot can do is get married and raise a family. Be fruitful and multiply; raise sons and daughters of the republic. Young men and women, for whenever the time comes, prepare yourselves now through prayer and mortification for marriage.
Another problem involves the people’s comprehension of the nation. How can we exhort people to fight for the nation if the nation does not capture the imagination and the heart of the people? “To make us love our country,” said Edmund Burke, “our country ought to be lovely.” To convince our citizens that their civilization is worth saving, a cultural renaissance is imperative. This is a call to the artists of America to create a vision and an iconography by which the people can better understand what America is. Caesar Augustus once said, “I found Rome a city of bricks and left her a city of marble.” America may be a “shining city on a hill,” but she is a city of bricks nevertheless, and we must transform her into a city of marble. To all who have the gift, cultivate your craft now; your task is essential.
We must also remember the role of the Church. If the faithful were better Catholics, they would be better Americans. Too long have the Catholics voted Democrat because they buy into a false presentation of social justice. We must help our fellow Catholics understand that a politician who wants to help the poor by abolishing life, liberty and property is a criminal against the nation and against God.
But in a deeper sense, we must remember that the most important battle is the spiritual one. If we are to “baptize” the Preamble of our Constitution, this is the supernatural side of we the people: that these crises are the crises of saints. Personal holiness is the preeminent calling. Lest you doubt the power of prayer to sway historical events, remember Lepanto. But sometimes God allows the situation to become more dire, so that we must respond with greater faith, hope and love, if we are to make it through at all. Our backs are up against the wall, but see how good Our Lord is to us? He is forcing our hand. There is no longer an option to be a saint tomorrow; we must be saints now.
There is only today.