Several conservative figures, current members of Congress, professors, and media types, as well as former Trump administration officials, want Americans to know how great their country really is and how fortunate they are to be living in the United States after affixing their signatures to a historic new declaration that essentially reaffirms those facts.
The declaration laments what the signatories call “an age of increasing national self-doubt” in the country as a result of destructive left-wing Marxist/socialist ideology that has manifested itself in the modern Democratic Party, which has brought down the “national mood.” The signatories vowed to “reclaim” a more positive attitude about the country as well.
Published by National Review, the declaration says that “[t]he American project … is under assault” via historical revisionism, accusations of systemic racism in various American institutions, and “propagandizing” in the public school system, Fox News noted.
“Our traditional heroes are under threat of being run out of the national pantheon. Our institutions, from elections to the job market to law enforcement, stand accused of perpetuating a systemic racism that is impossible to eradicate. Our educational system, from kindergarten through graduate school, is increasingly a forum for crude propagandizing,” the declaration says.
“Our traditional values of fair play, free speech, and religious liberty are trampled by inflamed ideologues determined to impose their will by force and fear,” it continues, likening the current climate to those of the 1930s and 1970s, “when radical critiques of America got considerable traction and our national self-confidence often seemed to hang by a thread.”
It is in this context that we reclaim what once was a consensus view of America that has now become bitterly contested.
No matter the fashion of the moment, we believe that America is a fundamentally fair society with bountiful opportunity; that its Founding was a world-historical event of the utmost importance and established governing institutions of enduring value; that its original sins have been honorably, if belatedly, repudiated; that it came to be wealthy and powerful primarily through its own internal strengths, not via expropriation and conquest; that its model of ordered liberty is a boon to human flourishing; that its people are a marvel and its greatest resource; that its best days needn’t be behind it, and that it remains a beacon to mankind.
To the extent that these notions are falling out of favor, it is the responsibility of those who love America to revivify them.
Even some on the right have become disenchanted with the American project and are prepared to quit on it on grounds that it is already lost or hopelessly corrupted.
There is no doubt that the country faces severe challenges, many the result of shortsightedness and wishful thinking, but we still have an enormous capacity for renewal. It is because our ancestor patriots rejected despair and kept faith with America that we are here to fight another day.
The ultimate answer to the illiberalism ascendant on college campuses and elsewhere and to the rampaging anti-Americanism of our elite culture will have to be found in the common sense and decency of the American people. The rule of law, federalism, and the protections of the U.S. Constitution continue to be bulwarks against the most ambitious designs of ideological fanatics. Families, churches and synagogues, neighborhoods, and voluntary associations — all under pressure — remain the foundations of society, more relevant to the lives of individuals and communities than social media or edicts from Washington.
In protecting and revitalizing America, there is no substitute for the hard work of public persuasion.
We represent various points on the conservative spectrum and may travel under different labels. We certainly have disagreements about policy questions and priorities. But we are united as devotees of America. We continue to be thankful for her, and we are determined to defend her and lift her up.
See the signatories here.