Politics & Policy

It’s a Civil War: What We Do Now

Seven steps toward reclaiming America's values.

A terrible thing happened to America on Sunday, March 21, 2010. The country took its biggest step ever down a road diametrically opposed to its original intent of keeping the state small so that the individual can be free and great.

In this unprecedented crisis of values, this is what needs to be done:

1. Know and teach America’s core values.

We got to this point because over the past few generations, Americans have forgotten the values that have made America distinctive and great. Even the “greatest generation” failed to communicate them. People who do not understand American ideals — especially small government — now dominate our schools, our entertainment media, and our news media.

In a nutshell, those values are what I call the American Trinity: “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and “E Pluribus Unum.” The Left has successfully made war on all three — substituting secularism for God and religion in as much of American life as possible; substituting equality (of result) for liberty; and for “E Pluribus Unum,” substituting its opposite, “multiculturalism.” (My own video on this subject, titled “The American Trinity,” can be seen at www.prageru.com. Please view it and forward it.)

2. Recognize that we are fighting the Left, not liberals.

Liberalism believed in American exceptionalism; the Left not only does not believe in it, but opposes it. (President Obama, when asked if he believes in American exceptionalism, replied, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”)

Liberalism believed in creating wealth; the Left is interested in redistributing it. Liberalism believed in a strong defense. The Left believes in cutting defense and relying on a strong United Nations.

3. Democrats should be referred to as Social Democrats.

This is not meant to be cute, let alone a slur. But calling Democrats Social Democrats is an effective way of reminding Americans that there is no longer any difference between what is now known as the Democratic party and the Social Democratic parties of Europe. When the Democratic party returns to its roots as a liberal, not left-wing, party, we will happily resume calling the party by its original name. However, since no Democrat can cite a significant difference between the Democratic party and the SD parties, there is no good reason not to use the more accurate nomenclature.

4. Work tirelessly to repeal the bill.

We must single-mindedly work to repeal the government health plan. We all know that it is difficult to repeal entitlements, because they are like drugs and it is very difficult to wean people off drugs. But it is not impossible. We need to warn our fellow Americans that entitlements will do to America what drugs eventually do to addicts.

All Republicans must run for office on the “repeal” issue. Even when they lose, the difference between Right and Left, between Republicans and Social Democrats, will have been made clear; and clarity is our best friend.

5. Our motto: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.”

I used this phrase in addressing the Republican members of Congress. It has become widely used, including by Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.) on the House floor during the Congressional debate on Sunday. It encapsulates this epic battle of American values versus leftist values. Every movement needs a motto. I nominate this.

6. Do not let other matters distract us.

Neither Republicans nor conservatives are united on every issue facing America. Immigration is one example. But we are united on the big-government-vs.-free-individuals issue, which, more than anything else, has defined America. If we allow any other domestic issue to divide us, we will lose.

And here’s why: If Americans forget what America stands for, it won’t help us if there is not one illegal immigrant here. And if we do remember what it means to be American, we can handle anything.

7. Acknowledge that we are in a non-violent civil war.

I write the words “civil war” with an ache in my heart. But we are in one.

Thank God this civil war is non-violent. But the fact is that the Left and the rest of the country share almost no values. The American value system and the leftist value system are irreconcilable. If the Left wins, American values lose. If American values win, the Left loses.

After Sunday’s vote, for the first time in American history, one could no longer confidently believe that the American system will prevail. And if we don’t fight for it, we don’t deserve it.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.

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