Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The death of citizenship and other awkward moments in liberal history

by Jeffry Gardner

Being a Citizen of the United States or even a citizen of the United States -- the Constitution delineates between types of citizenship attainable here by using capital letters -- has genuine value. Today it is under systematic and, in some cases, calculated attack, and its true worth is eroding with each assault. Really.
Some in our land believe that borders, sovereignty, national citizenship and such are obsolete, man-made constraints placed upon us in an effort to build empires, wage wars, and oppress other peoples. We’re all citizens of the world, aren’t we? Can’t we grab a Coke, hold hands, and sing?

This is sort of a Gene Roddenberry philosophy of rot that serves a Star Trek episode or a leftist American Studies class well but gives short shrift to advances in civilization made possible only by the discipline, order and societal unity nationality affords.

The nearly universal notion today that slavery is wrong was achieved through national campaigns -- driven primarily by Christian efforts in Western Civilizations. What started in British churches evolved into government policies in Britain and the United States, and, as nations, they brought tremendous influence to bear on this moral depravity.

Today it seems we either take sovereignty and citizenship for granted, fail to realize the benefits they offer our society, or both. This lack of appreciation has created a vacuum -- and politicians abhor a vacuum.
That’s allowed liberal elites to almost unanimously dismiss the “illegal” part of the illegal immigration problem. Setting aside their “state of emergency” grandstanding, Governors Bill Richardson and Janet Napolitano have both championed giving illegal immigrants scholarships and in-state tuition, more health care benefits and the like -- rewards formerly reserved for citizens. Look. No matter how they spin it, Richardson, Napolitano and other liberals are offering incentives for breaking the law.

Nineteen hundred miles away, and polls indicating that a majority of lawbreakers would vote Democratic, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are advocating giving felons the right to vote. Sweet. Of course, you need to understand these felons once had the right to vote. They tossed it away.

Perhaps Sens. Kerry and Clinton don’t quite grasp the whole good citizen idea. We once taught that voting was the jewel of citizenship, and a privilege enjoyed by those who proved responsible and dedicated to the welfare of our society.

Murder, rape, steal, commit heinous acts of violence or corruption against your fellow citizens and you lose privileges. Like voting.

Citizenship isn’t a fad. Chances are you or someone in your family has paid a price for your citizenship. And with every law you obey, every tax dollar you send to Uncle Sam, every “play ball” you yell at the end of the National Anthem you’re proving you have a special right to the privileges it offers.

You owe it yourself and your family not to let slick opportunists whittle it away into meaninglessness.