This week during the NBA restart in Orlando, a relatively unknown player found himself thrust into the spotlight. Jonathan Isaac, a support player for the Orlando Magic, distinguished himself on the court in a very different way, and national press took notice. Isaac, a black man, was the only player or coach to stand for the national Anthem this week.
Would you have believed those words if you read them a few years ago? An entire American professional sports league is effectively boycotting the national anthem, and the outlier, the behavior labeled as taboo, is a simple showing of respect for our nation that until very recently was ubiquitous. How has this happened?
Modern liberalism to this point has largely been defined by fighting for those on the margins of society. It has championed racial minorities, the Gay community, illegal aliens, and transgendered people. All of these are human beings, made in the image of God. Whether or not I agree with each group all the time, or with their public policy aims, I recognize that they deserve defense and dignity in our society as Americans. However, at some point the aim of the liberal has shifted from normalizing the margins, to marginalizing the normal. They have gone on the attack against us and our values.
It hasn’t happened overnight. Kaepernick knelt for the anthem, and we kept watching. Gillette blasted masculinity, and we kept buying. Media lied and misled, but we kept reading. For some time the common man felt he did not have a voice in our country anymore, enter Donald Trump. We have become accustomed to media, Hollywood and intelligentsia disregarding is, and pretending as if the values and things we hold dear are archaic and outmoded. But it has gone beyond that. Now everyday Americans are being threatened and silenced into capitulation, at the risk of being “canceled.”
For centuries liberals have been the true champions and guardians of free speech. They purported that the answer to bad speech wasn’t censorship, but more good speech. But media and academia have become corrupt, and the champions of diversity have capitulated to the mob, and now enforce mass censorship. Ideas and constitutions that were once confined to Che Guevera t-shirt wearing college radicals are now commonplace among editors and professors. We are being deplatformed.
So what is our recourse? Business as usual will not be enough. While we must win the war at the ballot box, that will only stay the rising tide of radicalism, but not reverse the trajectory this country has been on since the 1960s. We need a revival. We have a spiritual problem in this country that runs deeper than politics. In his masterpiece Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville searched for the secret to American greatness.
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Before we can make America Great Again, we have to make America good again.