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Posted By David Kupelian On 03/07/2005 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
This is a true story about America, about how the magnificent Judeo-Christian culture of my youth – which represented the hope of liberty for the world’s oppressed – was so easily turned into mush in my lifetime.
Let me begin with a brief story about my father. When he was only three years old, my dad was sentenced to death. That’s right. The Turkish government was engaged in a deliberate campaign to force him, his mother and infant sister, along with hundreds of thousands of other Armenians, into the Syrian desert where they would die of starvation, disease, or worse – torture and death at the hands of brutal soldiers or roving bandits.
It was 1915, at the peak of Islamic Turkey’s gruesome, premeditated genocide of the Christian Armenian population in that country. Those not butchered outright – the men were often killed immediately – were driven into the Derzor, the Syrian desert east of Aleppo, to perish. My father’s father, a doctor, had been pressed into the Turkish army against his will, to head a medical regiment.
“One of my earliest recollections, I was not quite three years old at the time,” my dad, Vahey Kupelian, told me shortly before he died in 1988, was that “the wagon we were in had tipped over, my hand was broken and bloody, and mother was looking for my infant sister who had rolled away. The next thing I remember after that, mother was on a horse, holding my baby sister, and had me sitting behind her, saying, ‘Hold on tight, or the Turks will get you!”
The three of them rode off on horseback, ending up in Aleppo, one of the gateways to the desert deportation and certain death. Once there, my grandmother Mary, always a daring and resourceful woman, realized what she needed to do.
After asking around to find out who was in charge, she bluffed her way into getting an audience with Aleppo’s governor-general. Since her Armenian husband was in the service of the Turkish army – albeit by force – she played her one and only card, brazenly telling the governor-general, “I demand my rights as the wife of a Turkish army officer!”
“What are those rights?”
“I want commissary privileges and two orderlies,” she answered.
In this way, by masquerading as a Turkish officer’s wife, Mary bluffed her way out of certain death, saving not only her own life and those of her son and daughter, but also the lives of her husband’s two brothers, whom she immediately deputized as “orderlies.” The group then succeeded in sneaking several other family members out of harm’s way, and my grandmother kept them all from starving by obtaining food from the commissary. Thus was my family spared, although little Adolphina, my father’s infant sister, was unable to survive the harshness of those times, and died shortly thereafter.
As for my grandfather, Simeon Kupelian: After an unusually bloody battle between the Turks and the British, he and the other doctors, all Armenians, tended to the Turkish wounded as best they could. Immediately after this, a squadron of Turkish gunmen came and killed them all, including my grandfather.
One and a half million Armenians perished in those years at the hands of the Turkish regime, the 20th century’s first genocide.
On returning to their beautiful home in Marash a couple of years later, Mary and son Vahey, who was then about 6 years old, found it had been ransacked. Their fine tapestries had been pulled off the walls, ripped and urinated on. Everything that could be carried out had been stolen, and everything else had been deliberately broken. Everything. Every single pane of glass in the French doors was broken, even handles on drawers were destroyed.
Eventually, the hardships of their life led my father and grandmother to do what millions of persecuted people have done over the last few hundred years. They made the long voyage to the one country that welcomed them and offered them freedom and an opportunity for a new life – the most blessed nation on earth, their promised land: America.
Life wasn’t easy in this new land, but both mother and son managed to overcome many obstacles, learned English eagerly, built a life for themselves, went to college and pursued careers. Dad got married and had a family. I was the middle of three children; he provided for us, protected us, worried about us, loved us. He also rose to the top of his chosen profession – aeronautical engineering – becoming the Army’s “Chief Scientist for Ballistic Missile Defense.” He lived a good and full life in a blessed land.
That’s just one story – my story. Now multiply it by millions of similar cases of dispossessed and persecuted people coming to America, and you’ll have a vague idea of what America has long represented to the freedom-loving people of this world.
Born Greek-Armenian, my dad became an American, as did thousands of other Armenians fleeing the genocide. As did Jews fleeing the Nazi Holocaust, Chinese seeking freedom from totalitarianism, Vietnamese and Cambodians escaping from their war-ravaged land, and countless others coming to America for a better life – starting with the English Pilgrims that came here to escape religious persecution. In short, the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” have come to these shores from every land, speaking every language – but wanting to become Americans.
‘Mother of exiles’
Inscribed in bronze at the base of the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus’ transcendent 1883 poem, “The New Colossus,” captures the spirit of America’s big-heartedness and generosity perhaps more than anything else, except for “Lady Liberty” herself.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
There has always been something different about America, which enabled this magnanimous nation to wrap her arms around the “wretched refuse” of other nations.
This nation of immigrants was bound together by a spirit, you might say. For although one cannot become French or Chinese or Russian, one can become an American – by embracing that spirit.
Becoming a naturalized American citizen therefore meant more than passing the federal government’s screening process and stumbling through a few civics questions. It meant an implicit and heartfelt agreement to abide not only by the nation’s laws, but by its hidden, unwritten “laws” as well – the principles that made up the invisible but vital fabric of Western Civilization: the individual as citizen-sovereign; a balance of freedom and responsibility; unlimited opportunity – to succeed or fail; independence and self-reliance; tolerance; the work ethic; equality under the law; and other core Judeo-Christian values.
Underlying all of this, in turn, was the common belief – a belief so deep and unquestioned that it underpinned all of our major institutions – that there is a God, that He is the God of the Bible, that the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are the foundation of a good life and a great society, and that America had been uniquely blessed by that God. These were the underlying assumptions infusing America’s dominant culture.
All that started to change in the 1960s. Actually, the nation’s moral and cultural foundation had been under attack for decades, but the ’60s is when the attacks literally spilled out into America’s streets, resulting in unprecedented cultural chaos by decade’s end.
One of the first times I personally remember feeling the foundations of America tremble was in 1964 during my 9th-grade civics class. A girl – I don’t remember her name, but I think she was from Tennessee and she had a very thick southern accent – answered a question from the teacher by mentioning something about God.
“How do you know there is a God?” the teacher shot back.
It was like an earth tremor – just a faint quiver really, a precursor to the tidal waves to come a few years later – a smiling, casual, off-handed swipe at “the world as we knew it.”
How did the little southern girl know there was a God? Clearly taken aback, she answered the teacher earnestly, incredulously, her voice breaking: “Because … there is!” She had, quite naturally, offered up the best answer anyone could possibly give.
The teacher had questioned the unquestionable, injecting doubt into a room of impressionable young boys and girls. It was one of those moments you remember 40 years later because it created a spark, a momentary contact with another dimension – that alien dimension of cynicism and disbelief.
Within a few years, the gathering tides of rebellion against traditional America would come crashing down with great ferocity and on many shores. One key area was the Civil Rights Movement.
Despite the fact that America had long-since forsaken slavery, and – thanks to the movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., which culminated in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act – had outlawed segregation and made great strides in moving beyond racism altogether, a demand for “black studies” nevertheless arose in the nation’s colleges.
The idea was that past denigration and mistreatment of blacks necessitated special emphasis on their culture and accomplishments. “Black pride” was born and “black studies,” “black history” and the like proliferated through the nation’s university campuses.
Although most people didn’t comprehend it at the time, “black pride” and similar “liberation movements” did not arise out of the mainstream of the Civil Rights Movement, which had arrived, in King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, at the ultimate solution to racism: the “color-blind” society where people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This enlightened vision of America – which would have completed the promise of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” – was hijacked by forces of the ’60s radical left. These were people who did not want peace and racial harmony. They condemned racial integration as “Uncle Tomism” and “co-optation.” Their aim was to indict America as a racist oppressor as a means to foment division, revolution and societal transformation.
But all this was off the radar of most Americans, who, under the sway perhaps of the nation’s collective guilt over slavery and segregation, cautiously accepted “black studies.”
It didn’t end there, however. Soon there were “women’s studies” and “gay and lesbian” studies. Before long, the world of academia was awash in “multiculturalism.”
Wait a minute, you might ask, what’s wrong with multiculturalism? Doesn’t exposing students to other cultures and values serve to enrich their understanding of the world and its peoples?”
Of course. And there would be nothing wrong if that was what was actually going on.
In reality, however, as Robert Bork explains in “Slouching Towards Gomorrah,” multiculturalism had been conjured up solely to serve as a battering ram, “a philosophy of antagonism to America and the West,” an “attack on America, the European-American culture, and the white race, with special emphasis on white males …” The proof, he noted, is evident in the multicultural curriculum choices:
A curriculum designed to foster understanding of other cultures would study those cultures. Multiculturalism does not. Courses are not offered on the cultures of China or India or Brazil or Nigeria, nor does the curriculum require the study of languages without which foreign cultures cannot be fully understood. Instead the focus is on groups that, allegedly, have been subjected to oppression by American and Western civilization – homosexuals, American Indians, blacks, Hispanics, women, and so on. The message is not that all cultures are to be respected, but that European culture, which created the dominance of white males, is uniquely evil. Multiculturalism follows the agenda of modern liberalism, and it comes straight from the Sixties counterculture. But now, in American education, it is the dominant culture.
To fathom what’s been happening to America, you simply must understand that during the 1960s, the moral foundation of America came under a full-blown assault. The radicals of the ’60s – including, by the way, Bill and Hillary Clinton – have today either taken over or profoundly altered the key institutions they originally wanted to destroy, from government to the news media, from education to religion.
A generation later, the various “liberation” movements – “sexual liberation,” “women’s liberation,” “gay liberation” and so on – have blossomed into rampant infidelity, divorce and family breakdown, gender confusion, AIDS, abortion and other mammoth problems. Moreover, the multicultural madness that started in the ’60s has infused virtually all of American society with unending confusion.
Today, in the rarified but toxic air of multiculturalism and political correctness, all cultures and all values are of equal value: The most ignorant, oppressive, suffocating, women-hating culture, where young people’s hands and feet are amputated as punishment for petty offenses, is now worthy of equal respect to Western culture, which has provided most of the world’s knowledge, progress, food, medicine, technology, quality of life, representative government and liberty.
This virtual brainwashing of a generation has had its intended effect. New York Times journalist Richard Bernstein spent two years documenting the effects of multicultural ideology. The result, notes Bork, “is not an impressionistic book or one based on an ideological predisposition; it is a report of empirical findings.”
He points, for example, to the remarkable change in attitude towards Christopher Columbus between 1892 and 1992. Though not a single new fact about Columbus’ life and exploits had been uncovered, the country’s mood swung from one of uncritical adulation to one of loathing and condemnation, at least among the members of the “intellectual” class. The change was accomplished by the aggressive ideology of multiculturalism. The Columbus turnaround is merely a specific instance of more general alterations in our moral landscape.
Another example: Thanksgiving visitors to historic Plymouth Rock should be prepared for a shock, writes Douglas Phillips, president of Vision Forum. “If you walk fewer than a hundred yards from Plymouth Rock and ascend to Cole’s Hill, the magnificent burial ground of the 50 Pilgrims who perished during the first cold winter of 1620, you not only will encounter hundreds of demonstrators who gather on the last Thursday of every November to disabuse the memory of the Pilgrim fathers. But you also can read the new monument plaque that describes the devastating effect of Christianity on North America, the ‘genocide’ of Native Americans by the Pilgrims and the importance of treating Thanksgiving as a ‘National Day of Mourning.’”
This moral inversion caused by multiculturalism, which proclaims that all cultures are equal, has extended to virtually every area of society:
Britain’s Royal Navy went a step further, allowing an officer to conduct satanic rituals on board one of its ships. Chris Cranmer, a 24-year-old naval technician and non-commissioned officer on the frigate Cumberland, was given his own satanic altar where he could dress up in black robes and perform ceremonies to worship the devil using bells and candles. Cranmer says he’s a “Magistrate of the Society of the Onyx Star Black Guard,” and believes he is evil.
“From a military perspective, I believe in vengeance. If I were asked if I were evil, I would say yes,” he told London’s Daily Mail newspaper, which notes that permission to worship on board was granted the Satan-worshipper under equal-opportunities legislation.
As with religion, where good and evil now are afforded equal respect, so in the area of sexuality, what was bizarre and unmentionable a generation ago is today a civil right:
Even adult-child sex – euphemistically called “intergenerational sex” – is making surprising headway into the mainstream, based on today’s pervasive climate of moral equivalence among all forms of consensual “love.” Self-righteous child-molesters claim their cause is simply the latest in a long line of civil rights movements and eagerly anticipate the day society will shed its ancient taboos and grant full “sexual rights” to young children and the adults that “love” them.
This worldview whereby we declare all human cultures and moral codes, from the fairest to the foulest, to be equal in value is made possible only by the total abandonment of any objective standard of right and wrong.
Despite the fact that multiculturalism has rewritten history, demonized Western culture and turned civilization on its head for a generation, Americans for the most part just floated along with this charade, year after confusing year – until Sept. 11, 2001.
The otherworldly shock and horror that we experienced on that particular Tuesday morning was followed by a crash course in radical Islam – a very strange and menacing culture indeed.
We learned that those who wantonly murdered thousands of American civilians and threatened even greater destruction justified their acts as being required of them by Allah. We learned that “shaheeds” (martyrs) – those Muslims who die while killing “infidels” (“unbelievers,” primarily Jews but also Christians and Americans generally) in “jihad” or holy war – are indoctrinated, often from an early age, by radical Islamic clerics.
And what is the jihad message taught in so many mosques and madrassas (religious schools) throughout the Middle East? Just this: As soon as the first drop of your blood is shed in jihad, you will feel no pain, all your sins will be forgiven, and you will be transported instantly to paradise where you will recline comfortably for eternity on plush green cushions, to be lavished with the choicest meats, the finest wines and endless sex with 70 virgins. In addition, all of your family members will be admitted into heaven, as part of your reward.
We learned that our nation’s borders were scandalously unprotected and our immigration policies full of holes easily exploited by terrorists. We learned that our beloved country was targeted for even more horrific terror attacks – using biological, chemical or even nuclear weapons – by a maniacal cult of jihadists spread out over 60 nations. We learned that “terror cells” and “sleeper” suicide warriors were already in the U.S., intending to strike and inflict indiscriminate terror and death. We learned that a well-developed network of Islamic terror supporters was operating freely within the open American system, conducting fundraisers and providing support for known terror groups – in their mosques, meeting halls, and even on American college campuses.
How exactly did the United States of America “become the scene of one of the most hideously bedeviled conflicts of all time?” asked New York University literature professor Carol Iannone in the New York Press.
Quite simply, it happened because America lost its grasp of its own historic character, and embraced “diversity” as a national goal. In the name of equality and nondiscrimination we invited mass immigration from every part of the globe, and made no demands on the newcomers to become Americans. In fact, we gave up our American core, adopted multiculturalism and declared all cultures equal. We invited the new groups to celebrate themselves while we cravenly permitted libelous denigration of our own past. Like fools we prated that diversity is our strength, when common sense and all of history tell us that strength comes from unity.
Absolute nondiscrimination meant we no longer enforced standards, made judgments, distinguished between good and evil, friend and foe. We grew lazy, stupid and careless – about our borders, about national security, even about previous terrorist attacks against us. We worried over our “hate crimes” and our “racial profiling,” while men resided in our midst who seethed with murderous fury even against our children and plotted our destruction. Now we have a fifth column, fear further assaults and labor under a draconian security regime that is changing the nature of our lives.
It’s easy to blame ’60s radicals, university Marxists, cowardly politicians and an elitist press for today’s multicultural madness. But the fact is, millions of Americans have bought into it. Why?
Isn’t it obvious? Since the 1960s, America – from her government to her schools and even to her churches – has steadily fallen away from the Judeo-Christian values that previously illuminated and gave life and strength to the nation’s institutions. This is equivalent to turning out the country’s lights: And when you turn out the lights, everything looks the same color in the dark – that’s multiculturalism.
Moreover, no longer guided by universal standards of right and wrong, Americans have had nothing more reliable than their own feelings to guide them in the moral realm. And as modern marketing well knows, when people are operating primarily on the basis of feelings and emotions, they’re wide open to every sort of manipulation imaginable.
Remember, marketing is the application of the knowledge of human psychology to the task of persuasion. And what psychology has taught the marketing world is that the most powerful persuasion of all takes place not through above-the-board appeals to reason, but by directly targeting the emotions.
By way of illustration, cigarettes were once sold on the basis of “great taste” and “fine tobacco.” Not all that convincing – but then, there aren’t a whole lot of “benefits” and “features” to sell with cigarettes. Then along came the “Marlboro Man.” Created in 1955 for Philip Morris Co. by advertising giant Leo Burnett, this icon of the quintessential American cowboy is probably the most famous brand image to appear in our lifetimes. The rugged, masculine trademark made Marlboro the world’s best-selling cigarette.
What does the “Marlboro Man” – a rancher on a horse – have to do with cigarettes? Nothing, except that the ubiquitous cowboy evoked within millions of men feelings of masculinity, independence, wide open spaces and freedom. So successful has been the decades-old campaign that on some ads the image is reduced to little more than a saddle and a splash of red, but – like Pavlov’s bell – it still subtly makes people salivate for the mythical place called Marlboro Country.
For the last generation, commercial marketing has aimed not so much at extolling the intrinsic value or usefulness of a product to consumers, but rather, at conditioning the consumer to associate the product with a particular feeling.
Bottom line: If the marketer can elicit in you a feeling – the right feeling – he has won. Game over.
With this principle in mind, let’s look at how the public is so easily persuaded to abandoned long-held loyalties. How are people so easily persuaded that Columbus, a national hero for 500 years, and the Pilgrims, revered and studied by generations of school children, were actually genocidal racists? How are our former sentiments opposing homosexuality or Wicca so readily transformed into “enlightened tolerance” and open support?
Pick a topic – let’s say, same-sex marriage.
Imagine you’re participating in a televised one-on-one debate. You’re defending traditional marriage. There you are on one side of the set, and facing off against you is a lesbian. Not just any lesbian, but an attractive, young, eloquent, educated, sensitive, well-dressed lesbian – and to all appearances a fine human being. She looks you right in the eye and says, in a disarmingly mainstream and reasonable tone: “I love my country, I obey its laws and I pay my taxes. I’m an American, and have all the same rights you do. In fact, I’ve served my country in the military and have put my life on the line. I’ve lived monogamously with my partner for 18 years. We truly love each other and want nothing more than to be married and to live out our lives in peace and happiness – just like you. What’s the matter with that? Why shouldn’t we be allowed to be married? How does it hurt you?”
You have 30 seconds to respond before the commercial break.
How can you neutralize the powerful, positive emotions your opponent has skillfully invoked? Will you offer up a statement about the dangers of altering the traditional definition of marriage? Will you point out that children do better with both a mother and father? Will you say the Bible clearly condemns homosexual acts?
The debate will be won by whoever touches the most feelings, the strongest emotions of sympathy in the audience.
Therefore, unless you’re an extraordinarily gifted and charismatic debater – you lose. And when you lose, millions of people out in TV land are pulled a few inches further away from common sense values, and a few inches closer to embracing, or at least resigning themselves to accepting, same-sex marriage.
The lesbian debater appeals to Americans’ basic traits of tolerance, inclusiveness, fair-mindedness and honor toward veterans. Every statement she makes tends to create in the viewer positive feelings, not toward same-sex marriage per se, but toward her – yet it’s the viewers’ attitudes toward same-sex marriage that will change.
Each hidden persuasion is like “money” accruing in the “emotional bank account” of the listener – and when there are enough funds (strong feelings of sympathy) in the listener’s account, he or she has been “persuaded” of the justness of these two women being married. Or if not persuaded, at least “neutralized” in terms of offering any effective opposition to same-sex marriage.
Watch how the feelings accumulate in the listener’s “bank account” until they reach critical mass: “I love my country” (patriotism – cha-ching). “I obey its laws and I pay my taxes” (responsible citizen – cha-ching). “I’m an American, and have all the same rights you do” (appeal to fairness – cha-ching). “I’ve served my country in the military and have put my life on the line” (she’s a veteran! – double cha-ching). “I’ve lived monogamously with my partner for 18 years” (loyalty – cha-ching). “We truly love each other and want nothing more than to be married and to live out our lives in peace and happiness – just like you” (true love – cha-ching). “Why shouldn’t we be allowed to be married? How does it hurt you?” (personal intimidation – cha-ching).
Now imagine how the television viewers are reacting to this debate.
Many of us in the audience find our feelings have been stirred by the lesbian’s touching appeal. We like her. We want her to be happy. Our positive feelings toward her start to subtly eat away at our long-held conviction that same-sex marriage is wrong. Those warm emotions give rise to a stream of thought-whispers that orbit our minds at light speed: Maybe I’ve judged these people too harshly just because they’re different. Maybe they could make each other happy if they were married. After all, heterosexual married couples have lots of problems, and half of them get divorced – so what difference does it really make? We start to doubt our prior beliefs, wondering if they’re as hallowed as we’ve thought, or rather just some antiquated religious notions about sex and sin that don’t really apply in today’s world. Then the thought occurs to us, as though from divine revelation: Don’t we all long to love and be loved? Maybe that is the ultimate truth. She’s right, it doesn’t hurt anyone else for her to be married to her partner. It’s mean-spirited to deny other human beings their happiness. I like her. I want her to be happy.
If we were anchored in the Judeo-Christian moral standards that are responsible for the singular success of the Western World, all this emotional persuasion would be for naught. We’d easily discern the truth of the debate and just be amused at the feeble attempts at manipulating our feelings. But after several decades of public education that reflects not the values of the nation’s founders, but those of ’60s radicals and reformers, millions of Americans are just plain confused.
The farther we stray from the rock of unchanging spiritual principles, the easier it is to get swept away by clever appeals to our feelings – including the need to prove to others that we are “tolerant.” Increasingly, that means “tolerant” of evil.
There’s no end to the variety of emotional manipulations to which we fall prey, and there are no words to describe the stunning ease with which we have been seduced to throw away that which is most precious to us.
In C.S. Lewis’ seven-volume “Chronicles of Narnia,” the poignant and brilliantly insightful final book, “The Last Battle,” describes how the good-hearted but na?ve inhabitants of Narnia throw away their cherished civilization – losing both their lives and their world itself – by falling for a shabby ruse perpetrated by a few cunning and unprincipled characters When you read it, you can’t help thinking, “Oh my gosh, this isn’t even a very clever con game; it’s crude, full of contradictions, and easily seen through from a thousand different directions.” You just want to shake them and say, “Don’t you see what you’re falling for?”
Nevertheless, as the con men ruthlessly play on the doubts and fears of the Narnia folk, their lies take hold and the light of civilization goes out.
Haven’t we in America done exactly the same thing? Look at the shabby ruse we’ve fallen for. We’ve traded Western Civilization for vain delusions, cheap thrills and laughably illogical doctrines. Like the townsfolk in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” we all know the king is wearing no clothes – we can plainly see the truth – but we play along out of fear and intimidation. We’re afraid of confrontation, of losing the love and approval of others, of being labeled “judgmental,” “racist,” “bigoted” or “homophobic.” So, we quietly allow our minds to be twisted, as we surrender our former beliefs and bequeath an unknown country to our children and grandchildren.
How strange. Out of the thousands of years of suffering and oppression that comprise human history, a light burns brightly for just a couple hundred years. The American experiment – a revolutionary idea that the common man can be free, master of his own government, so long as he himself is ruled by God. For a short time this brilliant young country dazzles all the world and all of history, not just with its power and productivity and progress, but with its goodness.
And then, out of pure hatred – the same rage and rebellion institutionalized in communism, Nazism and all the other “isms” that have paved the world’s roads with corpses throughout the last century – haters of Truth scheme to extinguish this shining light. So they concoct an absurd, fantastic ruse – that cannibal societies are as worthwhile as Western ones, that animals should have the same rights as human beings, that white people are inherently racist and oppressive, that sexual perversion is perfectly normal and noble, each passing year bringing new and more bizarre delusions to be held up as truth.
How much stranger still that we’ve bought it.
Can we get the real America back? Only time will tell. But if we do, it very likely will be due to the efforts of the current generation, which still has some memory of the real America.
The “great melting pot” – E. pluribus unum – depended on an ideal. But the melting pot become corrupted without this guiding spirit. Millions now residing here are not loyal to American values. Rather than unified and “color-blind,” the nation is divided and segregated. On top of everything else, America literally has been invaded and we are at war.
Recognizing they must take rapid steps to reverse course, policy makers entertain options for better policing the nation’s borders, screening potential immigrants and re-evaluating those already in. But just over the horizon is the more painful work – of revisiting the madness of multiculturalism, political correctness, rebellion against America’s founding values and the spiritual confusion that rebellion has caused. But revisit them we must, since it is they that have led to both the present invasion and the resulting near-paralysis over how to deal with the problem.
If we don’t change course, America will end up the loser. Even if the current “terror war” went away – if it were all only a bad dream from which we awoke with the World Trade Center towers still standing – we would still lose America to the long-term invasion and conversion of our basic identity that has been under way for decades.
Toward the end of her life, my grandmother Mary Kupelian wanted to travel overseas one last time to visit her old-country relatives. I went with her, as her bodyguard, you might say. I will never forget the time I spent with her and those in her village – virtually all of whom, it seemed, were somehow related to me. I will never forget her stories about what she and my father went through during the Armenian genocide, and I’ll never forget what a survivor she was, to pick up the few shattered pieces of their lives and to come to America to start over.
And I will never ever forget the night we finally returned to the United States. Our plane from Athens arrived at New York’s Kennedy Airport too late for us to make our connection to Washington, D.C., so Grandmom and I slept in the airport terminal that night, up in the second floor lounge. We were both tired, and very happy to be back in America.
After a while, Grandmom shuffled off to the ladies’ room. On her return, she described for me – her old woman’s voice brimming with excitement – how everything in the restroom was so clean and shiny and modern, how there was hot and cold running water, how everything worked properly – so totally different from where we had just been. And she said she felt like kneeling down and kissing America – right there on the floor of the restroom of JFK airport – so grateful was she for being back in the USA.
My grandmother, who decades earlier as a “homeless, tempest-tossed” immigrant had found refuge in this generous land, had once more come home through the “golden door.”
To this day, whether due to some special blessing from God or just because there’s so much contrasting darkness throughout the rest of the world, America remains – despite unrelenting assaults by enemies within and without – the national light of the world. May she always remain so.
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