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Know Jack # 402 Make Mine a Double

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

“Americanism: attachment or allegiance to the traditions, interests or ideals of the U.S.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I belong to an organization that says it stands for Americanism and I believe they do. I also realize that today, more than ever before, people have differing opinions about what constitutes Americanism. Looking up the definition in the dictionary helped clear up some things about why that is true and why new twists on Americanism are not just off base, but do not fit the meaning of the word.

What I have to say will not please everyone, but then, that has never been my goal. What I do hope to accomplish is for you to think about the subject. So, there are three elements to Americanism, traditions, interests, and ideals.

Traditions and interests tend to change over time. While it is the unwritten duty of young people to challenge the traditions and interests of their elders, the pace and effectiveness of both have accelerated over the last sixty years or so. To be fair, the number of people who admit to being naïve and downright stupid as youths seems to be a constant theme of aging. The degree of importance attached to traditions and interests is also subjective.

What is not subjective, except to the willfully blind and the enemies of Americanism, are the ideals of this country. The reason for the objective nature of our ideals is that they were written down before there was a country. Regardless of a person’s perception of the people who put pen and ink to paper, we have their guiding principles preserved for us.

Chief among these documents is our Declaration of Independence. It is the founding document and outlines the goals of those who sought separation from England and the ideals upon which the new country would be based. The Constitution, which came years later, was an outline of how those ideals would be put into practice.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the ideals everyone knows. They are not the sole ideals listed. Critics who claim the document is too dated to be of use readily point to the complaints lodged against King George. They say we’re free now, why do those complaints, which make up the bulk of the Declaration, matter?

Well, they matter because things like: trial by jury, an independent judiciary, the right to a trial, a writ of habeas corpus, confiscation of weapons, a free press, and avoiding the consolidation of the power of government in the hands of one person tend to matter to Americans. Those ideas are crucial to the just application of the founding ideals. The manner in which we serve the ideal and the degree to which we can achieve it may be questioned. The ideals themselves are the heart of true Americanism. To abandon our ideals is to cease to be American.

There was one last binding ideal of note. They were willing to place their lives, their property, and their future in one another’s hands with only a pledge of their sacred honor to seal the deal.

My apologies if this is hard to read. It seems black is no longer an acceptable font color at Wix. Let the buyer beware.

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