Yesterday, I talked about the first of the three emergencies that I am alarmed about, climate change. Today, I’ll speak of the second emergency, nationalism.
Charles de Gaulle put it succinctly: “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
I do love my own people, my fellow Americans, and I love my country. My willingness to risk my life repeatedly during the Vietnam war testifies to that love in a way that no other actions could have. And I have long understood that American patriotism encompasses, among other things, a profound concern for the well being of our allied countries. It is unmistakably clear to me that peace in Europe, following the two world wars that killed millions, is based on the mutual concern that nations, including the U.S., have for one another. To put American first and neglect the welfare of our allies—all in the name of nationalism—invites the end of peace and a return to world war.
And yet President Trump has declared himself to be a nationalist. His motto of “America First” dominates his foreign policy. He insults our historic allies—who worked with us to establish and maintain peace after World War II—and compliments blood-thirsty dictators. He is leading us on a path to destruction.
We all must strive to elect patriots, those who want to work with the rest of the civilized world, to lead us. We must oppose nationalism wherever it raises its ugly head. We must support those among our elected officials who seek a peace shared with the rest of the world. And we must strenuously oppose Trump and his nationalism. Our survival depends on it.
To be continued next Monday.