There was a time when being pro-America was a given for politicians in both main parties. Of course, President Reagan put it beautifully when he talked of a "shining city on a hill." But I also loved Bill Clinton's great line, "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America"
But this past week, this July 4, we saw that those days are gone. Yes, we still have a Republican president who, like Ronald Reagan, is obviously proud of America and happy to say it, to celebrate it. But today's Democrats? No. They're embarrassed by America, far from celebrating America. They want to tear it down and turn it into something else.
"Donald Trump, I believe, is incapable of celebrating what makes America great because I don't think he gets it," former Vice President Joe Biden said.
Okay. Here's some of what the president actually said:
President Trump: Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told: The story of America ... It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world, and our nation is stronger today than it ever was before.
I think you'll find, Joe China, that President Trump "gets" what makes America great better than a knackered old swamp creature who took billions of dollars in bribes in the form of payments to his family businesses from America's No. 1 enemy. You are the last person to lecture anyone on patriotism. #JoeChina!
But it wasn't just Biden. It was all of them. "How dare you celebrate America" cried the left. "It's not who we are."
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. and 2020 presidential candidate: It's just not who we are as Americans. We don't thump our chest, put tanks in the streets, fly jets over the mall to prove our strength.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, presidential candidate: I think reducing our nation to tanks and shows of muscle just makes us look like the kind of loudmouth guy at the bar.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y and 2020 presidential candidate - I think it's a waste of money. You know he's having a parade for himself, putting tanks out there for himself. A if he really cares about the men and women who are serving our nation, he would be investing in higher pay, better housing and better health care.
By the way, that's exactly what he has done, unlike President Obama, you total charlatan, Kirsten Gillibrand. But the big point is captured in that smug platitude trotted out there by the ridiculous Eric Swalwell and the rest of the left these days: "It's not who we are."
For once, that phrase told us something useful about the Democrats, just not in the way they intended.
The proud Americans who stood in the pouring rain in front of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate their country on July 4 - no, that's not who the Democrats are. The millions more who watched at home and thought finally, we have a president who loves America as much as we do and isn't embarrassed to say so - no, that's not who the Democrats are.
The Democrats won't celebrate America because their new ideology demands that they denigrate America, not least with their reckless, divisive lies about concentration camps at the border, collusion with Russia, and "Hitler" in the White House. Today's Democrats are engaged in a concerted effort to smear this country at home and in the eyes of the world. When they tell you they don't want to celebrate America because *it's not who we are," believe them.
President Trump, by contrast, laid out exactly why we should celebrate. The American spirit he talked about on Independence Day has driven some of the most profound human achievements in history, from medical breakthroughs to artistic glories to engineering and technological marvels. American ingenuity has continually confounded what the world thinks is possible.
But why? How? It's not just chance or luck. There are other countries with other people just as talented and ingenious. Here's my perspective, as a recent arrival: It is America's greatest achievement that has made all the others possible. And that is the genius framework constructed by the Founders and expressed in the founding documents, all in service of that simple, but revolutionary idea -- liberty under the law.
It is the guarantee of individual liberty that gave the pioneers the confidence to set out into the unknown, that gave the entrepreneurs the belief they could build something better, that convinced communities they could govern themselves. Power to the people. Decentralized and limited government. The rule of law. These are the foundation of the American spirit, and they have paved the way, not only for America's long-lasting democracy but also our world-beating economic system, in which investment, innovation, and above all, success, are rewarded, not punished.
Today's Democrats are engaged in a concerted effort to smear this country at home and in the eyes of the world. When they tell you they don't want to celebrate America because "it's not who we are," believe them.
And look at the difference it makes when we have an administration that believes in those American economic values: Another incredible jobs report last week, incomes rising fastest for those who were left behind under the Democrats, record low unemployment and a fairer economy. For example, the gap between white and African-American unemployment has shrunk by nearly a half since 2016. The Obama years gave us lower growth and higher inequality. With President Trump's pro-America economics, we have the exact opposite: higher growth and lower inequality
Those facts don't matter to the Democrats. They've been captured by an extremist ideology that is fundamentally anti-American. You saw it at their debates the other week, and it connects everything - their economic policies, environmental policies, health care policies - and yes, their hysterical reaction to President Trump's "Salute to America."
Not celebrating America, but denigrating America.
Not power to the people but power for themselves and the bureaucratic elite.
Not decentralized government, but everything controlled from Washington, D.C.
The Democrats don't want limited government; they want endless, relentless, extravagant intervention by an all-knowing all-seeing all-powerful state. And here's perhaps the biggest change from the Democrats of the past. Today's Democrats don't even want the most vital element of the American inheritance: The rule of law.
At their first presidential debate, almost all of the 2020 candidates backed the decriminalization of illegal immigration. Last Wednesday one of them, Sen Cory Booker, even escorted migrants towards the U.S. border himself. Even Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s former Homeland Security secretary, now says the Democrats are effectively for open borders.
The Democrats point to the Statue of Liberty and say that immigration control is un-American. But they forget one vital thing. It's not just liberty. It's liberty under the law. And it is their blatant, thuggish assault on the rule of law that is truly un-American
Let me end on a personal note about America. I'm an immigrant here, just as my parents were in England after they fled communism in Hungary. I've always been pro-immigration - how could I be anything else? But it's especially those of us who believe in the virtues and benefits of immigration who should want to see it properly-controlled. Because public consent for immigration depends on government control of immigration. That's why immigration has to be done the right way, according to the rules.
That's certainly how I've done it since I moved here with my family seven years ago. And I thought this July 4 weekend was a good moment to let you know that I've now begun the process of applying for U.S. citizenship. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the opportunities this country has given me and the welcome you've all shown me. And now I'm looking forward one day to celebrating Independence Day as an American.
If you'll have me, that is.
Adapted from Steve Hilton's monologue on "The Next Revolution" on July 7, 2019.