What Is a Nation—And How Can We Protect Ours?

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “nation” in several senses, but the United States certainly meets this one:

A territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status.

Our nation, the United States of America, faces some tough times. Our President appears to be sliding daily further into dementia, his understudy is incompetent, and the entire Executive Branch is caught up in a bribery, influence-peddling, and money-laundering scandal that has the ghost of Huey Long looking on with envy. It’s not a stretch to say the future of the nation is in doubt.

How has a nation as big and as diverse (in the real sense, not in the ‘diversity of melanin content but not in thought’ sense passed around by Leftists) gotten along for over 250 years now?

Well, we haven’t always gotten along. Americans can be a contentious lot. But we’ve managed, minus one short interval, to keep the Union together, so far. So, to look at the continuation of our Republic, it might be useful to consider one question:

What Makes a Nation?

A nation is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory. That’s a pretty good working definition. But what makes a nation last?  Let’s kick that around some.

There are four things a nation must have to remain a nation:

  • National Commonality
  • National Cohesion
  • Trust
  • Liberty

Now, let’s look at each of those and apply them to the United States today, now, in July of 2023.

National Commonality

We’ve always been a nation built of parts. But the national motto, E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) no longer seems to apply. Our nation is fractured along partisan lines. As recently as the Eighties, the two major political parties could find common ground on at least a few issues, but today?

Refusal to accept the outcomes of elections is now the order of the day. The political Left is particularly to blame; if they can’t achieve goals through the usual means, they resort to judge-shopping or, recently, outright intimidation and violence. In the Eighties and early Nineties, we were all Americans.  Now, there are voices calling not to reform our nation, but to tear it down – and some of them are in Congress.

National Cohesion

The United States is probably more fractured than it has been at any time since 1865. The divide then was along geographical lines, North vs. South; now, the divide is largely along cultural lines, urban v. suburban/rural.

And, yes, some of this is along racial lines as well.  Major cities tend to be more “diverse” in skin tone, although not so much in ideology. Small towns and rural areas tend to be populated by people of pallor. And there is now a distinct tendency for urban denizens to automatically assume “racism” on the part of the small-town/rural dwellers, even though the term “racist” has been so over-used as to be meaningless. Any disagreement, now, with radical progressive viewpoints is labeled as “racist,” even as nobody points out the actual racism involved in viewing whites (or anyone else, for that matter) as fundamentally flawed and evil, due not to the content of their character, but rather the color of their skin.


I remember when I was a young man in the Seventies and Eighties, I operated on the assumption that almost everyone I met was probably a decent person, and tended to view strangers as friends I hadn’t met yet. That may have been my rural, farm-boy upbringing, and probably involved a little naivete even then.

Now, though?

I’ve always been more comfortable out in the woods than in a city.  But now, our major cities are descending into chaos. I’m not just talking about riots and arson; look at the feces-laden, discarded-needle messes that San Francisco and Los Angeles have descended into.  People venture into some of these places at their peril because a plurality of the people in those cities, based on all available evidence, are not decent people, and should probably be avoided.

And don’t get me started on our political class. Bribery and corruption are now the order of the day. Politicians argue and argue, not to “do the business of the American people,” as they claim, but out of naked partisanship; if a proposal, policy, or investigation helps the side they are for it; if not, they fight it tooth and nail, no matter what it is, no matter how hypocritical it makes them.


Are you kidding?

We now live in a country where you must beg permission from the government to cut someone’s hair or paint their nails.

Various levels of government confiscate a portion of our income every year with the threat of force (try not paying your taxes and see how long it is before they send men with guns out looking for you). The average American now labors until sometime in April or May every year, just to pay taxes.

It has even come to the point where, in many states, you must beg the government for permission to exercise a Constitutionally defined right. And I’m not talking just about the Second Amendment, but increasingly in the post-COVID world, even the First. They’re after the next generation, too, using the power to fine/punish schools who defy the groomer party line.

And So:

Someone once said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Our house is becoming increasingly divided, to the point where these four qualities, the ones that make a nation, may no longer apply.

As I’ve said before and will say again, I’m hoping I don’t live to see the whole thing come apart. I’m afraid my children and grandchildren will. And, after the events of the last few years, I’m afraid I will as well. We have some time, though, and a few key elections ahead. I really think the next 10 to 20 years will tell the tale.


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