Which of the numerous, unsolvable, horrendous, sickening, bigoted, isolationist, interventionist and ridiculous controversies of our time is appropriate to discuss for Thanksgiving? What is “America First” all about? Well, here is how President Donald Trump put it in his first inaugural address.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.
We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before. (from here (whitehouse.gov))
Why is Trump’s America First policy so controversial? Well, it conflicts with a variety of Liberal/Progressive “isms”.
- Globalism: Globalists put what is supposedly best for the good of the world ahead of America’s national interests.
- Multiculturalism: Multiculturalists rate all cultures and religious beliefs as equally good. Instead of protecting our nation’s culture, our government is supposed to actively promote cultural diversity for its own sake.
- Isolationism and Interventionism: Instead of the extremes, isolationism or interventionism, an America First foreign policy stresses the promotion of vital American interests.
- Intersectionalism: Intersectionalism is not a word we can find in the dictionary. Intersectionality is what crops up. Nevertheless, intersectionalism seems like a good way to describe the belief identity politics is a good thing. Identity politic emphasizes “me” first, whereas America First stresses what is best for our family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen first.
So why should we celebrate an American First Thanksgiving? Consider this excerpt from our first president’s, Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. (from here)
Washington used Thanksgiving Day for two purposes.
- Washington’s primary purpose was to remind his people to thank our Lord for His blessings upon us.
- Washington’s secondary purpose was to unite the American people. So he reminded us that our Lord had blessed us because of our unity and commitment to each other’s welfare.
During the American Revolution thirteen colonies made a commitment to protect each other’s rights and stick together during a long and difficult war. Then those colonies became one People. Then they became Americans first.
What did it mean to those early Americans to be an American first? We know that because we have these words.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (from here (law.indiana.edu))
Those early Americans believed in God-given rights, and they believed in thanking God for His providence. Hence, Washington asked them to thank God, not government. That including thanking God for giving them the ability to unify and become one nation under God.
Is our unity perfect? No. As the picture above shows we don’t always know our history well. Still, we can learn and study the matter. We can also learn what our Lord wants from us.