The real problems start with the masks we wear for each other.
National Conservatism’s Time Has Come
Demonstrators protesting at a Colorado Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Colorado—ICE, a rare federal agency progressives would like to abolish—took down the American flag and raised the Mexican flag in its place. Will any of the two dozen or so Democratic presidential candidates condemn them?
It would have been a simple question not just for Bill Clinton, who would have surely recognized a “Sister Souljah” moment in the making, but also Barack Obama. “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment,” Obama, then a Democratic senator from Illinois, wrote in his 2006 autobiography The Audacity of Hope.
Contrast this with the message current Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke had for a group of immigrants and refugees while campaigning in Nashville. “This country was founded on white supremacy,” he said. “And every single structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression.” O’Rourke may be an also-ran, but the top-tier Democrats are trying very hard to keep up with the never-ending march leftward—as when Julian Castro, an even lower-polling candidate, got essentially the whole field to endorse an immigration policy that wasn’t quite open borders but a step in that direction.
Even (perhaps especially) sympathetic critics question the usefulness of a movement around the most modest definition of nationalism. If nationalism is really just patriotism fused with a defense of national sovereignty, who is really against that?