Confessions of an American Nationalist | Opinion

I am an American nationalist. I've always believed that was a positive thing. No less an authority than Merriam-Webster agrees, defining a nationalist as: "a person who advocates political independence for a country."

Sounds like something we fought a war over in the 18th century.

Nationalism has a positive definition in Wikipedia: "a political, social, and economic system characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining sovereignty (self-governance) over the homeland."

I'm Lebanese, German and Italian. My grandparents were American nationalists.

I'm the American melting pot. The pluribus in E pluribus unum.

My wife is French, American Indian, Irish, and Viking. That's right. Viking!

Which means my daughter is a walking United Nations. She's absolutely and unabashedly American.

It's something to be proud of, the way people from so many nations unite around a common culture, set of laws and values. It's beautiful the way we live, love, and make families.

Only in America is such a thing so utterly ordinary.

I'm an American nationalist because I believe America is an exceptional nation. And a good nation, filled with good people.

People move here from all over the world because they believe that, too.

I don't understand people who say they love America, and in the next breath talk about "fundamentally transforming Her."

Try that on your wife. "I love you honey, but I want to fundamentally transform you." You'll be sleeping on the couch.

The other day, when President Trump called himself a nationalist, CNN and other liberal talking heads went berserk.Soon, they were using the words "white" and "nationalist" in the same sentences. And presto! Trump and his supporters are "white nationalists."

The charge doesn't stick with ethnic conservatives like me because I'm not white.

But white people who put America first are not "white nationalists." They are nationalists who happen to be white.

I've met them all of my life, and they're exceedingly good people.

I've never met an actual "white nationalist" because they're hard to find. They've been whittled down to a small, motley band of losers and outcasts.

If I did meet a white supremacist or Neo-Nazi, I'd give him an earful. My mom's only brother was killed in action fighting real life Nazis in WW2. He was 18. He's buried in France.

Being called a Nazi is no joking matter in my conservative family.

When progressives and media types conflate nationalists and white nationalists, they're being duplicitous. When they conflate conservatism with Nazism, they're being ignorant.

The Nazi Party began as a left-wing movement—Nazi was shorthand for the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Hitler adored the consolidation of power. As do most tyrants and totalitarians.

Conservatives believe in the opposite value: the dispersal of power.

It's why we love the Constitution. Because we believe men and women aren't angels, and power corrupts. It's why our founders created a lot of checks on the federal government. Our Constitution is study of restraint. A bicameral legislature, an independent executive branch and an independent judiciary were designed to make it hard for folks in Washington D.C. to "get things done."

Gridlock was the outcome the founders intended.

Our founders also dispersed power downstream. To the states. And within the states, to our counties and municipalities.

To "We The People."

That's why we're such a prosperous country. Because we're such a free country.

We've produced miraculous innovations and art because of that freedom. And miraculous wealth because we value property rights. Including intellectual property, which has unleashed artistic and scientific output that's the envy of the world.

That freedom and opportunity is why my grandparents chose to come to America.

It's progressives who want to centralize power. Progressives who want the government to take care of everyone. Progressives who are pushing their latest brand of socialized medicine on the public: "Medicare for All."

Progressives claim to love America, but don't trust Americans to govern themselves.

They have a list of things they don't like about this country and want to change. My grandparents had no list. Talk down America and you'd get an earful. The same with my parents.

Is America without prejudice? Of course not.

When I was growing up in New Jersey, I was the only kid with an Arabic last name. I was heckled. Sometimes even taunted.

My parents didn't call for an intervention, they taught me to handle things myself. And ignore ignorance. Because to take such claims seriously would only give power to the offender.

Moreover, I might lose sight of all of the good white people who didn't care that I had an Arabic last name.

Thank goodness my parents refused to organize the world around my sensibilities. To allow me to play the role of victim. Victory was more important to them.

Americans from Lebanon have fared well in America by every objective measure, despite discrimination. Americans from Italy have fared well, too, despite early prejudices.

Rather than form grievance commissions and litigate such matters, our families worked, lived and loved our way to the American Dream.

They didn't cross an ocean to let some knuckleheads hinder our progress!

I’m an American nationalist because I believe America is an exceptional nation. iStock

That's true of so many ethnic minorities in America. Indeed, in the 2016 Census Bureau statistics, Indian Americans ranked number one in household income at $122,026, beating out American Jews, who ranked number two.

The last time I looked, Indians were dark-skinned.

Jewish Americans, only 1.8 percent of our population, faced obstacles in their adopted homeland.

English Americans, by contrast, ranked 44th, with a household income of $67,663.

German Americans ranked 47th.

They're as white as white people can be.

Filipinos and Taiwanese ranked in the Top 5, with immigrants from communist countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Russia rounding out the Top 10.

These success stories defy the prevailing progressive narrative that ethnic minorities face substantive barriers to success because of pervasive white racism.

Indeed, Indian Americans and Jewish Americans should be studied in every sociology department in America peddling such absurd notions about our country.

That's why I'm an American nationalist. Because any group, regardless of skin color or religion of ethnic heritage, can prosper here.

The number of people around the world who identify as nationalists is also on the rise. People in the United Kingdom don't want elites in Brussels calling the shots as it relates to their sovereignty. Any more than Americans want elites in Washington D.C. calling the shots about ours.

That's what the Brexit vote was about. And the Trump win, too.

It's not a backward notion to care about national sovereignty. To think you can better make decisions for yourself than someone far away with a fancy degree.

It's also not a backward notion to believe that strong countries make for a stronger world. And a more peaceful world.

Many global elites believe that nationalism is the problem. Others believe it is the solution—that the greatest right of all is the right of free people to rule themselves.

That's why the word nationalism is under attack by progressive globalists who believe issues like inequality and global warming are paramount, and can be best addressed by global governing bodies. Issues, by the way, that don't poll high with voters, but poll high with the global elites. And their media allies.

Here's the rub. My parents told me that the best way to change the world was to change our world. Be a good son, husband, father, worker, member of a church, and member of a community.

If we all did that, the world we be a better place.

They taught me to work hard, get to work early and stay late. And never complain.

And that nobody owed me anything.

All of these values are a part of my immigrant heritage. My grandparents taught these things to my parents. They taught them to me.

Don't buy stuff you can't afford.

Be tolerant of people from other backgrounds.

God is good, so share the gifts He gives us.

That's why I'm an American Nationalist. Because in America, the individual is sovereign, not the state.

Many of us—still the majority of us—believe that the best way to improve the common good is to believe in the common man.

That's why I am an American nationalist.

Are you?

Lee Habeeb is a Vice President of Content at Salem Media Group, and is host of Our American Stories, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.