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As I grow older, it becomes increasingly clear to me we live in a society obsessed with apologizing – apologizing for patriotism, apologizing for freedoms, and apologizing for success. I don’t know where, how, or when it began, (although fingers can certainly be pointed at the current administration), but the truth is there is a growing sect of the American population that feels compelled to express regret for the way we live, and the country we love.
I live my life in such a way that none of my friends, and probably even my acquaintances, have any question on where I lean politically and what my values are. I would like to imagine that nearly every user on this site, left or right, lives the same way. There are few greater values than conviction. If you believe in something, and have found a nation on a set of principles that you strive to uphold every day, then every time you apologize for it you weaken the scaffold upon which it sits.
As a relatively recent and important example, on the eleventh anniversary of the most heinous act of terrorism against our nation, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attacked. Bullets were shot, buildings set aflame, and our flag was ripped from the façade and torn to pieces. In the midst of all of this, the Embassy sent a series of Tweets, effectively apologizing for our freedom of speech, and that we had somehow “hurt feelings.” Hours later, the U.S. Embassy in Libya was invaded, and four Americans were killed – among them the Ambassador himself, Chris Stevens. And the next day on every news station in America, the President appeared and offered a speech praising the life and work of the deceased Americans, and condemning the attacks – but very obviously missing was a defense of free speech to show that as the United States of America, we hold our values sacred. Noticeably absent from the airwaves was the sense that we will not change the way we live to prevent “hurt feelings.”
As fraternity men we understand personal freedoms. Indeed, the act of even being in a fraternity represents our First Amendment, which includes the right to (not always peaceably) assemble, to say nothing of our fervent use of free speech (which, if the comments section is any indication, is alive and well in fraternity culture). Although used as a punch line by those outside of the Greek system, we truly are the leaders of tomorrow. Which is why it is vitally important, now more than ever, to uphold and embody the values that this country was founded on.
What I wanted in response to the situation in Cairo, and what I needed to hear, was anger. I wanted to hear fury and resolve, and I wanted to see the faces of politicians who were incensed, not only by the events in September, but by the general attitude of a growing populace in our country that feels regret for our obvious and continuing world dominance.
We need leaders who unequivocally refuse to apologize for America’s values. Being an American means never having to say you’re sorry – sorry for the extent to which you exploit your freedoms, sorry for your successes, and sorry for those in the rest of the world who don’t agree with the way we do things. There are people in other countries that don’t agree with the way we do business, that hate the very things we stand for, and to those countries I say, “fuck off.” Do things your way. And to the politicians who want to send us into oblivion, who want to denigrate the wealthy and campaign against capitalism, I fundamentally disagree with you and I will cast my vote to end your reign. But don’t you dare stand behind a podium and apologize on my behalf. I’m an American, and I’m damn sure not sorry for it.