"Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood - the things that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity for any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." President Theodore Roosevelt.
Although one might debate the words, the sentiments reflect enduring truths about America. America, after all, is as much an ideal as a place. Our founding First Principles - equality, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, the rule of law, limited government and the right to alter or abolish an oppressive government - are what bind us together. The virtues described by Teddy Roosevelt are the ways that those First Principles became realities - it takes courage to fight for freedom, it takes sincerity to believe in freedom, it takes honor to live for freedom. And the threats to our liberty mostly involve not putting first things first. Indeed, our liberty is most threatened when we put easy choices - or just ease of living - ahead of what really matters.
A quick look around puts shudders down my spine. How much time and energy, for example, has been wasted on Charlie Sheen? We should be focused on what really matters, not the trivial. Do your part, embrace the important and shun the trivial and banal.