Over the last few years, there has been a movement afoot in the United States and Europe that is credited with unexpected election results in Italy, Brexit in Britain, and the election of Donald Trump. The left has used the term Nationalism to describe this movement. While this term is not altogether inaccurate, I believe the left has labeled this movement nationalism because when most people hear the term they associate it with Nazi Germany. This is one more way a negative picture can be painted of President Trump.
However, in describing Trump, the term anti-globalist is more accurate, considering his policy is heavily inclined towards rewriting trade deals and protecting American sovereignty when it comes to immigration. The purpose of the policies that were in place when Trump was elected was to promote globalism; or to lift up poor countries at the expense of the United States. The trade deals were originally written to transfer wealth from the US to other countries. The purpose of open border policy is to dilute the support for traditional American institutions by introducing new population that come from countries with socialist traditions and are more likely to support globalist policy in the future.
The anti-globalist label is also accurate when it comes to European politics. The unexpected political change there signifies resistance to the European Union, which by nature uses a centralized bureaucracy to lift up the fortunes of poor nations at the expense of wealthy ones. As you can easily conclude, these globalist policies are a natural progression of Socialist thought.
In spite of the constant rhetoric by his globalist opponents, there is a patriotic aspect to Trump’s message that appeals to many people. Typically the older generation that lived through the Reagan presidency appreciates this message the most because they remember the positive momentum that can be gained by national unity. Unity is a concept that is discussed much in the New Testament as it relates to the Church. Without unity, a church can not reach out and help people outside the church because there is so much focus on internal opposition. You can see how the same concept can also be true of a nation.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ll support national unity against socialism anytime. However, we must be cautious not to allow patriotism to be taken to the point where love of country supersedes other more important and more spiritual priorities.
When we are expressing American patriotism, we are expressing our allegiance to something American. Is the object of that allegiance the flag? The territory? The people? I contend that the object of our allegiance should be the political ideals conveyed in the U.S. Constitution. The idea that all men are created equal. The idea of limited government. However, my allegiance to these ideas is not due as much to their own merit than their alignment with Biblical principles. For instance, James 2 discusses how Christians should not show favoritism when ministering to people inside and outside the church. That is identical to the principle that “all men are created equal,” that we hold dear today.
Additionally, there are a couple of ways that love of country can cloud one’s judgement. After 9/11 2001 the American confidence in their own system of government made them believe that it could be applied universally, even to cultures without a tradition of liberty and self-government. The Iraq War has often been attached to Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld like an albatross, but the fact is there was widespread support of the war on both sides of the aisle. Another reason for the support was the offense that was taken after the attacks on 9/11. While a certain level of moral outrage was certainly justified, national pride may have driven us to fight a war that was not destined to yield the results we were looking for.
There are no shortage of people today who think that the best years of the American republic are behind us. The truth is our nation is not only dealing with threats from abroad, but it is also being undermined from within. If in the long term those who believe in the traditional America are unable to defend it indefinitely (which is likely from a statistical standpoint), what will happen to us? For those who do not have Jesus Christ as the foundation of their life, they can only envision misery and chaos. However, those of us who have a relationship with Jesus realize that God is sovereign over all nations (Isaiah 40:7, Daniel 7:14,etc.) and for us to put our hope in a nation or government is foolish, considering not a single one has endured for more than a couple hundred years. We place our hope in God, who, according to scripture, is the sovereign over a Kingdom that will last forever.