March 29, 2019 | PJ Media
ACRU Policy Board Member J. Christian Adams

Former Attorney General Eric Holder asked an MSNBC audience, “I hear these things about ‘let’s make America great again’ and I think to myself, ‘exactly when did you think America was great?'”

Holder went on to parrot progressive gripes about America: “It certainly wasn’t when people were enslaved. It certainly wasn’t when women didn’t have the right to vote. It certainly wasn’t when the LGBT community was denied the rights to which it was entitled.”

When Holder served as Attorney General, he was found in criminal contempt of Congress.

While Holder’s dismissal of American greatness might seem surprising to the vast majority of mainstream Americans, it is central to the progressive organizing philosophy of grievance with American norms, American success, and promotion of racial division.

The progressive left has converted American industrial might in the 20th century to an example of environmental degradation. The progressive left has converted American military superiority into tropes of imperialism. The progressive left has used America’s now 154-year-old institution of slavery as an excuse for modern-day violence and criminality.

Holder really means it when he says that America was never great in the first place. He blesses us with his honesty, an honesty that exposes his rank radicalism. His honesty illustrates to mainstream Americans what the age of Obama, Holder, Tom Perez, and Valerie Jarrett was really all about: dismantling the totems of American greatness.

But Holder is wrong. He might visit a Cineplex this weekend to see a fabulous documentary about American greatness, Apollo 11.

And it wasn’t just Apollo 11. It was Apollo 8, in 1968 when three astronauts sailed as far away from earth as any human in history. It was the entire Apollo program, where American greatness accomplished what humans gazing toward the stars had dreamed of for thousands of years.

Surviving moonwalkers gathered recently at the Explorer’s Club in New York. Felix Kunze took an amazing photograph of the group. The photo speaks to American greatness. There are so many of them, still, who set foot on the moon. America just didn’t do it once with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. We did it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. There are so few moonwalkers in the photo, but yet so many.

Image credit: Felix Kunze

The photo is a gathering of the greatest explorers in the history of man, all Americans. They are elite beyond elite. Buzz Aldrin can do whatever he wants, including wear silvery tuxedos and flag socks—he is a moonwalker from Apollo 11.

And there is Harrison Schmidt, the second to last moonwalker turned United States senator. One of the most memorable nights of my life was dining with this American treasure—his grace and patience with my hours of questions about his mission on Apollo 17.

Perhaps I’ll send the framed photo to Eric Holder.

Or maybe Eric Holder needs something more sobering to illustrate American greatness.

Maybe he needs photos from spring of 1945 when boys from Iowa, Texas, and Maine stumbled upon hell.

Perhaps Holder would understand American greatness better reading accounts from the First Division liberating the Falkenau concentration camp. Perhaps accounts of the 4th Infantry Division fighting their way to Dachau would enlighten him. Four thousand nine hundred and seven Americans were killed en route to Dachau. There are many more names, many more camps, many more Americans who died to purge the defining evil of the 20th century from the face of the world. America was great when it did these things, no matter what a disgraced attorney general thinks.

General Dwight Eisenhower and General Troy Middleton tour the newly liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp. General Troy Middleton is commanding general of the VIII Corps, Third U.S. Army. (Image courtesy of U.S. National Archives)

America helped defeat the other defining evil of the 20th Century—Soviet-run communism. No doubt Eric Holder was on the other side of these fights in the 1970s and 1980s, when all the forces of the American left—of which Holder was already a willing soldier—opposed Ronald Reagan with everything they had. We already know Barack Obama was in that camp. When Reagan spoke of evil in the East, they scolding him for being provocative. When Reagan pressed to deploy Pershing II missiles in Europe—the system that contributed to the bankruptcy of the USSR—they scolded him for being dangerous.

But Reagan was right. America was right. And American greatness prevailed.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, center, uses a hammer and chisel on the defunct Berlin Wall to take symbolic swings at the old Cold War barrier. (AP Photo)

But American greatness isn’t confined to space flight and military success. America is great because America is kind. When the world is hungry, America feeds it. When disasters strike, America is the first to arrive with help. In the middle of the Vietnam War, a terrible cyclone struck East Pakistan killing 300,000 people. Before George Harrison could organize the Concert for Bangladesh, American Army helicopters were dropping food on the scene.

But it doesn’t stop with disasters. American greatness fostered American ingenuity, and this created the greatest explosion in the health and well being of the world. From Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine to the internet to computers, America leads the way because America stands for the idea that individuals are free.

And so we arrive at what Eric Holder’s real beef might be.

America is an idea, a great idea, that all are created in the image of God as free. That idea, not always perfectly executed, transformed the world. Along the way, it also limited government. The freedoms enshrined in the Constitution restrain the power of government. Government cannot act the way progressives want because the Constitution stands in the way. After decades of trying to redefine the notion of freedom in the courts, Holder and his gang have hit a Trump wall, where judicial nominees no longer subscribe to the utopian view of the Constitution.

Let’s hope that Eric Holder changes his mind and decides to run for president. Do us a favor. Go to Iowa, Texas, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania and tell Americans there that America was really never great. Please.