What does it mean to come in second place? Last month, the Clemson Tigers tarnished their undefeated record with a loss to Alabama in the college football playoff. In the Super Bowl last night, the Carolina Panthers were stunned by the Denver Broncos. Is there any glory in 2nd?
In the United States, coming in second doesn’t mean that much. We have to be the first, best, greatest. Donald Trump is popular because he promises that America will win again. Marco Rubio’s criticizes President Obama for not believe that the US is unique. He has said over and over again, like a Miss America contestant who has a canned response to any question: “Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.” Ted Cruz has proclaimed that we are “a unique nation, the indispensable nation on earth, a clarion voice for freedom that we will speak for liberty, for truth. That we will be as Reagan put it, a shining city on a hill.”
This metaphor of the U.S as a “shining city on a hill” first appeared in a sermon from the Puritan John Winthrop in 1630 to his fellow colonists, delivered while they were still on the ship in Massachusetts’ Bay. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy have also used this reference.
The origin of the “city on a hill” comes from the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that a city on a hill cannot hide its light. He encouraged his followers to let their good works shine so that everyone could see. In this sermon, Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth and called on us to love our enemy. The phrase “turn the other cheek” comes from this Scripture.
In his sermon John Winthrop spoke of the model of Christian charity. The members of the community should help each other out with the rich giving generously to the poor. Everyone needs to be respected because we are all members of the community.
America is not a great nation because of our strength. We’re only great if we use that strength to help our people and help others, but let’s not forgot that with great power comes great responsibility.
Second place is unAmerican. But as we strive to make America great again or take back America or however dissatisfied we are with the direction of our nation, let’s make sure that we remember and honor our roots and the gospel according to Jesus Christ or at a minimum the comic books of Stan Lee.
And if the Clemson Tigers and Carolina Panthers win national titles next year, I will be pretty happy so long as President Donald Trump hasn’t given his inaugural address in between the two.