Beware of ‘The Homeland’

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

“God bless you, and God bless the Homeland.”

It won’t surprise me if that’s how a future President closes one of his “State of the Union “ addresses.

The un-American term “the homeland” is taking over America.

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Everywhere I turn it’s being used to replace the words “country” or “nation” or “the United States.”

All the media have accepted the phrase. It’s all over CNN, FOX, MSNBC. I hear it on NPR.

It’s in the news pages and headlines of the Washington Examiner, the Washington Post and the Weekly Standard.

“The homeland” is a bipartisan insult to America.

It’s being used by liberals, conservatives, politicians, pundits, the White House, government mouthpieces and Middle East military experts who otherwise wouldn’t agree on what direction the sun sets.

President Obama and Republican hawk Peter King both throw around “the homeland.”

Democrat Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado recently said he didn’t think ISIS was “an immediate threat to the homeland.”

Dan Senor, a Bush II neocon, dropped the H-word on “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning during his pitch for putting boots on the ground to defeat ISIS.

How did defending against additional terrorist attacks after 9/11 change from defending “the United States of America” to defending “the homeland”?

“The Homeland” — it’ll soon be capitalized — sounds like one of those phony words George Orwell invented for his novel “1984.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary gives away its foreign origins, defining it as:

“Homeland: 1. native land: FATHERLAND. 2. a state or area set aside to be a state for a people of a particular national, cultural, or racial origin.”

The great wordsmith Peggy Noonan tried to warn us off using “homeland” back in 2002.

In her Wall Street Journal column urging the Bush administration to come up with a different name for the Department of Homeland Security, she nailed it:

“’Homeland’ isn’t really an American word, it’s not something we used to say or say now. It has a vaguely Teutonic ring — Ve must help ze Fuehrer protect ze Homeland! — and Republicans must always be on guard against sounding Teutonic.”

That must explain why every time I hear the words “the homeland” I have the strange urge to give a Hitler salute.

“Homeland” — as well as its Soviet cousin, “The Motherland” — is not a word fit for use by truly patriotic Americans.

As Noonan wrote, “the essence of American patriotism is a felt and spoken love for and fidelity to the ideas and ideals our country represents and was invented to advance — freedom, equality, pluralism. ‘We hold these truths…’

“The word ‘homeland’ suggests another kind of patriotism — a vaguely European sort. ‘We have the best Alps, the most elegant language; we make the best cheese, had the bravest generals.’’

Noonan knew immediately the USA was headed down the wrong road with the word “homeland.”

So did a few others, including the lefty Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo.

In 2002 he said the phrase “the homeland” had “a deep blood and soil tinge to it which is distinctly Germanic, more than a touch un-American, and a little creepy.”

“The homeland” has always had a totalitarian ring.

It’s why FDR didn’t use it during World War II. And why no president used it during the Cold War.

It’s why in the 1984 election my father’s political advisers didn’t build an ad campaign around “It’s morning again in the Homeland.”

Excuse me, we’re Americans, not Homelanders. This is our country, not our “homeland.” In the United States of America we love our freedoms more than our mountains and spacious skies.

But if we don’t watch out, one of these days the opening lyrics of “America” are going to be changed to “My Homeland, ‘tis of thee, Sweet land of Germany, of thee I sing.


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution.” Send comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.