In his latest New York Times column, David Brooks wrestles with the meaning of Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care of Our Own," claiming that the verses "sit in tension with the lyrics in the chorus," since Springsteen's vision of who is "our own" includes people "who are not our own, like the victims of Katrina."
As a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, it strikes this writer as very white of Brooks to argue that "the victims of Katrina" don't qualify for the category of "our own," since they were American citizens living in an American city who were let down by an American infrastructure and an American president, but that's besides the point. Brooks is simply dipping once more into the well of extreme localism, in which anyone outside of spitting distance of one's front door belongs to a different community.
Eventually, Brooks arrives at his main point, which is that
the forces of multiculturalism destroyed that commitment to cultural union. That has led to Trump, who has upended universalistic American nationalism and replaced it with European blood and soil nationalism in a stars and stripes disguise.
The way out of this debate is not to go nationalist or globalist. It’s to return to American nationalism...