From time to time I have encounters with fellow American citizens who faithfully display their Fourth of July & Memorial Day flags. It is ostensibly a show of patriotism but I wonder. As I have grown older and wiser, in my mind anyway, I believe the attitude of "America- Love It or Leave It" is a slogan that no longer applies or, perhaps, should never been used in the first place. What does a citizen mean when they say we are obligated to love one's country else hit the border and not return? The United States of America has many reasons for it's citizens to feel patriotic. But it also has many reasons for it's citizens to rightly drop their collective heads in shame. Our treatment of the American Indians, American Japanese, African Americans, members of the LGBT community, non-Abrahamic faith groups, atheists, etc has left a lingering question mark on the societal engine that drives this country. Would many of the disservices to entire classes of people not been eradicated sooner without this "love it or leave it" attitude? Do we not have a responsibility to seek change and never become jaded with the status quo? Living in the deep south of America gives me opportunity to see firsthand the ongoing mindset of many locals, still flying their Rebel flags in the front yard, that "the South will rise again." What the hell does that mean? If given the opportunity would we revert back to the days of slavery and white bigotry?

I feel compelled to challenge these "Love It or Leave It" citizens to define and justify their position or stance. Our country's citizens should not be pigeonholed into accepting things as they are and damned be those who dare speak up. Thankfully our culture is changing, albeit too slowly, and hopefully we can cast off these attitudes that seem to have their foundations in illogical religious dogma.

Should not the new slogan of our country rather be "America - Love It Through Change"?

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How long has this American attitude existed? I know they have always considered themselves the "best country in the world", but I have noticed this "love it or leave it" attitude mostly after September 11th. Am I correct in this?

I do hope that it changes, because right now, this is the general view of America from the outside.

Although, living in Southern Ontario (Canada) and being so close to the border with Detroit, this "love it or leave it" attitude is present in my part of Canada as well. Not sure how prevalent it is in other parts.

RE: "I have noticed this 'love it or leave it' attitude mostly after September 11th. Am I correct in this?" - MUCH earlier, Milos, I first encountered it when we were protesting the Viet Nam War, along with bumper stickers that read, "Kill a Commie for Christ!"

For some reason, we seem inclined toward alliteration.

I wasn't around during that time, and have been on this continent for about 15 years, so I didn't have much interaction with the US, other than them bombing my country. That is why I was wondering. I knew that the attitude was around in the past, but I wasn't sure if it was this wide spread and extreme as it is today.

At least as much, if not more so - basically, it's religion-based, used then to put down war protesters who resisted the knuckle-dragging "Moral Majority's" desire to, "take care of them godless Commie Gooks, once and for all," and has seen a rebirth as the Christian Right feels their position of privilege beginning to erode.

I count as one of the greatest thrills of my life, actually watching the nefarious Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon resign - his greatest ambition was to go down in history, and he did, as being the only American President ever to resign his office in disgrace.

I heard the "America, love it or leave" slogan in the late 1940s when the Cold War between the US and the USSR was starting.

It became red hot during the Senator Joseph McCarthy "Red Scare" in the early 1950s.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962-63, the slogan "Better dead than Red" appeared. That there was no middle ground (either dead or Red) revealed the desperation of those times.

 I guess that some who have achieved great wealth in the US don't love the country. I refer to those who have paid an expatriation fee and renounced their citizenship to avoid taxes.

Do you "Love" America? (Or your native country if not the U.S.)

If so, how do you explain this? What, exactly, is the object of your "Love". 

(Not trying to be a troll - just trying to understand that which appears to me to be as completely illogical as God.)

Mike, I'm aware of your disillusionment with the US, and your subsequent relocation to New Zealand, and although it's Winter there, and it was ninety degrees F. yesterday, I applaud your decision.

I live in the US, but for several years (BTW, I'm of Anglo-Saxon descent), I lived happily in Mexico. I saw your comment early this afternoon, and have tried, mentally, to give you an answer to your question, regarding America.

I found it simpler to tell you what I loved about Mexico:

  • the scenery - I lived literally across the street from the Pacific Ocean, and was privileged to experience the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life.
  • again, the scenery, the silver sea that gradually exposed itself as I surmounted each of seven hills, on my way home from work, as, with each hill, I felt layers of tension (from working in the States) dissolve from my shoulders.
  • The warmth of the people, who immediately accepted me as "family" - how many of us express such feelings toward Mexican immigrants here?
  • The fact that the people worked, without reward, to teach me their language - I went there with two years of High School Latin and two semesters of Castillian Spanish - even hot dog vendors would correct my Spanish, and I found myself thinking to myself, "Yeah, well, let's speak English and see how well YOU do!" until I realized that these people were trying to help me, to help teach me to speak their language better, and from that point, I accepted instruction from the lowliest janitor, with the greatest gratitude: "Each man is my master, in that I may learn from him."
  • The warmth and the unity of the Hispanic family - I had an option of living among Americans, but asked myself, why leave America? I lived, happily, among Hispanics, learned their culture, their values, their food, their joys and their sorrows - experiences I will treasure all the rest of my life. One night, about two in the morning, I heard the most beautiful sound I had ever heard - a man was singing tenor in Spanish from a house two doors down from me, I'm not all that much into men singing, but this man's voice was incredible. While many Americans might have called the cops about a 2 am disturbance, I went to listen closer - the family baby-sat my youngest daughter (who grew up speaking Spanish with no trace of an American accent). I was invited in to their fiesta, given a tequila and a plate of food, and I, an intruder, was made to feel the guest of honor.

There are things, of course that I dislike about Mexico - no place is paradise:

  • Because of the Mexican economy, the judicial system is corrupt.
  • While in the US, a person is innocent until proven guilty - in Mexico, the burden of proof is on the defendant.
  • Years ago, I threw trash on the ground until I learned better - many native Mexicans have yet to learn the value of that practice.

There are many things I love about Mexico, but not a lot of things I like that much about the US.

Very nice. Lovely (mental) pictures. 

However it doesn't actually assuage my curiosity about patriotism. You described the Mexican culture - not, I think, patriotism about Mexico. Correct me if I'm wrong - 1) most latin-American countries would have a similar culture (given a similarly rural setting) 2) it seems to me that, were you to describe the culture of an ALL-Mexican neighbourhood in a big American city, the culture would be much the same. 

Along with the original poster, my fascination is with "Love of Country" ("Love it Or Leave It" mentality).

It may be that patriotism is largely manufactured, although there may be an element of natural human tribalism.

So many if not MOST posters, even here in this Home of Reason seem to exhibit some aspects of patriotism. Let's hear from some "real" Americans :-)

RE: "You described the Mexican culture - not, I think, patriotism about Mexico." - Excuse me, I described what I loved about Mexico - wasn't that the original ("What, exactly, is the object of your 'Love'") question?

Let me see, I marched in this country to establish civil rights (successfully) for people of all colors and ethnicities - served during the Viet Nam War, exactly what else do I need to do, to establish myself as a "real" American to an expatriot who chose not to stay and fight, Mr. New Zealand?

Patriotism ain't what it used to be. There was a time when being a patriotic American meant you were proud to be a part of a nation where the government worked for the majority, a country that welcomed immigrants seeking a better life, a place where law and justice was for everyone. (or at least we tried to be those thing)

  Somewhere over the past few decades, we have lost our way. Instead of a nation united, we have become a nation almost infinitely divided by fear and mistrust,  a place where justice is no longer known, a place where a select few can pillage, plunder and even murder with impunity, while the majority are stripped of their rights.

  Patriotism in America once meant Truth, Justice and self government. Now we have lies, injustice, and government by multinational corporations for the interests of the principal stock-holders. Who can forget 9/11? Who, on the other hand , remembers president Bush soon after advising us to show our patriotism by going shopping

One definition of patriotism then involves spending lots of money on overpriced, low quality, Chinese made crap.

It was once considered patriotic to stand for our government. now it is patriotic to advocate the destruction of our democratic government from within. just look  at all the anti government groups using "Patriot" in their names)

I love this country because it will still have me. The nations policy-makers have been such bad actors on the world stage, supporting dictators, bullying sovereign governments on behalf of foreign based multinational corporations,championing greed and fascism, that they willing vent their angst on Americans

If I could afford to leave, I have no where else to go,.

Gary, I agree, and like you don't have the money to go to Denmark or one of the several countries whose people are truly sovereign.

Many Americans share our views. Please tell your story to as many as you can. Be a part of the remedy.

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