There seems to be a sentiment on the left side of the political spectrum that support of one's country in the way of patriotism is not warranted. On the contrary we should I guess be embarrassed by our country's actions in the past. I do believe our country has made some bad decisions over the years. There is no doubt about that. And I am even ashamed by some of our actions: treatment of the American Indians, slavery, detainment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But does there not still remain many things about this nation that makes one swell with pride? When I visited the French memorial to the American soldier in Normandy many years ago I was awestruck. The nearly 10,000 crosses have a visual impact I will never forget. Included there is the son of former President Teddy Roosevelt. The French are grateful for the contribution our country made to freeing Europe from the clutches of nazism. Or when I watched the first man in history to set foot on the moon, an American. No other nation in the world has come close to the U.S. outpouring of money and resources to aid victims of natural disasters throughout the world. When we beat the Russians in hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics as a huge underdog. These are all proud moments for me.
The point I'm making is that patriotism does indeed still have it's place in the mindset of all Americans. An American flag hangs from the ceiling of my workshop. That flag represents to me all that is right with America. I am proud to be a citizen of this nation despite it's shortcomings. So what would be a good argument to take that flag down and remove that pride that resides in my heart? We have made mistakes and I can only hope that you, the younger generations, can learn from those mistakes and make our country a place that you can also feel patriotic towards.
America has been the beacon of hope for people all over the world - including my parents who came to the United States as America has been the only country that has offered the opportunities for one to work hard and not give excuses and to be successful. No other country has offered the opportunities provided by our great country - and I am proud to be an American and to be a part of a western liberal culture that values freedom of speech and secular values. IT is in the framework of who we are as a people - a free people - that has made America such a great country; and this includes capitalism. These naive kids in the protests don't seem to understand these foundations are what uniquely makes us American - and still the best country in the world despite our faults.
@Sassan: Since when did this become a pissing contest? Any nation that claims to be #1, or that they’re the greatest, or whatever is extremely arrogant and disillusioned. It’s great to feel pride for ones country/ adopted country, but to claim superiority over any other modern nation is nothing more than willful ignorance and doesn’t do anyone any good. There are countries that rival us in jobs, health care, education, technology, etc. Who is to say that they are any better or worse than we are? Being different does not diminish the amount of opportunity or the quality of life. It’s like arguing about the best Rock band to ever exist, or the best way to prepare a cut of meat, or the greatest sports figure to ever live. While some are clearly better than others, once you’ve narrowed the field down there is no clear cut winner and all are viable candidates. It simply comes down to a matter of preference. Perhaps a Mercedes suits you while a BMW suits me.
To dismiss protesters and say that they don’t understand American foundations is another attempt at willful deception. Fighting for a better vision for America is directly in line with the founding principles of our country. Just because you don’t share the same vision doesn’t make you right and them wrong, or vice versa. Just because we don’t agree on certain things doesn’t mean that we don’t all want the best for our country. While you shout from your soapbox, others shout from the streets. Different strokes for different folks. The pride you feel for the US is matched my millions of Americans. Embrace the differences and diversity and realize that too is part of what makes America great.
Patriotism is not so much about where you were born but rather where you choose to live. People that immigrant to this country can be some of the most patriotic citizens we have. The patriotism stems from our core beliefs in individual freedom and justice for everyone. The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are all documents that people everywhere can appreciate and respect. But as Thomas Jefferson stated, our society should rightly expect our laws and institutions to evolve as we grow and reach higher understandings.
...isms are great for those who are rational, but in the hands of irrational it always leads to violence... No one answer, is ever the answer...
Nationalism can no doubt unite a nation, but at the cost of alienating others... If we ever wish to unite this World, we have to get rid of things that segregate us in these small groups...
This is why Patriotism to me is of little benefit.
Any mentality that separates people is a mentality
that offers no benefit to society in general. We all live
on one world, and are essentially ONE people with varying
societal differences. Even so we are all part of one race...
the human race.
Nazi's were patriotic as well. They loved their country
to the point of everyone else's detriment.
I don't see much difference between the government and the gangs here in America, so it's a little hard for me to have any pride in them. Also I believe that it is ludicrous that people have pride in a set of imaginary lines anyway.
I think every country has made mistakes
it sounds like the flag symbolizes for you what you hope for the US rather than those shortcomings. . .but the fact that we can be honest about those failures allows us to grow and work to achieve those things we hope this country can become. . .it's about remembering that we aren't finished, it's a journey. . .
Maybe I missed it; maybe it's to be read between the lines of most responses, but how do you define 'patriotism' and how would your govt define it? How would the conservative and ultra right wing define it vs the liberals? I suspect the term is often used to mask actions that could qualify as some -ism...Hitler was a patriot as an example...so was Pol Pot and on the other side Mandela....
It's been my experience so far that people who complain most about their taxes are the ones who badmouth those who want to change that. And when it changes, they'll enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor.
It's not until they have their homes illegally taken, had their pensions squandered by big banks and lose their jobs, some people aren't going to "understand". Standing up against what you believe to be wrong, even if it doesn't get you your goal, is never a bad thing. That's patriotism.
Armchair warriors who sit on their porches, screaming "Support our Troops!" and waving tattered flags aren't patriots, they're jingoists.
Patriotism is only one step from nationalism.
There is a point that is too far. Usually it's when religion is wrapped in
patriotism that we see the ugliest it can be.
I agree to be proud of what American Ideals stand for,
but I disagree with anyone wanting to turn a blind eye to
the wrongs committed by religious righteousness and arrogant
belief that "their" country can do no wrong.
"Patriotism is only one step from nationalism."
Firstly, the statement is wholly incorrect - what about local patriotism? (Go alumni high school and/or college sports team). Secondly, there is immediately nothing wrong with nationalism - much like patriotism - but it can be misused to foster everything from racist ethnocentrism to right wing ultranationalism to left wing national socialism. The most common understanding is, however, a certain righteous pride in the achievements of the country/people/nation/etc with which you associate yourself with, commonly referred to as civic nationalism. This was fundamental to the nation state movements which changed the world in 1848.
"I agree to be proud of what American Ideals stand for"
As you should be. Personally, I don't think Americas "stand for" whatever atrocities you have committed, rather you lament them (perhaps a bit too much and for too long after the fact..)
Aside from the fact that it, along with religion, is the phony justification for most of the manifestly unjustified and immoral wars we have fought throughout our warmongering history, patriotism is bad because it replaces the human being with the state/church as the most important entity to be respected and nurtured. Americans are taught to "LOVE" their country and their imaginary god more than themselves or their families. We all know: it's "God, country, family," in that order, right?. If we are expected to "love" our country, then why can't we have sex with it? Because it DOESN'T EXIST as something requiring or deserving a human emotion like love. We should love our fellow Americans, but no more than we should love ALL people in the world. We should have loved the people of Iraq enough to realize that their lives - the lives of innocent men, women, and children who did NOTHING to harm us, were as valuable as our own. But Americans are indoctrinated not to think that way. Americans blithely accepted the carpet bombing of Fallujah and other recalcitrant Sunni towns and villages as our right and duty as "patriotic" Americans. When al Jazeera published the picture of the little, naked, 7 year old boy dying in agony from the blisters he received over his entire body our illegal white phosphorous bombs gave him, Americans were outraged - not at our evil act - but at al Jazeera for revealing it. Fox News deemed it unpatriotic for al Jazeera to show what Americans were REALLY doing in Iraq. If Blackwater thugs want to cruise the streets of Baghdad, mowing down peaceful citizens, we should ignore it because it would be unpatriotic to condemn it. After all, "America, right or wrong, is ALWAYS right!" Right? George Bush even bombed an al Jazeera office, and Americans didn't even blink. Blinking would have been unpatriotic.
For Americans, our "exceptional" country comes first; the people are expected to voluntarily be the willing pawns the country deploys in its geopolitical chess game. Men and women are sent as patriotic automatons to die for the state, especially the wealth and comfort of the elites of the state. Americans have been led to believe that the state, as a concept, is more to be revered than their own lives or the lives of others - especially non-American others. Americans "give their lives" for their country. Men and women obediently and reverently leave their families to fight for America. I'm sorry, but my life and that of my family are more important to me than preventing the possibility that the flag of some other country might become ascendant and supreme over the "stars & stripes" somewhere in the world. Pat Tillman's family is publicly experiencing "buyer's remorse" over their son's useless sacrifice. His brother tearfully shouted, "Pat is not with God, he's f&%$ing DEAD!" Americans are currently wondering what great contributions Steve Jobs would have made if he'd lived out his normal life span. I wonder what the millions of young soldiers might have contributed towards the betterment of their fellow Americans had their shortened lives not been spent in needless, patriotic fervor fighting unnecessary wars. I do not take pride in the fact that the American flag now flies in some 800 military installations around the world, especially since most of the ordinary citizens of those countries resent it. Neither am I about to sacrifice my life so that Christianity is triumphant over the Islamic faith. Unlike most Americans, I don't believe some "god" created the universe for the sake of the nation we call America. For that matter, I doubt that He will help my team win the big football game.
Those crosses in France? They were sacrifices by men, not the state apparatus called "America." And some mythical god didn't make their deaths sacrosanct. Neil Armstrong became the first HUMAN BEING to step foot on the moon; it wasn't the "...giant leap" for the American military/industrial complex; it was the "...giant leap" for "MANkind." The "outpouring" of money for foreign disasters doesn't come from some institutional sense of compassion existing in the American governmental, historical, economic framework; it is caring PEOPLE helping suffering PEOPLE who donate. Any money sent by the American government to foreign lands comes with political strings attached, however subtle those strings might be.
Americans, young and old, nearly unique among the world's citizens, robotically pledge their allegiance, formally and in groups, not to each other, but to their state and to its majority God; the clear implication is that the INSTITUTION of the state/church comes before the welfare of its INDIVIDUAL citizens. What our "Plegde of Allegiance:" should say is, "I pledge allegiance to my fellow man..."
We are raised from birth to see ourselves as expendable cogs in the machinery of politics. Patriotism has killed millions of Americans, usually for no good reason beyond their usefulness to the state and its primacy among states. It might be rationalized as a useful paradigm for the country's leaders to blather in order to keep the citizenry compliant, but I see nothing good about it for the rest of us.
This post will probably get me on the government's "no-fly" list. That's all right, though. I don't much like to fly anyway.