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.
Great post, I would like to add: one should judge a nation and a culture from the criteria of where it is now compared to where it was in the past. While all nations have dirty histories, it boggles my mind how one can be anti-American based on how "we killed Native Americans" or "slavery". 40+ years ago we had segregation in large parts of America, today we have a black President. In contrast, Iran of 2500+ years ago had superior amounts of human rights, tolerance, and advancement than Iran of today so it has in a sense "de-evolutionized". It is true - we are behind our European counterparts in levels of education and global awareness, but I am proud and patriotic that in the last decade alone, we have assisted in the liberations of three nations and hopefully soon to be followed by Syria and Iran. We have the greatest constitution - and still the greatest nation in the world. I am proud and fortunate to be considered an American.
Well, I think that we can all agree that it should absolutely be either one or the other.
Is a measure of ones patriotism really how big their flag is, or how high they fly it? Is it the number of emblems and slogans they can plaster their vehicle, or not questioning their government?
As Americans, I think we get caught up in a bunch of superficial nonsense and the idea that overt patriotism in the form of redundant, now meaningless displays is the only way to go. Is it not patriotic to feel ashamed of our country for not living up to its ideals and expectations? Isn’t it possible for pride to run so deep that it can be sad to see a once mighty nation grow weaker by the year? Is it not patriotic to oppose the government when we think they’re not acting in the best interest of the nation?
I think that it’s more patriotic to take action and demand that our country keeps moving forward than it is to simply wave a flag and sit idly by as our country deteriorates. Make no mistake, justified criticism IS a form of patriotism, just as much as remembering the warm and fuzzy moments.
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else." –Theodore Roosevelt.
It should be clear that this kind of criticism extends to all parts of government and that action is more patriotic than flag-waving inaction.
I have a huge flag.
Also, one of my favorite, patriotic quotes comes from an expatriate: "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
James A. Baldwin
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change...institution s must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." --Thomas Jefferson
No one is saying don't criticize - but it becomes anti-American when one is the type who blames America for everything on an irrational level - such as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.
Funny. My experience with you on these forums is that you don't like critics and consider them all irrational.
Because the critics who I have come to interact with are blatantly anti-west and blame not only America for everything, but western civilization in general; and provide justification for Islamic terrorists and radicals.
That sounds rational.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Patriotism does not mean the masses should walk lock step with the wishes of our government(s). We have every right and duty to question their decisions and actions.
Overt patriotism like flag wagging is not as important to me as my knowing deep down inside that I am fortunate to be born here. America has a lot of good things going for it for how else could you explain the millions of immigrants who to this day seek the better life inside our borders.
Out of all of the things you could have chosen to illustrate how wonderful it is to live here, the immigrant example is by far the least convincing.
How would I explain the millions of immigrants who seek a better life inside the US? Simple: Location, location, location. When all that separates us from Mexico (for example) is an invisible boundary (and sometimes a physical one) and the only real deterrent once they get here is deportation, why wouldn’t they come? It’s not like most immigrants sit around and weigh their options… whether they would prefer the Parisian countryside, a quaint town on the Italian coast, or a cabin in Norway. They choose the US as a matter of convenience. I guarantee if Canada were closer they would all flock to Canada instead of the US. Why? Not because Canada is necessarily any better than the US, but simply because of the location and the fact that Canada is a developed country (just like the US) and can offer a better quality of life. When you come from nothing, even a marginally better existence can be worth pursuing. Remember, they live in poverty here too. It’s not exactly a glorious existence, only a more tolerable one.