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I was born in 1950 and have seen some of this country's best and worst moments. If you had asked me this question at nearly any prior moment in my life, there would have been no hesitation.  But now, I don't know what my answer is, does anyone else?

Ok, so here's the 'yes, I'm very proud to be an American' response.  A recap of some of the high points for those who weren't around,  when I was in grade school, we listened breathlessly in our classrooms to the radio for the launches of TelStar, Alan Shepard, and the splashdown of John Glenn.  There was the incredible energy and excitement that was JFK's inauguration, the launch of the Peace Corps, the competition with the 'Russkies'; as the member of a sports oriented family, the simple pride of listening to the national anthem at the beginning of baseball games.  It was so very simple then.  

  Moving forward, I marched against the Army War College in 1970 and attended the anti-Nixon inaugural parade in DC. Grateful that I lived in a country where I could do that even though Kent State was just a couple of hundred miles away.  Proudly cast my first ever vote against Tricky Dick and Jesse Helms and then was disgusted by Watergate but very grateful to see the system work.  African Americans started to gain their rightful place and women burned their bras and we elected and then reelected our first African American president.  

  Even in tragedy, there was pride in country, Ronald Reagan had his moment when Challenger exploded and of course there was Sept 12 2001 when we were still all Americans and proud to say so.  Although the economy left many behind, there was a social net and people trying to expand it.  People fighting the polluters and the greedy.  Paul Ryan might call them the 'makers' but I beg to disagree.  

  On the other hand there's the 'no, I'm no longer able to say I'm proud to be an American without a caveat'.  Where did this start?  Was it the endless overblown scandals of the Clinton presidency or the horrors of Darfur and Kosovo?  What about the unrelenting war on the environment and the current assaults on those who weren't born to the right family or with the right skin color?  I for one, still agree with the Dixie Chicks, George W Bush was an embarrassment to the nation and there's certainly no need for me to elaborate on the abomination that is the TeaBaggers.

   So no, I can't just blindly say that I'm still proud to be an American, but writing this makes me realize that I am glad to be one.  I'm going to go out and help register voters and I'm going to continue to fight with everything I've got to save the planet and maybe at some point in my life I'll once again be able to say unequivocally that I'm proud of my country.

Originally posted to kathy in ga on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 01:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am proud to be an American (19+ / 0-)

    and I am also ashamed and disgusted at the behavior of many, many, many of my fellow Americans, past and present.

    I don't see a contradiction there.

    •  one should be proud (14+ / 0-)

      but proud of one´s nationality? I never really understood that. Its a property one has, like the colour of the eyes. One can do something for one´s beauty and then be proud of it as one has done something for it, yes. Similarly one can do something with one´s citizenship, and be engaged, and then be proud of that, OK. But other than that, just as a matter of facts, all nationalities are as equal and meaningless as eye colors. I am born ugly, should I be proud of that? I am born a German, should I be proud of that? I understand the desire for dignity, that is something that people really need, but the desire for pride, well no. Dignity is what humans achieve without asking for it when they have withstood the storms of life. Pride is an aberration, a trap for the mind.

      •  I'm glad (8+ / 0-)

        to be an American, proud to be a democrat.

        Facts matter. Joe Biden

        by kpardue on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 10:51:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obligatory reference (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges, SixSixSix, Smoh
        one should be proud but proud of one´s nationality? ... I am born a German, should I be proud of that? ... Pride is an aberration, a trap for the mind.
        Obligatory reference  ;)  

        Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

        by Rei on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 05:20:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Proverbs 16:18 (4+ / 0-)

          Teahadist wingnut Bible-thumping self-righteous hostage takers are loudly trying to rekindle the same "national pride" touted by Hitler and the Nazi regime. Sadly, they're doing a pretty good job of it.

          The Pride question is anInquisitionallead in - to attack anything or anyone not hewing to the dogma. They conveniently overlook

          17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.
          18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
          19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
          which also comes from their purported guidebook.
          Nothing distracts from the mission.

          We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?

          by Bendra on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 07:15:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  oh thanks !!! (0+ / 0-)

          that is a hilarious thing! Many thanks :)

          Its also perfectly precise :)

        •  Very funny. I met a German girl (0+ / 0-)

          When I was staying in Guatemala for a while. She had similar thoughts, and found our flag-waving here to be a bit obscene. That said, I imagine national pride is the norm in most countries, with Germany possibly being an exception.

          I have no problem with pride.

          Exceptionalism, xenophobia, nationalism.... I have a problem with those things.

          •  Here in Iceland... (0+ / 0-)

            it exists but isn't as common as in America.  You see the Icelandic flag and seal on a number of products, for example (especially common is the image of the flag inside the shape of Iceland), and companies and government buildings commonly fly it, but it's natural to think twice before doing something public with a literal flag on an individual level because you might be interpreted as being a nationalist, which in turn might imply that you're racist, and the former's not seen as cool, and the latter is especially uncool, and of course nobody here wants to be seen as uncool  ;)  So while you'll still see, for example, tons of flags everywhere on 17 june (independence day), because that's expected, you can't just drive down a random neighborhood on a random day and see every third house with an flag outside like you do in some of the more jingoistic parts of the US.

            Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

            by Rei on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 03:08:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Nasty, funny, so true comic. (0+ / 0-)

          Thanks for that.

          German here, too. And indeed I have a flag stored in the bottom drawer which I vowed only to unpack if our national soccer team would score world championship. (Next year next chance.) My family give me funny looks even for that.

          I really like a custom they have in Switzerland: Most cafes and restaurants serve sugar cubes, tea biscuits and such in packages printed with the coats of arms of the various cantons. So you can always wonder "Hey, what canton was this already, where is it located, and what is it known for?"

          Back to topic, one of our former presidents, Johannes Rau, put it this way: You can be glad to be (born) German, but not proud of it. People can only be proud of what they have accomplished themselves.

          You'd be amazed how many people failed to understand the distinction and badmouthed him about it.

          Oh, and happy polar night up there. ^^

          Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

          by intruder from Old Europe on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:47:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I like that quote :) (0+ / 0-)

            Added to my "quotes list"  ;)

            Our nights aren't long yet (this close to the equinox, day length is pretty similar for everyone), but they'll get that way  ;)  I wanted to have my first good Northern Lights viewing of the season a couple days ago when the solar activity level was high, but it was all clouded over.  But it'll come.  :)

            Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

            by Rei on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 02:59:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  correction/warning: (0+ / 0-)

              That was not a literal quote, just the gist of it. Sorry, I should have mentioned that.

              Googled for the full quote and found this:

              "Man kann nicht stolz sein auf etwas, was man selber gar nicht zu Stande gebracht hat, sondern man kann froh sein oder dankbar dafür, dass man Deutscher ist. Aber stolz kann man darauf nicht sein [...]. Stolz ist man auf das, was man selber zu Wege gebracht hat."
              on wikiquote

              Nonprofessional translation:
              "One can not be proud of something that one did not accomplish by oneself, rather one may be happy and grateful for being German. But proud - one can not be of that. You are proud of what you have accomplished on your own."

              Thanks again for the comic link! I've spent more than an hour reading those. Hilarious! Grumpy Finland, drunk Denmark, psychotic Iceland ...

              @polar night not yet:
              Oh well, it will come for you, I'm sure. Have fun with the polar bears - and the penguins!

              Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

              by intruder from Old Europe on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 08:44:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  That's an interesting distinction. (0+ / 0-)

            I would dispute, however, that people can only be proud of what they have accomplished themselves.  You can be proud of your parents' or siblings' accomplishments, can't you?

            And then of course there is that species of pride that comes of refusing to let others tell you that you should be ashamed of what you are.  I don't think national pride fits in that category, though.

            •  To some extent? (0+ / 0-)

              If you contributed to your parents' or siblings' accomplishments, of course you can be proud of that, too.

              But what of your parents' deeds before you were even born? How can you be proud of that? They should be proud of that, and you admire them for it.

              Of course it's mostly semantics, and it's natural to want to feel proud of your parents or any group you might belong to. On a logical, abstract level though, I believe it's good to think about the distinction.

              Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

              by intruder from Old Europe on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 08:52:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  When I Look at Our (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Batya the Toon, SixSixSix

        Constitution and what it stands for versus, say being ruled by an oil barron king or a religious leader, then yes, I AM proud to be an American.  Because I am luck enough to have been born on a "piece of property" that offers the promise of individual liberty and representative government.  

        At the end of the day, it is our system that gives or denies the right to that individual dignity.  

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 07:33:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pride really isn't the right word. (3+ / 0-)

        Gratitude is more like it. I mean honestly, you think the US is bad? Try life in Zimbabwe. Or how about Russia? You say critical things about Putin and you wind up in prison. A Russian prison.

        Trust me, you don't want to end up in a Russian prison. Our prisons are like summer camp by comparison. I'm more thankful to be here than anything. It ain't perfect, but the alternatives are so much worse.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 11:15:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm thankful as well. BUT... (3+ / 0-)
          Trust me, you don't want to end up in a Russian prison. Our prisons are like summer camp by comparison. I'm more thankful to be here than anything. It ain't perfect, but the alternatives are so much worse.
          it's not like America and Russia are the only two countries in the world.

          Would it have been so terrible to have been born in Switzerland? Sweden? France?

          Is America so exceptional that all the citizens of those countries should cry themselves to sleep over their lives of misery and deprivation?

          Look at the number of people in our "summer-camp" prisons? Do you think they are all having a great time there? Abused by guards and other inmates alike? Just because someone borrowed their car or phone for a drug deal?

          I'm thankful to be an American, but I am NOT thankful that so many people in this country think "WE'RE #! !!! WE'RE #1 !!!  USA! USA! USA!"

          Our country has done some good things, some terrible things, and some criminal things. I'm proud of the good things, ashamed of the terrible things, and disgusted by the criminal things.

          A long answer to a short, but deceptively complex, question.

          "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

          by gfre on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 05:54:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Points to ponder... (0+ / 0-)

      Having traveled extensively & lived abroad primarily while serving Active Duty Air Force, one uniquely American trait is our insatiable desire to loudly boast of being the Greatest Country on the Planet. Whether debatably true or not, I assure you this is generally off putting to many residents of all those "lesser" countries.  More off putting is hearing those boasts from folks who've rarely travelled their own state much less ever left the country.
      Imagine how annoying you'd likely find a coworker if they spent much of the time ensuring You Knew they were four rungs above you on the evolutionary ladder.
      Kinda works the same nationally.

      •  The thing is, though ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... you can be justly proud of (say) a child you've raised, or a book you've written, or a meal you've cooked, without insisting on telling everyone about how that child or that book or that meal is the greatest there has ever been and all other children or books or meals are inferior.

        You can have pride without wanting to put down everything/everyone else that can be compared to the thing you're proud of.

        As Ogden Nash put it: "I think that you and yours are delightful and I think that me and mine are delightful too."

  •  Of course I'm proud to be an American. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, Eric Stratton

    As I have said on other occasions, I'd find most other countries totally boring.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 01:51:07 PM PDT

    •  other countries, agreed! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Louisiana 1976, gffish, dinazina, Bronx59

      Actually I lived in Italy for 5 years and wouldn't be willing to trade my citizenship for anything, but I just find myself cringing nowadays when I hear all of the jingoistic 'proud to be an American' chest thumping.

      sometimes the dragon wins

      by kathy in ga on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 01:54:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  may you live in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      interesting times. . .

    •  Heh, nothing boring about where I live. (4+ / 0-)

      And I can't wait to give up my US citizenship.

      People vary.

      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

      by Rei on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 04:03:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  swings and roundabouts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinazina, fleisch

      I'm with marsanges. Nationality is an inborn trait, sometimes interesting but not something to puff yourself up about. I am happy for either of my countries when they get something right, and maybe a little proud if I helped make it so.
      That being said, almost all places have their points. I've been petrified sometimes, but almost never bored. It's a big world out there, worth investigating to the point of spending extensive time in various places.

      “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

      by northsylvania on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 04:39:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh... say what?? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania
        Nationality is an inborn trait,
        "Inborn" as in genetic in nature? Possibly you mean since it is the culture into which you are born that inculcates "nationalism" and pride in one's country.

        Myself, I was brought up in a catholic military family and even though my mother was an immigrant, and my father the son of an immigrant father, we were Red, White and Blue. This great country has been great to me and my family.

        But I'm not proud of many of the actions of our government. From it's founding through present day, there has been an unrelenting parade of self-serving, greedy, licentious, and criminal "public servants" constantly siphoning off tax dollars into there own and their cronies pockets.

        The fact a large part of this country was built by slave labor at a time when it had disappeared from almost every place else in the world is not something of which we should be proud. The failure of diplomacy in our own country  and the subsequent Civil War to keep alive or finally kill-off slavery should be a point of shame, not pride. And we remain a racist country, by and large.

        I'm not proud of our government's "Indian Wars" and the endless, worthless "treaties" foisted upon them at the point of a gun amounting to Genocide. We stole large parts of this country. Our taste for empire has extended to many places like the Philippines, Panama, many places in the south Pacific, Cuba, etc... Do a search if you want all of them. We can argue that "it was a different time. It wasn't us. We wouldn't do that today." Bullshit.

        Not "proud" of Gitmo. Nor rendition, waterboarding,  drone strikes, discretionary wars, massive amounts of unaccountable money in campaigns, NSA snooping, militarization of the civil police, crumbling infrastructure, the rich getting richer at the expense of the poorest and the middle class. Need I go on?

        So put me down as very grateful to have been born in the greatest country to have EVER existed, but not "proud" of many of the actions of our leaders. There's something rotten in the heart of the U.S. But I would take up arms to defend it if need be.

        "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

        by CanisMaximus on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 07:49:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Always proud to be an American. (7+ / 0-)

    Name me one country that's been perfect? Like humans they all have flaws, but damn if I don't find my country's ideals inspiring.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You. Keep pointing out others. You're most likely the problem.

    by DAISHI on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:04:12 PM PDT

  •  You are right to be proud... (7+ / 0-)

    This country has done much that all of humanity should look upon and feel pride for. How much greater the pride, then, should an American feel for those same things, since you are part of the people that made them possible? For much of my life I was an outsider but nonetheless proud of humanity, because of the things I saw America and Americans accomplishing. Now I live here and the ideals and principles that led to those accomplishments still inspire. I still see Americans all around me who are similarly inspired, and who do their best to live accordingly.

    Your pride is more than justified. All the more so because of the disquiet that these threats to those ideals cause you.

    There is little an American can teach an Englishman about pride in his native land, and since I have come to also share a measure of your pride in the land that I now call my home I can only share your wish for a future in which that pride is once more unequivocal.

  •  Glad to be, Yes. Proud to be, NO! (13+ / 0-)
    Pride should be reserved for something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth.
     - George Carlin
    Pride only hurts, it never helps.
    – Marsellus Wallace, Pulp Fiction
    Pride... :eyeroll:

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:23:00 PM PDT

    •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vayle, Janet 707

      Both pride in and shame over being a citizen of any country are completely incomprehensible to me. A country is an arrangement human beings set up to make their lives easier, and nothing more. It's not a mystical object.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 12:49:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not just proud to be an American, but (7+ / 0-)

    proud to be a Texan.

    The Gee O Pee notwithstanding, here in Texas are the standing monuments to some seriously historic achievements -- from the El Paso Mission Trail to the Saturn V displayed at Rocket Park, NASA JSC in Houston.

    I don't consider either of the Presidents Bush Texan, nor Chuck Norris (an Oklahoman and an actor, he's Gee O Pee from the roots of his hair to the toes of his boots; I respect him as a fellow Air Force vet, though I don't agree with his politics. I consider action star Christian Kane, born in Dallas, a better example -- not to mention, CK can sing). Rick Perry is embarrassment enough, and then we've got Louis Gohmert, Steve Stockman, and Baby Killer Neugebauer to answer for (dear Lord, what did we do to deserve these sterling examples of how NOT to be a decent human being, let alone hold public office?) ... and those are just the ones we exported ... or tried hard to, anyway.

    But look who else we've got...for every single member of the Bush tribe there's a better example in Texas' native sons and daughters. Just in terms of years, compare the national service of George HW Bush with that of Lloyd Bentsen; contrast the work of Lloyd Doggett or Barbara Jordan or George Mahon with Bush junior. Georgie Pee (another carpetbagging Bush!) thinks he's hot snot now, but look no further than the Castro brothers of San Antonio to see not just his match but his way-betters, neither of whom was so classless as to rip up an ex-girlfriend's lawn with an SUV in a drunken rage. Neil Bush's S&L debacle at Olney makes a fine contrast to the work of John Connally at Treasury (yes, I know; but the John Connally who got shot in Dallas -- the same man -- was a Texas Democrat, remember; and Oswald nearly killed him alongside JFK). It was LBJ who signed the Voting RIghts Act and Medicare bills into law, and it was LBJ who signed the bills that funded landing a man on the moon.
    He listened to the wrong advice on Vietnam -- but he's not the President who started a "War on Drugs" that turned for-profit prisons into one of the US' top 20 industries. An intimidator Johnson surely was, as well as a student of Machiavelli's master class. But LBJ really did want to make the world better, especially for people with no money. Just like JFK before him, and FDR before him. Just like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama since him, too.

    No, kathy in ga, it's NOT all one-sided.

    I'm proud to be an FDR/LBJ/BHO American. I'm proud to be a Texas Democrat. I'm proud of the best of us -- and appalled by the worst of us, and bemused by the sheer unadulterated brass of the likes of Bill O'Reilly and the Teawadhadjis he preaches to.

    And I'll be go to hell if I'll let small-souled gutless wonders like Boehner, Cruz and Cornyn smear my country with impunity, or Cynthia Dunbar to help the likes of Robertson and Joyner pigeonhole God to suit themselves.

     

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:32:10 PM PDT

  •  asdf (6+ / 0-)

    Proud, yes.  But embarrassed, too.

    I have Canadian neighbors who regularly ask me to explain what's happening in DC while they shake their heads and smile.

    "The diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." James Madison

    by mslat27 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:32:32 PM PDT

  •  history (6+ / 0-)

    Wealth should not induce pride--we were blessed geologically and geographically--and we became rich.  Along the way--we killed off most natives, segreated the rest.  We "enjoyed" the cruelest form of slavery--needed a war to eliminate it--and continue to perpetuate it's negative effects.  We've polluted the planet  more per capita than any other country.  We've gone to war many times--usually for gain, rarely to save others.
    Our system of economics has now resulted in a hugely unequal distribution of wealth--out safety net is weakest of all the wealthy Western nations.  Our democracy has been slow to recognize the rights of women, gays, and minorities.  As a nation of immigrants, we blame newcomers relentlessly.  We still display the Statue of Liberty--why?
    No, I'm not proud of the above, if I were, I'd be less of a liberal--looking for change.  Money shouldn't buy love, respect, or pride.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:34:34 PM PDT

  •  Hadn't ever occurred to me not to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo

    The loons in the House have their hands on the levers of power at the moment, but they don't represent all Americans. There have been loons in positions of power in this country in the past, and there will be other loons in positions of power in the future. Our country still strives for something greater, and yes, I'm proud to be part of it.

  •  I'm thankful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    micsimov, Vayle, Janet 707

    to be an American, and glad for the good things we've done, but pride is something you have to earn for yourself, like the earlier comment pointed out.

    Reading some history, and seeing that the US of A told France and England and Israel to get the heck out of Egypt in 1956, I'm glad for that obscure example, among others.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:28:28 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand the concept. (9+ / 0-)

    I'm an American because I was born here and I've lived here all my life. I'm proud of my accomplishments. I'm proud of the way my daughter turned out. Pride in country seems weird to me.

    •  Not as weird as pride in the local (0+ / 0-)

      professional sports team...which isn't even a public institution (though they have an amazing way of reaching into the public purse when they need a new stadium).

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 06:21:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey did you miss what happened yesterday? (3+ / 0-)

    Ten of millions of Americans started the process to get health insurance because the stars aligned four years ago and a health care law was passed.  Not a perfect law, but a reasonable one.  And now there is nothing the other side can do to stop the law from going into effect and those millions of folks from getting coverage.  The rest is theater.  

    Hell yes, I was proud yesterday.  We may be slow, but every now and then we can get 'er done.  

  •  I rarely answer this question honestly (7+ / 0-)

    or in the detail it deserves-- Then again, I think few answer it in the detail it deserves.

    ...I thought about writing a multi-page ramble about this but I'll just give you the TL;DR version.

    I am proud of many Americans and what they have accomplished but not America as a country.

    "...So the world might be mended"

    by Cofcos on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 10:05:42 PM PDT

  •  Proud? (8+ / 0-)

    I love being an American, but proud? To me, "pride" is how I feel about things I've accomplished. Just because Mom squirted me out here doesn't amount to an accomplishment.

  •  Hmmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Janet 707

    Is our country still better than most other countries?  Sure, by a whole bunch.  But would I like it a hell of a lot better if a certain 35% of the population decided to relocate to Outer Mongolia?

    You Betcha.

  •  I don't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teabaggerssuckbalz, dinazina

    Really have a choice.  I was born here and every country I would rather live in has strict emigration laws.  I am proud to have been able to have made a decent living despite the obstacles thrown up in my way.  I.e. Unaffordable healthcare (until now) no paid sick leave, no paternity leave, a low minimum wage, weak safety regulations, expensive tuition, massive unregulated firearm ownership, lack of public transit.  

    There have been many great Fellow US citizens,  as a country however, we don't exactly have an awesome track record since WW2.  

  •  What's to be proud about? (10+ / 0-)

    The whole idea of nationalistic pride does not make sense to me. After all, this is just land, and I am a "wandering Jew" (maybe that's why nationalists are vehemently antisemitic).  But what has this country achieved since 1970? Killing millions of brown people and waging chemical warfare in Vietnam? War in Iraq? Disparity of wealth not seen anywhere in the Western world? Infant mortality rates to rival Nicaragua? 2% of the black population behind bars in the War on Drugs? One of the most inefficient healthcare systems in the world? Half the population doesn't believe in evolution? In climate change? In SCIENCE? Really, what's there to be proud of? The country has everything it needs to be just about paradise, but instead the most radical reactionary politicians in the world get daily play on the TV.

    I was cleaning out reams of photographs, and I saw a side of my family that emigrated from Russia to Switzerland, and I thought, "what lunatics for my grandparents to move to the frikken Bronx" when their cousins were living in Bern or someplace like that.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 10:55:39 PM PDT

  •  Isn't pride one of the 7 deadly sins? eom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    figbash, dinazina

    Existence always was and always will be.

    by Seattle Mark on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 11:17:35 PM PDT

    •  The sin is that chest-thumping blinds us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet 707

      ...to both problems within the country and opportunities from outside.  

      When so many believe that the United States is superior in every possible way to every other nation on earth, it is impossible to adopt things they are doing better than we are, from healthcare, to rail and bus transit, to educating a manufacturing and service workforce.  Except for a few multinationals selling U.S.-branded (but not manufactured or designed) goods, we also fail to see opportunities in selling our products to their countries.

      Large-scale immigration to this country is from much-poorer countries.  Except for a few Brits who will go anywhere with a warm beach and a low cost of living, few people from developed countries want to come here for keeps.

  •   Imagine there's no countries nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dinazina, bygorry, mahakali overdrive

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

    by Tank Mountaine on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 01:44:12 AM PDT

  •  when I wrote this diary (4+ / 0-)

    it was the Lee Greenwood song that was running through my head, hence the title.  I used to be able to at least hear that song without cringing, now not so much.  

      But love of country is unquestioned. On Sept 11, 2008 I went to a volunteer meeting for the Obama campaign.  When I came home I learned that my house had burned down, my three cats had all suffocated and most of my belongings were destroyed.  Standing in front of the house with the firemen I saw my flag still waving above the house and found some comfort.   On that particular anniversary surrounded by First Responders there to help me, I was responding to the call, 'Ask what you can do for your country'.

    sometimes the dragon wins

    by kathy in ga on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 02:30:42 AM PDT

  •  We are making ourselves look weak (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yorkiedoglover

    to the rest of the world.

    That's all you have to tell a conservative about this sorry episode in our history.

    They can't argue with it. I know: I've tried it on them. You can see the wheels in their little heads spinning, but nothing comes out. Nothing.

  •  I'm not proud of the fact that a small (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yorkiedoglover

    number of rightwing extremists are allowed to destroy our economy and hold us hostage to their ideals.  It's just stunning that the rest of the GOP just goes along lockstep, as usual.  It's embarrassing.

    Where is the sense of American pride in these assholes?  And when do we get to start calling them terrorists or seditionists or traitors, and more importantly to hear our media do so?

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 06:45:44 AM PDT

  •  I'm not proud to be an American. This used to be a (0+ / 0-)

    great country, but it is no longer.

    There are a few, much better countries, such as Canada and some in Europe, especially the Scandanavian countries.

    True, the majority of countries are even worse than the U.S., but that's not really saying much.

  •  Be proud to be American (0+ / 0-)

    Just be ashamed that the Tea Party are also American.

  •  Of course I'm proud (0+ / 0-)

    the day-to-day actions of a few people that disagree with me does not diminish my opinion of the American Experiment.

    On a larger scale, frankly, I'm glad I live in a country where this CAN happen.  Whats the alternative... some naive utopia where 300 million people always work together on common ideals or a more realistic dystopia where one opinion, whether good or bad, can simply be imposed by force and unquestioned?

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 07:07:31 AM PDT

  •  The Essence of America (0+ / 0-)

    The essence of America, and of what it means to be an American are embodied in the U.S. Constitution, and the liberal democratic principles upon which is was founded. You can always feel proud about that singular document, and the values it portrays.

    Any embarrassment you may presently feel is likely due to the values and actions of a minority of our fellow Americans and their elected Reps. This bigoted, angry, entitled, insurrectionist element has been with us since the founding of the nation. They must be conquered with courage and resolve, as was done in 1865, and then again 1965.

    •  You mean that document that limited (0+ / 0-)

      the vote to men, and counted slaves (it was okay with slaves) as partial people so that the people who owned them could grab more power?  Those values?  The Constitution, like the U.S., is a mixed bag, with admirable and not-so-admirable qualities.

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:59:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  other than that period between 1998 and 2003 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    i can't say i've ever been.

    this is just a place i live.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

    by terrypinder on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 08:19:17 AM PDT

    •  as for shame, no, i've got no shame (0+ / 0-)

      but pride, eh. But I've never lived anywhere else and never will so I really can't judge my experience. I do read the news from most places American progressives seem to have orgasms over despite never having been there and they have their own unpleasantness too.

      Also, I'm a person of colour, and we're more or less not "welcome" anywhere on Earth, so there's that.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

      by terrypinder on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 08:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ashamed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral

       Forgive me, I live in one of the reddest of the red states and ALL of my family  except my husband and children are wingnutters of one stripe or another. I'm sure that colors my view of the country as a whole.  
      I've not been proud of my country since G. W. Bush became president. I would leave if I could.  I'm just that sick of it.
       We are co-signers on our son's student loan. If interest rates go up a much, we will have to keep working to help him pay them.  My husband is 69. Luckily we are in fairly good health.
        We had just started a business when Bush the First was elected and drove the economy into the ground. We lost the business and our savings and a lot more.
        We had paid everything off and  were getting ahead again when G. W. was elected and we took another big hit. At this rate we may never retire.

  •  I find it inconvenient... (0+ / 0-)

    to be an American and will be happy when I'm eligible for citizenship in my host country.

    I find the U.S. interesting.  Interesting enough that I have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in American Studies, and that I continue to teach and research in American Studies in the latter stage of a long career.  There are good things and bad things about the U.S., as there about pretty much every country.  It's not the greatest place in the world to live these days (which is why I don't live there any more), but I still like a lot of things about it.  I just dislike more things.

    I do not find much to admire about our government or social system, especially in the last several decades.

    Even from childhood, "pride" wasn't something I associated with nationality or any other inherited identity.  It was something I was taught to associate with actions.  And as far as actions on the national and international stage, the contemporary U.S. in my eyes doesn't measure up to the standards that would trigger pride of association.

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:47:08 AM PDT

  •  Gratitude is more becoming than pride (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leema

    ------
    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 10:09:30 AM PDT

  •  Hell yeah I am. (0+ / 0-)

    I guess I'm just shallow and foolish and have never opened a history book in my life. Or maybe I'm just an evil guy... but I still get all emo when I see the flag, and the 4th of July is my favorite holiday.

    But you're a better person than me because you figured out that a powerful nation made up of hundreds of millions of people has done some bad things over the past few centuries. Must be quite a burden to have to carry all that moral superiority around, I don't know how you manage.

    You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    by Eric Stratton on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 11:11:57 AM PDT

  •  No I am not. The world is laughing at America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yorkiedoglover

    and countries like China take advantage of our paralysis and move ahead of us. I wish I could say I was optimistic about the future, but until things change substantially in D.C. I cannot.

  •  No. I had an opportunity to work/live in Japan (0+ / 0-)

    from 1992-1994; having been born-raised in a rural, conservative part of the country, it was eye-opening. The English-language newspapers reported the news in a non-US-centric way. My eyes were opened to the fact that the US was not the only thing going on in the world.

    Only gone two years, and yet my return to the US was one of massive culture shock - once again, I was in the America-is-exceptional-and-the-only-thing-that-matters-in-the-world bubble. The news of the rest of the world? Pffft.

    Thirteen years later, I fell in love with a same-sex foreign national. Three years after that, his visa to be in the US expired, and my options were to either end my relationship with him, to attempt to maintain a relationship with an ocean between us, or... well, my sig line describes the "or", which is what I chose.

    Three years later, I'm being "allowed" to bring him back.  So we sent our paperwork off last Saturday and now, thanks to the shutdown, who knows how much longer we'll wait to return.

    I don't really even want to return, but he, having gone to university in the States, has only one goal: to become a US citizen. We've lived in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom - both of which recognize us as a family unit, both of which have universal health care.

    Proud to be an American?

    Not in a long, long time.

    Yes, I'm bitter. I have reason to be. I've been challenged here multiple times on that. My response? Live my experience and then you have a right to challenge me. Not before.

    A homo in a bi-national relationship - at 49, I had to give up my career, leave behind my dying father, my family & friends and move to Europe. And I'm one of the *lucky* ones: Immigration Equality

    by aggieric on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 01:51:26 PM PDT

  •  The song destroyed the concept. (0+ / 0-)

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 02:33:16 PM PDT

  •  I was never sure (0+ / 0-)

    what "proud to be an American" meant.  I mean, nobody goes around proclaiming "I'm proud to be a Bulgarian!  Yippee!"  So I don't see how we're any different.  I had no control over being born here, and this country's done some great things, and some not so great.  So we can continue leading the charge on some progressive movements, like gay rights--which is now gaining steam worldwide.  But let's leave the "America! Fuck yeah!" junk at home, m'kay?

  •  Proud? Not since Reagan... n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 05:17:12 PM PDT

  •  Mostly proud. Ashamed of a couple of things... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    I'm ashamed that we don't have Universal healthcare and that the middle-class has been getting hosed for 30 years. I am ashamed at some of the racism that's come out from opponents of Obama.

    That said...

    We elected a Black President. We had the first female Speaker of the House. We've repealed DADT and allow LGB members of the military to serve openly. Marriage equality is rapidly expanding. All of those things have happened fairly recently. As bad as things are in certain policy areas, we're also doing some amazing things.

  •  I'm so proud that I managed to be born (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida

    in America. It took a lot of very hard work, although of course I can't remember any of it. But I know that if had slackened off even for a moment of those critical nine months, I would have ended up being born in Canada, or Venezuela, or even Kenya, heaven forfend. But, since I managed to get myself born right there in the US Naval Hospital in Quantico, VA, I have every right to be proud to be an American, and I am proud, damn proud! I hope all those fetal slackers from foreign countries are properly ashamed of themselves. If they'd just kept their nose—or their nose bud, depending on how developed they were at the time—to the grindstone, they too could have been born here in the Land of Lincoln and Hoover and Roosevelt and Bush.

  •  I'm proud to be an American (0+ / 0-)

    but ashamed at the Obama administration for closing the WW II memorial on the vets.  Bad form.  

    •  Of all the things to be ashamed of (0+ / 0-)

      the administration for...like allowing the sequester to go through, keeping Guantanamo Bay open, the drone attacks in Pakistan, the NSA stuff....that's what you're ashamed of?

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 06:26:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nope, I'm not and have never been proud (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FogCityJohn

    I'm a Gen X'er, I came of age during the Lewinsky scandal and "it depends on what the meaning of IS is." Thirty years later, those words still burn in my brain.

    Honestly, I will do what I can while here to move the country toward the Left, but I'm saving my pennies now to expatriate to some country where I don't HAVE to feel any nationalist pride at all. I'm sick of nationalism. My life was one war after another, one military skirmish after another, draconian treatments upheld by the supreme court about gay marriage and social justice for immigrants and African-Americans, laws to keep the rich richer and the poor poorer, with the divide more stark than ever between each, Iraq, Afghanistan, cluster bombs, unmanned drones, and children dying. Too much military escalation in Iran but never enough concern for Rwanda, for Uganda, for Cote d'Ivoire.

    I grow weary of this.

    I pay 1/4 of the paltry monthly sum I make to fund it.

    I wish to stop doing that. So I plan to leave in the future. My heart isn't hear because I can't make a good case for the benefits of our nation as it is, compared with most other nations of comparable ilk.

    Also, our radio stations suck.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:55:26 PM PDT

  •  this is a real low point (0+ / 0-)

    that's for sure.  when one party believes that the way to legislate is to shut the government down we have ventured into dangerous ground.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 03:51:18 AM PDT

  •  I'm Happy to be here (0+ / 0-)

    The word Proud just doesn't seem to fit very well.

    I'm American because of what my Ancestors did a
    long time ago.

    This country enjoys the advantages of having an
    abundance of natural resources and great climate for
    producing food.

    All we had to do was practice GENOCIDE on the people
    that were already living here.

    And then we practiced SLAVERY to lighten the work load.

    This country has given people the freedom to do a
    lot of great things.

    This country has also done some of the worst things
    in the world that Nobody should EVER feel proud about.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 04:30:27 AM PDT

  •  What's wrong with taking pride in one's homeland? (0+ / 0-)

    I am a part of it, just like I could be a part of a team on any level.  So the rule is that I can be happy to be an American, but not proud, because it wasn't an individual accomplishment of mine?

    Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 05:12:07 AM PDT

  •  We're Americans, we can be proud of anything. (0+ / 0-)

    Think about that statement.
    We are expected to be proud no matter what our government or people do.  This is absurd.

    Are our critical thinking skills really that bad? Can we not see the distinction between taking pride and being proud?
     Do I have to be condemed for saying that there are an awful lot of things about this country that do not give me any reason to be proud.

    I can only take pride in working to make things better.
    I can see some value in nationalism, but too often it is used as a tool to manufacture consent for war and stoke jingoistic pride while destroying another nation as was done in Iraq.  

    So maybe we do have some things to be proud of, but if we cannot acknowledge  those things we should be ashamed of, then, welll that's not something to be proud of.

    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 07:59:00 AM PDT

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