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View Diary: Are you still 'proud to be an American?' I'm not so sure (88 comments)

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  •  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

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        •  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

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        •  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

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        •  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

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          •  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

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          •  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

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      •  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

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        •  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

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    •  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."

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