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LiberalUprising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:10 PM
Original message
Are you proud to be an American
This article hits home with me, it really sums up my thoughts and feelings I've been having the last year or so

It all began about a year ago. I had just finished watching the morning news over a cup of coffee, and nothing felt quite right. Having dutifully pecked the cheek of my wife with a kiss, I stood beside my sporty new car with mug in hand. The engine was purring away before my drive to work, and my favorite bumper sticker caught my eye. Proud to be an American it read. I paused for a moment, reflecting upon this. For some reason it just didnt set well, like a lunch eaten too fast. On the way to the office I was at a loss to explain, in fact, why it began to seriously irritate me. I see statements like these on countless other cars every day, and I wondered how many people think for themselves these days. Then the question aroseWhat are we so proud of? As I asked myself this question over and over again, I suddenly couldnt think of a single response. So why did I have this proclamation on my bumper, if I didnt know what it meant? Why does everyone else seem to have one too, (or a flag or sticker in the window and yard). Do they know something I dont??

My day at work was pretty much the same as always, except for one thing. I seemed to raise a few eyebrows over lunch with my question, "Why are you proud to be an American"? The immediate reactions were about the same as mine. There was also obvious irritation about being
asked a question to which everyone is expected to know the answer. Each person I asked had no immediate response, and their confusion reminded me of my own. But then to my relief the answer that was provided one way or another, was something to the effect of..."Well, we're a free country. We're a democracy, and the people decide how they want to believe, and you know, that's a lot better than any place else in the world, right?" ...

...Recalling recent events and the sorry shape the world is in right now, such responses seemed very shallow. They sounded like tape recordings being played on cue. It was a little eerie how everybody answered in the same basic way, using the same words Id heard on television so many times.

...Proud to be an American? Proud to value egotism and image, over practicality and reality? The US spends 6 billion dollars annually on education, and 8 billion for cosmetics! Any television ad should prove this point to you. People buy things not for their practicality but for their other words, they aim to show off, which reminds me of small children trying to show whos got the best toy in the sandbox. Thats pretty sad. If this is all life is about, then no wonder people are committing suicide in increasing numbers. Never again for me. The American Dream has become a nightmare for the world and for ourselves.

And whatever happened to just being truly happy and fulfilled, by living an uncomplicated life? Americans are, for the most part, an unhappy lot. They dont look healthy, they thrive on soap operas and romance novels, laugh nervously, smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, talk non-stop trivia and need to take pills just to experience some sexual appetite. In fact, were becoming more unhappy by the minute, if one is to understand what statistics and simple observation are revealing. Were taking more Prozac, Zantril, vallium, alcohol and a million other antidepressants than ever before, because of what theyre calling chronic stress syndrome or chronic depression. Our children are on Riddlin for the same reason, and 20 years ago that would have been unheard of. Were a nervous and suspicious people, never missing a chance to dial 911 at the slightest provocation. Weve got more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world, and were the most medicated. Its politically correct to call all this a chemical imbalance but the fact of the matter is, our lifestyle and materialistic values are KILLING us. Our young people are suicidally depressed. Grade school children carry knives and guns to school. Do you suppose theres something wrong with society, rather than with these kids? You bet.

We fully expect to surgically remove this stressed organ and that diseased tissue, and maybe our lives will be extended, (though not improved) another five years. And you know what? We count on being diseased and incapacitated after 30 years of hard labor in the 9-5, (or is that 8 to 6?) routine. Thats why its common to believe that we each need a million + dollars saved up, to survive our self abuse in the nearest rest home. Weve become wage slaves who never question what its all for. What is all this success for anyway? So that somebody, somewhere, some day might somehow admire you as a great person, when deep down you know its all just a faade? We supposedly work for all these material conveniences, yet there is nothing convenient about living 30+ years according to a job description. Were destroying our minds, bodies and planet to accomplish nothing more than an extended hospital stay. Ive noticed that some people Ive discussed these matters with call such statements negative. But is the truth negative or is it simply true? Is an ostrich safe just because it sticks its head in the sand?

We all sit in front of television sets like zombies. Televisions have become our closest companions, instead of other people. And people will watch anything, as an escape. If were so successful then why is it that all we want to do is escape? If were so successful then why is it that all we want to do is escape? Our mental lives are like those of soap opera characters concerned only with game show trivia. Our intellectual standards have sunk to a point where no one even asks Why? any more, and no one questions anything. The words truth, logic honesty and reality arent even in our vocabulary. No one dares speak them because of the responsibility they might imply.. Everyone has their own truth as though truth is whatever you want to make up. We dont really talk to each other any more. Its only polite smiles and small talk, as though there isnt anything more important to talk about. We care more about our petty emotional distress and what product to buy next, than we do for the planet, which is being destroyed as we speak. We care more for what goes into the engines of our cars then our own bodies, while spending more time taking care of the lawn rather than working out. Dont you see? Image has become far more important to us than substance. Our lives are like a fancy box with exquisite wrapping paper and bows, but with nothing inside. ...
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. oh my, excellent article-- kicking and recommending....
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. I once was proud to be an American
I hope to be again someday, but it may take more than my lifetime to restore what this regime has destroyed.
America has lost it's luster
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. This is a pretty sticky melange of truth, half-truth, and fiction . . .
That it's pretty hard to respond comprehensively.

So I won't even try.

Instead I'll answer the question (novel idea).


Do I hate the direction this administration has taken us over the last 5 and a half years? Have my ears burned in cities all over the world when the locals decried American imperialism or cultural pollution? Do I wish that wisdom got more play in our culture than exhibitionism? Do I weep for a generation of young men in prison and a generation of young women who think pregnancy is the only way to ensure they're loved? Do I gnash my teeth over intolerance, political cheapshots, corporate corruption, wasted dreams, an endangered planet, a spavined and exhausted insistence on more, more, more?


But do I remember the people in my life who have filled it with joy with their thoughtfulness and giving spirit? Do I feel pride at adversity overcome and the brilliance of the founders of this country? Do I marvel at the competence that surrounds me in how communities function? Do I gasp at genius in the arts and sciences? Do I say to myself daily "we can win back our country, we can do better, and what better place to start than here?"


We have so far to go, but think back less than 10 years ago when -- despite its multitude of faults, shortcomings, materialism, and exploitation -- it was possible to believe that America was a force for good.

Right now my country has been taken over by thugs. Great evil is being perpetrated in our names. But we can stop it and turn things around again.

And we'd better, because there's only so much life left in the planet.
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LiberalUprising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I think you've missed the larger point here
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 08:51 PM by LiberalUprising
America has been an imperialist nation with it's people consumed by the ME ME ME attitude long before bushco took over. Do you really believe it's just the past 5 1/2 years?

Do you really believe that if we just get rid of bush and his crew that the US will be a place of freedom and we will somehow have a democracy again, that is assuming we ever did have one.

How can you not acknowledge the corporate takeover of the goverment (backed by of course the banking system), that just keeps becoming more and more blantently obvious no matter who is in power or which party is in charge.

Did you know the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with the federal goverment and never has?

Do you know the orgins of the Federal Reserve?

This has been coming for many years now, far before poppy or reagan, it is by no means a recent devolpment.

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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. What you're talking about are cultural flaws and . . .
governmental flaws. I admit to both. Imbalanced energy consumption and cultural imperialism are very grave sins.

Nor do I lay all of America's faults at the foot of the current administration. America has done evil things throughout its history. In terms of abuses against its own people and residents of the North American continent, things have been much worse in other periods. Preemptive wars against Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, etc., etc., have stained America's honor time and time again.

However, on balance, and in comparison with most of the rest of the world, I'd say America has been a force for good. One of the reasons that the current administration is so deplorable is how they've damaged our ability to do good, which was on an upward trend prior to this administration.

Can we redeem ourselves? Can we get a grip on corporate enslavement of legislative bodies around the country? Can we stop being the single largest contributor to global warming? Can we moderate our fascination with ourselves?

I'm not sure. But I am sure we won't if we don't try. And I damn certain we won't if we don't get rid of the truly wicked, truly incompetent people who are governing us now.
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LiberalUprising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Well I agree with your last sentence
As for the rest I guess thats why you call youself MrModerate :-)

I just don't agree that we can work within a system that I feel is rotten to the core and totally beyond repair. The system is what has to change, not the party in charge.

I really wish it was as easy as just getting people with a D in front of their names elected.

Thanks for your input and taking the time to comment
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William769 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. I am proud to be an American!
And I always will be. But most of the time I am ashamed of my Government. There is a difference.
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Crabby Appleton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes nt
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Monkeyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. yep twice
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Moochy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
6. Nationalism is a poison
Thats right I said it. :D :patriot:
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. I was going to take a lot of words to basically say the same thing.
I like associating myself with the words and deeds of Mssrs. Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. And Lincoln, FDR, and JFK. But I can't take the credit. How would I feel if I were from somewhere else? Political boundaries are arbitrary and I am a citizen of Earth.

So it's yes and no.

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Surya Gayatri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. The old hackneyed saying is more germain than ever...
Pride goeth before the fall...
Love of country, yes. Humility & gratitude for what we've been given, yes.

But, false vanity & aggressive arrogance? A clear danger to both ourselves and the rest of the world. Indeed, nationalism masquerading as patriotic pride is a deadly poison. SG
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
22. And I enthusiastically second it!
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Tyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
8. Proud or Happy?
Wow. That got me thinking. The materialism and the disconnect from others that we seem to feel can be found to some degree in most industrialized countries. Maybe America just has more. It almost seems like the author is talking not so much about whether we are proud to be Americans but rather whether we are happy to be Americans.

I'm basically happy to be an American (although the current rgime scares the shit out of me when I think about what they have done and what they might be up to) and I don't see a problem with having "things" per se. I think our real problem is in the choices we make as individuals and in not seeing or taking advantage of the options and opportunities around us.

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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. The honest answer is
I dont know. What I DO know is that I am NOT proud of what is being done in America's (my) name.
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grannylib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
12. I feel FORTUNATE in many ways to be an American, but I didn't do
anything to BE one...I was born here.
When our nation is both good AND great, and stands up for what is truly right, then I am proud OF America.
When I exercise my rights, such as freedom of speech, or freedom to worship as I choose (without at the same time infringing on the rights of others to worship or not worship as THEY choose) or when I vote, then I AM a proud American.
But 'proud to be an American?' I think one should only take pride (in modest amounts!) in that which one has the folks who came here as immigrants and had to learn and earn in order to BE Americans...THEY should be proud.
I'm an American by accident of birth, not due to anything I have done.
I'm lucky to be an American, and will consider myself luckier still if we have an America left after the corrupt sons of bitches currently in power get their sorry asses thrown OUT.

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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
13. "It was a little eerie how everybody answered in the same basic
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 09:19 PM by patrice
way, using the same words Id heard on television so many times."

Ask almost anyone what they think about anything and you'll hear nearly the same answers over and over and over. I did for ten years as a high school Psychology teacher. I taught Advance Placement Psych to the "smart" ones, AND my classes were popular, but there were very, very, very few even relatively "original" thoughts. The same few shallow words re-arranged over and over again. I think one of the reasons they liked me, kind of, was that I'd get excited about something and had a lot to say, they were kind of amazed by that. Many are bored; I was something different, an oddity they could gossip about, which was one of, if not THE, major pastime there in that ultra-bible-believing community.

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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
15. I always thought saying "proud to be an American" made about as much sense
as saying "proud to be white" or "proud to be a woman" or "proud to be 1/3 Dutch" or "proud to have green eyes"...

I was born's not like I made some really smart decision or courageous stand to become an "American". So what about being an American do I have any right to be proud of?

(Of course I realize that what people really mean when they say it is that they are proud of what "America" stands for...but I think they ought to say that, instead of couching it in a way that seems like they are taking credit for something personally)

Just mho...
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mia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
16. Pride comes before the fall and all of that.
Nationalism is another word for self-centeredness. We're all in this together, no matter where we live on the earth. We've got the government we deserve, and Fascism in the U.S. didn't start in 2000. We've been beating down its path, step by step, as we've grown accustomed to wasteful lifestyles at the expense of others, leaving a very heavy footprint upon the earth and all of its inhabitants. No wonder people hate us.

Proud to be an American? I came of age during the Vietnam era and I've never been proud to be an American. I love my country though. I guess it's like loving your kids, no matter what they do.

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Surya Gayatri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Well said, mia, couldn't agree more...

See my post N20 up thread--posted before I saw yours. Great minds & all that...SG
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
18. No, I am not.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 03:58 AM
Response to Original message
19. not particularly
I would like to think that the place I live in is a good that sense of 'proud.' But instead I feel totally disconnected from this culture, this sorry excuse for government, this rapacious business ethic, and this lying, twisted media. We are suffering from lack of community, lack of trust in each other and in government. It's taking a toll that we can no longer bear. This country, this system -- needs a total overhaul.

It may take the beating we are getting under Bushco to wake enough people up from the poppy field. We deserve to live in a place we can feel good about, instead of feeling like prisoners in some insane version of Survivor. We need to come together and move beyond this present hellhole. It does NOT have to be like this.
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Brazenly Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
23. It's hard to be proud of an accident of birth.
Kinda like being proud of having green eyes or 5 toes or hair-colord hair. I was that way before I had a choice. That's the whole reason I'm an American. That's the reason most Americans are Americans. I didn't choose it. I didn't go through some sort of prenatal qualifying heat to get the "good" slot. Fate had it's way and there I was and here I am. It's neither an accomplishment nor a dastardly deed. Just the hand that was dealt me.

If I had gone to great lengths to immigrate and build a life and be part of the process, I think I'd be more likely to feel proud because it would be an accomplishment.

Considering how much more difficult my life would have been in some other parts of the world, I feel lucky to be an American.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be an American. A lot of shitty stuff has been done in my name and I feel obliged to explain "Hey, Blue State here. Voted for Gore. Voted for Kerry. Sorry about Bush, but I did what I could."

But proud? I honestly don't get it. Being born on a navy base here doesn't seem to have conferred upon me stellar qualities that are missing from every baby who first draws breath a few miles to the north in Canada or in a small town in Germany or in a village along the Amazon. It gave me different, often better, opportunities, but no guarantee I'd make any more of them than the child of Italian or Haitian or Lebanese parents would make of similar opportunities.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
24. Pride in a nation-state is stupidity.
The nation-state is an institution that creates artificial divisions between groups of people; nationalism is a form of pathetic collective self-worship, treating the state as God. I am a HUMAN BEING and a CITIZEN OF EARTH!
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