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Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 5th Nov '08 10:15 PM


A post by a member on a different thread got me to thinking about this topic. Americans (and I suspect citizens of most other countries) often speak of the "pride" they feel in their country. I have often wondered what this really means to them, particularly as they are often the very same people complaining about how the government never does anything right. So what is it you are prideful of? I am genuinely curious to know in more detail what you mean if you are one to say that you are "proud" of your country.

Pennwoman  (Level: 163.1 - Posts: 2476)
Wed, 5th Nov '08 10:20 PM

Fudypatootie  (Level: 207.0 - Posts: 1302)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 12:16 AM

Being proud of one's country does not have to equal agreement with everything the government does or has done. The government does not = the country.

I'm proud of:
the fact that some 80%+ of my state turned out to vote
the parents who brought their children with them to vote
the people who celebrated in the streets for Obama in throngs as large as those celebrating athletic victories
the McCains and Palins for their class-act concession
the nation's Founding Fathers and the documents that formed this nation (Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights...)
the fact that we have not only gone to war to protect our shores but to secure the liberties of people who don't really have an impact on our freedoms
the way our nation has sought to improve throughout its history, from eliminating slavery to giving women the right to vote, to electing its first black president
the way our citizens band together and help victims of disaster in our nation (Katrina) and in others (tsunami)
the fact that despite all our differences and arguments, we are still the nation that large percentages of the world consider a beacon and something to aspire to or to even move to
the way our nation is one of few (perhaps the only one) that rather than having state-sponsored Olympic teams, ours are solely supported by individuals and corporations and yet we still kick @$$ at every Olympics, and still are gracious to the host countries and the teams from other nations

I could go on for days, but that's because I LOVE my country. I bleed red, white, and blue. I am a patriot. And I'm proud of it.

Bushyfox  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 2403)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 3:04 PM

One of the first things I noticed during travels in America was the display of the Stars'n'Stripes EVERYWHERE.
You guys love your country and your flag so much, and display it with patriotic pride.

I was amazed at how many cars and private homes, and even clothing had American flags on them.
I thought that was really so cool.

Of course, in Alaska, equal time/space gets shared with the AK State flag.


Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 4:50 PM

I do not call myself a patriot or a nationalist. I consider such sentiments to be a source of friction between the peoples on the earth. National pride can be manipulated for very destructive purposes.

I appreciate your list Fudypatootie, although some of the feeling of pride seems to flow from the mythology of America -- the indoctrination that all too many school children have foisted on them as American history.

For me, any sense of pride in the country would have to flow from the policies being pursued by my country. In fact, all too many of the country's policies -- particularly in its conduct of foreign relations -- strikes me as shameful.

For me, feelings of pride arise from far less abstract concepts then "country". For instance, pride in doing a particular legal project well. Or a sense of pride from having met my obligations to my family. Or feeling proud of the accomplishments of my sons.

Bbear  (Level: 168.0 - Posts: 2297)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 5:01 PM

National pride is a multi-faceted thing for me.

In a tavern Tuesday watching the returns I overheard some young white kids saying nasty things about Obama, such as "I guess Thanksgiving dinner will now be fried chicken and watermelon".

I went up to them (I do this sort of thing all the time and one day it's gonna get this old lady beat up) and asked them if they had voted. They said no. I asked them if they had ever voted. Each, again, said no.

I told them two things: "Then you have no right to say anything"

I also told them it wasn't about skin color it was about being right and good.

They shut up.

Yea me.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 5:09 PM

I admire your spunk Bbear, and my kudos for what you did.

Papermanbill  (Level: 41.3 - Posts: 1312)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 5:40 PM

Bbear what those kids said wasn't proper or politically correct in this day and age. The question I would ask you if I was in your watering hole would be, Have you ever watched Mind of Mencia, George Lopez Live or DEF Comedy ??? That crack about fried chicken and watermelon ain't nothing.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 8:06 PM


I guess also that explains a lot about my fight against prejudice. I've been hooked on those two particular foods for 53 of my 55 years. In fact, when i was pregnant, I craved watermelon and bubble gum (too bad they didn't have watermelon flavored bubble gum back then). Fried chicken is our Christmas dinner tradition. (It's the only thing I cook that my daughter-in-law actually likes! ha)

I wish all people had the courage to step up like that when they hear trashy talk like that.

I also wish recording artists would volunttarily put an end to some of the obnoxious lyrics in rap music.

I've always thought the US flag is the most beautiful on earth. Maybe it's just how I feel when I see it. When Hawaii and Alaska became states, I was lucky enough to be chosen to help carry the new 49 and 50 star flags to our school rooms.

The things I'm most proud of America for have most to do with our freedoms and the generosity of our citizens.

We travel state to state without travel papers. We can go to church - or not - as much or as little or as none as we wish. We have an abundance of blessings and we share them with the world. When there is a crisis anywhere, our country is always on call to go help - and donate and give. Even to countries that hate us. They know we'll be there for them.

I'm so proud how schools are in all neighborhoods, and buses to help get our kids there. And our kids get to be in those schools even if they are handicapped in any way.

We can own land. Our pets have more than do lots of people on earth. The poorest of us has indoor toilets and running water - two things the richest person for all the thousands of years before never had till the 20th century. And access to free books and computers at public libraries everywhere.

I love our mountains and rivers and lakes. And boats and waterskis and snowskis.

I'm proud of how America takes care of its handicapped. I've been in 5 other countries (not nearly as many as a lot of you have been to) and none can compare to the handicap accessibility of our country.

I love that our McDonalds doesn't put greasy rice on its burgers and our TGIFridays doesn't put it in its chef salad.

I'm proud that we have the luxury to care about animals and that so many laws to clean up the environment and to protect workers in dangerous professions have been enacted.

I'm most proud that we have free elections - that we get to vote in every stinkin' politician, rather than them being forced on us. And if they screw up, we can elect somebody else in 2 to 4 years (sounds like a prison sentence.)

I'm proud that in America I was allowed to graduate from HS and go to the college of my choice, with the major of my choice, rather than the government deciding what I'm good at and forcing me to go to a school where that particular job skill is taught and no others. Lots of countries force students into a line of job skill education they deem best for the kid.

I'm proud that in America, if I drag my lazy backside out of bed every day and work hard, I can have a decent house and vehicle and a few extras that provide a quality of life that brings me joy.

I'm proud that in America, we can say any crazy thing we like and argue and disagree, and we don't have to worry about the government police breaking down the door in the night and carting us off to prison, never to be heard from again. Our Constitution guarantees it.

Who was it that sang that song, "I feel sorry for anyone who isn't me tonight"? I've read about a lot of great countries in the world, seen a few, and have visited most of the states in the US. And I can't imagine not getting to live in the US, and especially in Texas. I'm proud of the United States. I don't want to live anywhere else. The Lee Greenwood song is my theme song.

Pennwoman  (Level: 163.1 - Posts: 2476)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 8:09 PM

Wow Jank, that makes me proud to count you as friend!

Ladyvol  (Level: 212.9 - Posts: 5673)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 8:10 PM

It's not just the young white kids saying things. The black kids are least around here. My son said some kids were saying degrading remarks about McCain at school...and about Obama also. One kid even made the remark that the blacks would now have it made especially those on welfare and having one of their "brothers" in the White House to see that they get it! (what threw me about this remark was that it was made by a black teenager). Remarks like that hurt more than help...I just take pride in the fact that I live in the greatest country in the world..the good ole USA! I also take pride in the fact that I am the wife, daughter, niece and aunt of veterans...

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 8:28 PM

Penn, you made me get teary. I'm glad you're my friend, too!

Bite your tongue, Smaug, till blood be comin' out your nose (a great Sinbad comedy line)

Bbear  (Level: 168.0 - Posts: 2297)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 8:42 PM

Smaug -- I see no Smaug here.

Thanks for the kudos. I'm going to get in serious trouble some day.

But...part of being an American is being able to speak. Maybe the best part.

And....I went on a medical mission to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch, when the AMERICAN banana companies pulled up the ruined trees, replanted, and left for five years.

They closed the hospitals, the schools, the clinics and put entire villages out of work (all of which they owned). Left the people with nothing.

It is embarrasing to be American some days, for sure.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 9:50 PM

Ah, but Smaut is lurking around again these days. He's reading.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 10:04 PM

For me Mr. Tim, I take pride when the country accomplishes positive things that would otherwise be impossible if people weren't working together. I can take pride in any country that accomplishes the same, even if it isn't my own. Some countries I have to put them into context in order to be proud relative to my own country. When a country in Africa gets together and builds wells where they are needed, I can take pride in that "country", even if it pales in comparison to what other countries around the world are doing. Within their means, this is a "great" act. I can equally feel shame in my own country, as well as towards others around the world. I wouldn't consider myself someone who believes in nationalism though, nor do I think my pride often slips over into "better than" other countries, like I've seen it do....

Lettermanfan1  (Level: 88.3 - Posts: 486)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 10:12 PM

I take pride in the fact I can complain without fear of reprisal (except end of '01-04, whern it was considered very unpatriotic and you could end up with the patriot act stuck where the sun don't shine).

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 6th Nov '08 10:55 PM

The problem I have with national pride, is that sometimes it is a sign that one believes in the "moral superiority" of their own country. I think this is dangerous, as I think (and its just my opinion) that this dehumanizes the people we claim we are better than. I think, for example, that this is an element in some wars. I feel like the reasons we are proud often become the reasons we are "better". Fine, I guess, at times when this is accurate...

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 12:03 AM

I could be wrong about this...

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 12:10 AM

I think you are right about that, which is one reason I have difficulty feeling pride about the abstraction that is "my country". For instance, I find disturbing war reporting that emphasizes American sacrifice and loss, while ignoring the death of thousands of innocent non-American civilians -- as if because the dead weren't Americans, their death is of less importance.

Bushyfox  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 2403)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 3:31 AM

Thank you TSK.
We Aussies honor American dead alongside our own in times of conflict.
Of course, that also applies to whichever countrymen are fighting alongside us.


Surreyman  (Level: 274.3 - Posts: 2775)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 5:18 AM

I have a pride in my country - Wales, England, UK - take your choice!
This is largely through the way in which its 'character' has built historically - warts and all.
And especially its more recent character-confirming history - e.g. WWII especially.
Thus, in my senile years, I do find it difficult to accept the current dilution of that character via a whole series of political/PC moves over relatively recent decades.
Which makes me not very PC these days.
But the pride is still there.
And that's probably the basis of most nations' patriotism.
Nowt wrong with that.
Far better than all becoming a faceless homogeneous mass, which seems to be what some might prefer.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 5:22 AM

Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I misread the title of this thread. I didn't realize you were REALLY asking what I'm NOT proud of, what I'm ashamed of, what's wrong with it, or to make a list of our failures.

My bad.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 10:46 AM

Surreyman: I understand what you are saying because I know that that is how my mother feels about the USA. Although recognizing "the warts", she still has some sort of emotional welling in the idea of country. In my case, I see the history of the country -- formed through genocide -- and still all-too-often pursing appalling policies. Sometimes those policies are better than others, but reality (once again) renders it impossible for me to feel pride in the abstraction of "country".

Jank: I really was curious about what people meant when they spoke of "pride" in country, so I could better understand what was meant by this sentiment that is not within me in connection with the artifical construct known as "country". I admit, that since you publicly accused me of being a "drug user", impaired, and unworthy of consideration because of my profile's statement that I am a conscientious objector in the War on Drugs, I don't much care about your views on any topic because you have shown me that you are in need in training in logic. people who are not able to reason well are not people whose opinions are of much interest to me except, occassionally, as a source of humor.

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 1:11 PM

Someone - forgive me, I forget who - mentioned (or alluded) to the mythology of a country being a source of pride.
I think that's an important point: coming from Scotland means that everyone reading this will be in some way familiar with our mythology - even if it's only kilts, Nessie, haggis and bagpipes. We're older than most countries, so there's a lot of history/mythology and pre-history - which by it's nature is at least romantic, if not downright mythological - to unpack. Do I take pride in it? Mostly not - except for the literature, the Enlightenment, the stubbornness, and, importantly, the romanticism. I quite like the idea that for most non-Scots, the Scottish ideal is a misty peat bog where the sound of Claymores (the sword, not the mine!) are only a dram away: all of which is nonsense, as anyone who's ever been will attest. But it can be better than the reality of the sectarianism, small-minded provincialism and stabbings.

What I'm most proud of is that Scots have a long history of buggering off to other places and either inventing incredibly useful things and places, or influencing the inception of brand new ideas.

I also love the (disputed, admittedly) idea that your Declaration of Independence was influenced by our Declaration of Arbroath - a place now famed for smoked fish.

Toledosugar  (Level: 51.4 - Posts: 281)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 1:24 PM

I'm proud of my kids, that doesn't mean that I don't see it when they do something that I know is wrong. I'm proud to be an American, that doesn't mean I agree with all of it's decisions or acts. You can be proud without being prideful. Tsk, as for your disrespectful comment on Janks ability to use logic. That was beneath you. You don't attack the person because they have an opinion. That is not part of a meaningful discussion.

Pennwoman  (Level: 163.1 - Posts: 2476)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 1:43 PM

Well said Sharyn

Lisap369  (Level: 61.1 - Posts: 992)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 1:51 PM

Huh.. chastising TSK here but not Jank in President Obama thread?.. seems fair

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 1:52 PM

Excuse me for saying so, but I think the word "attack" gets bandied about a bit loosely around here. Tsk questioned Jank's logic, explained why, and I can see how he would; but I don't think that makes the grade as an attack.

"Too bad you can't see yourself through God's eyes. I bet you break his heart. You were not made to waste your life strung out and messed up.

Maybe there's something there that blinds you to the demeaning, ridiculous meanness of your own words.

I have found that users of illegal drugs often don't see the damage their own actions cause, or the pain they cause their own families. So of course you wouldn't notice the insults you might cast here in this forum.

Before you attack us, get clean and we'll have an honest debate. I won't waste my time debating someone who is under the influence of an illegal substance. It makes you THINK you're all enlightened and smarter than everybody else. But it really just makes you affected and pathetic - and a criminal."

No, THAT's an attack.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 4:09 PM

Way to Go Smoke....
It's one thing to "discuss/debate" the substance of an argument
and entirely another to comment - in a detracting way - things that
are personal, which one has no way of knowing are true.

I have many times suspected that some of the "S*** Disturbers"
on Sploofus are "under the influence" of some substance. and they
seem to be just looking for someone to irritate enough to engage
with them. I suppose it's better than beating your wife or kicking
the dog????

Tsk is putting forward his point of view, which seems to me personally,
to be falacious. EVERYONE in the world has an abiding love for their
own country....warts and all....I'd liken it to love of and despair of one's

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 4:45 PM

Well, I think Tsk draws a distinction between love and pride. I love my country as much as anyone - but with my eyes wide open. Which makes it hard not to see that sometimes my country does things that shame me - but I still love my country.

It's like your kids (or parents, or true friends) - they may do things to embarrass or even humiliate you - you're certainly not
proud - but you still love them with all your heart and want nothing but the best for them.

Pride is an odd word to me, maybe because it was preached against as a sin as I was growing up, and I usually take it fairly strictly to mean feeling good about something I've accomplished or helped accomplish, rather than accidents of birth I had nothing to do with. I've read a lot of history so I'm enormously sensitive of my good fortune in being born in this place (and even more in this time), but taking pride in where I happened to be born is like being proud to be an earthling - it's so vague as to be mostly meaningless.

I'm fortunate and grateful that my country professes ideals among the highest known to history, and I feel joy and hope whenever we live up to those ideals; I love my beautiful country with all my heart and have no wish to live elsewhere full time (fall and winter in Florida, spring and summer on Rannoch Moor, please), but I don't equate patriotism with pride. Maybe that's overly semantic, but I can live with that.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 5:00 PM

Where is Rannock Moor and can I live there too????

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 5:03 PM

Nice post Smoke.
This trashing of Tsk is ridiculous. I don't always agree with him, but he sounds more sober than anyone else.

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 5:51 PM

Rowlanda: you wouldnae want to live there - midges would eat you alive!
(see earlier post about mythology Vs reality!)

Incidentally, there are three Munros in Smoke's lovely link and I've climbed them all!

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 6:01 PM

Ah, but I have Midgex! And also American products that work!

Not as though a lot of skin is bring exposed, either. Spring on Rannoch is rarely warmer than winter here.

Martin, did I tell you I want my ashes carried up Schiehallion?

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 10:51 PM

I will just respond here to Toledo that yes, I was attacking. And the reason I was attacking I will go put in the other thread. I'm not sure how the attack/drug stuff bled into this thread from the other.

People who lived through WWII have earned the right to be very proud of America. They lived daily for years not knowing if the Nazis were going to conquer us or if the Japanese were going to conquer us, or if any of their fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, (and women too) were ever going to come home alive from that war. The entire country had to sacrifice so that our soldiers had what they needed to fight the enemies on several fronts.

When WWII ended with both enemies and the American survivors came home, those military people and their families and friends knew what it was like to REALLY be proud of America. And countries that America fought to defend and free and then to help rebuild were proud of America, too.

I don't know that in today's People Magazine world we can ever feel the kind of loyalty, love and pride in America that they did and still do. My former father-in-law (92 years old) who survived WWII, would kick the butt of anybody who bad mouthed America around him even today. Or die trying.

Toledosugar  (Level: 51.4 - Posts: 281)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 11:15 PM

As for drugs, I'm 66 yrs old and wouldn't know where to go to find them. Unless Lipitor and estrogen count or an occasional Alleve when my arthritis kicks up. I wasn't attacking Tsk. Just questioning his line of argument. Unless you know a someone personally you don't know whether or not they are capable of logic. Jank if you attacked Tsk, that shouldn't have happened either. There is discussion (which I enjoy, another view is always helpful when chatting about an issue) and personal attacks. Personal attacks have no place in discussion. Getting off my soapbox now.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Fri, 7th Nov '08 11:31 PM

Sharyn - that's why I was just admitting my guilt and I deserve whatever they say in that regard.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Sat, 8th Nov '08 6:38 PM

Although I think mine was a fair comment under the circumstances, I admit I lost my cool. Jank had publicly accused me -- based on very poor reasoning -- of being an impaired drug user whose views were not worthy of consideration in the President Obama thread. Something Oogie said in that thread made me think about patriotism/nationalism so I started this thread. As should be evident, "pride" is not an emotion I feel in connection with the concept of "my country", and I was genuinely interested in what people who did feel pride in America meant by that.

Jank -- who had previously assumed that I was a drug addict because I oppose drug prohibition -- made a snippy post about how she must have misread the topic of this thread , and that I was really interested in a list of American failures, wrongs, etc. If I had wanted to discuss American shortcomings as a central topic, I would have posted a thread entitled "American Shortcomings". Jank apparently jumped to the conclusion that I was interested in shameful things related to America because of my explanation as to why I didn't feel pride in country. It was an observation about myself made to advance discussion. I simply had had my fill of her assumptions about me and my views.

Nationalism -- pride in country -- has not always existed. It was instilled (and used) by kings for their purposes. An interesting book on the topic of the creation of nationalism and pride in nation is Anthony Marx's "Faith In Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism" (Oxford University Press, 2003). The subtitle says it all for me -- as a person who believes it is important to think universally and to work for the advancement of all humanity -- not just the peoples of specific lands -- I won't endorse a sentiment which, at its core, serves to divide people.

Where you are born is happenstance. I love certain people who reside in this country. I am greatful that I live in a relatively free society. But I don't feel any inherent emotional attachment to the physical space of the USA for these reasons. Whatever the state, you must always be vigilant against the evil that states do. That is especially true when you leave in a powerful country whose policies have profound implications for the entire earth. Special care must be taken to ensure the rationality of these policies and to ensure that they are not simply the product of emotional fervor for America (to wit, patriotism).

I thought pride was a deadly sin. Doesn't pride cometh before a fall?

Garrybl  (Level: 293.8 - Posts: 6801)
Sat, 8th Nov '08 6:57 PM

Now you're a 'Marx'ist too?

I joke I joke......


The Marx BROTHERS I can understand.....

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Sat, 8th Nov '08 7:14 PM

I'd rather be called a Marxist than a neo-Conservative.

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