Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, United States

I'll let you in on a little secret. I almost sympathized with Michelle Obama back in February when she said she was proud of the United States for the first time in her adult life. I didn't sympathize, because I thought it was a stupid thing for her to say under the circumstances, which I didn't feel warranted the statement, either. She is proud of America merely because Democrats like her husband? Um. Ok.

But other than that, I personally find national pride overrated. "Pride," to me, means either a degree or two of hubris or a group of lions.

(Hubris means overweening pride. I think pretty much all pride is overweening.)

I just think there's a fine line between the prideful version of patriotism and jingoistic narcissism. Like George Bernard Shaw said, "Patriotism is your conviction that the country is superior to all others because you were born in it."

I'm not always happy with the actions the citizens of my country take, both on personal and governmental levels. Not ok with the KKK. Not ok with Roe v. Wade. As a country, we are pretty much everyone else's wretched refuse and we make a lot of good decisions, a lot of controversial decisions, and a lot of bad decisions.

The question is, is it safe for me to be not proud of my country? Can I live with that? Yeah, sure, I can deal. I will never be a threat to the U.S.A. I love its bigness and its variety and its melting-potitty. I love the Southeast and its culture, although I'm probably going to leave it soon. I will undoubtedly always be loyal to my country because my ancestors chose to live here and I was born here and it's afforded me a lot of opportunities, such as the chance to get a B.A. in a truly sucktacular economy. (Really, I can deal with that. I promise. Cardboard box? Check. Really old army jacket? I think I gave that away freshman year. Stubble? Check. [No, not really.] Am I upset that panhandling is now illegal in my state? No, not really. That stuff is dangerous for hobos and drivers.)

I will stand by the U.S.A., even through a wide variety of governmental leaders I don't like, floods, hurricanes, Hollywood, and the exchange rate. (I have like forty euro left over from my trip to Italy, just in case.)

And I wish it a happy birthday. I may not say that it's the greatest nation on God's green earth, but it's the nation I hail from and it's the nation I will call home, maybe not forever, but for a while.


Cooper said...

That was nice and I like the music.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I think. That last took the words right out of my mouth.