Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Response to Ending Some American Carnage

(See: Just Above Sunset : Ending Some American Carnage)

About those recent Gallup numbers:
The percentage of Americans expressing extreme pride in the country has been declining over the past 20 years, especially recently. Just over half, 55%, felt extreme pride in the initial January 2001 reading, prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the three subsequent years, between 65% and 70% were extremely proud as the public rallied around the flag. 
By 2005, that reading fell to 61% and remained steady until 2015 when it dropped to 54%. The current reading is the sixth consecutive year since then that it has fallen to a new low in Gallup’s trend…
And how low did it go?
Although a majority of adults in the U.S. still say they are “extremely proud” (42%) or “very proud” (21%) to be American, both readings are the lowest they have been since Gallup’s initial measurement in 2001.
Forty-two percent!! You think this might be what we
get when we decide to put just any old doofus in the White House? Okay, good poll for our side, but I still have to ask myself...

Am I even “proud” to be an American?

Not really, since I don’t really find it meaningful to talk about being “proud” of one's nationality.

After all, are you proud of the size of your feet? Proud of your gender? Or how about your race? Not I, but neither am I ashamed. I was born a white male human being, and with relatively small feet, in the United States of America, none of which are “accomplishments" that I can take credit (or blame) for.

Yes, I like living here, but while I have the choice to live elsewhere — and I’ve been elsewhere and seen other countries that I enjoyed visiting — I choose not to move there, because in spite of its problems, I’d really rather stay put right here

Besides, I do like the idea of America being a place that implicitly recognizes its ability to improve itself, although that’s something only American liberals 
seem to care about, not so much conservatives. We liberals tend to see Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling as recognition that America needs to fix its race problems, particular in the area of police interactions with African Americans, while conservatives only seem to see it as an insult to the country or the flag or to the troops that fought for them somewhere.

Personally, I think that sort of oversimplified disingenuousness hurts, rather than helps the country.

And I’m proud to have made the choice to see this country as a good idea, rather than some club that I’m supposed to be loyal to, because not doing so, in public, would make some not-very-bright people I don’t particularly like very much mad at me.

And I’m glad that, somewhere along the way, I picked up on the notion that Stephen Decatur famously toasting "his country, right or wrong” was wrong — that if your country is wrong, you don’t offer an after-dinner toast to it, you make your country right!

So maybe I’m proud to be a liberal Democratic American, because first of all, that’s a good thing to be, but it’s also an accomplishment I can actually take credit for.

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