Why I am Patriotic and You Don’t Have to Be
I recently wrote a post saying that you should be proud to be an American. This post received several negative comments so I thought I would explore the idea of patriotism a little deeper. After some discussions with family and friends, I discovered two things. The first thing is there are several reasons why I am patriotic. The second is that there are legitimate reasons as to why some people aren’t patriotic.
Why I am Patriotic
I love America. It has brought some negative responses, but I am not ashamed to say that. It has been very good to me and to many people over the years. I am thankful for the many freedoms that it provides me. I have the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and many others. I know many of these are available other places, but they are not available everywhere. If you enjoy these freedoms in another part of the world, be thankful for having them. There is no reason to point this out to me, I realize that America is not the only good place to live in the world.
It is just chance that I was born in America as opposed to some other part of the world, but I happen to like living where I do. America is the way it is for many reasons. However, a big part of how America is shaped came from our Founding Fathers and the soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War. They sacrificed to create the country I live in. I feel that I owe them at least a small debt of gratitude for their efforts.
Many brave men and women have continued to fight for these freedoms and I am thankful for that. I realize that other countries have armies as well, but that doesn’t matter to my point. Some countries use them for purposes that are pretty terrible. The German army in World War II did a lot of awful things, and I am thankful for the Americans and other Allies that fought to stop them. If your country uses its army for good purposes, namely protecting you, you should be thankful for them.
The things that happened at Abu Ghraib and a few other places make me sick. I am not proud of those people because they are not representing the things that America stands for. There was a great article in the Washington Post today about an interrogator that has had great success without using torture. I am thankful for good men like him. While there are plenty of people who don’t represent America well, there are many more like this man that represents America well.
Why You Don’t Have To Be Patriotic
I am thankful that the country I was born in has been a good place to live for me. However, I also realize that it is just random chance that I was born within these political boundaries. I did not do anything to be born here, and I had nothing to do with the founding of this country. A friend of mine said this about the issue:
The fact that I was born here is just a roll of the dice, mere happenstance. I am proud of things I can accomplish and control. I am a horribly unpatriotic person, and given a better deal in some currently non-existent great economy with tons of job, I would strongly consider relocating and applying for citizenship elsewhere.
This is a valid point. Being “proud to be an American” is an interesting concept. Generally you are proud of something that you have done well. An impressive accomplishment can make a person proud. Simply being proud because you were born in a certain place could be considered a little silly. You had no control over it at all.
There are other reasons that are perfectly acceptable to not be patriotic. To be perfectly frank, America has not been a good place to live for many people. Being a minority in America has meant bad things for many many people. Slavery existed for almost 90 years for blacks. The next 100 years were not much better. There were lynchings, segregation, and a lot of discrimination for a long time. Some still exists today. If you were an African American living in these eras, there was no reason to be patriotic or proud to be an American. These things make me ashamed sometimes.
While I am still thankful for America and all it has given me, I don’t think any less of you if you aren’t. It is perfectly reasonable in many cases, and in some cases it makes very little sense to be proud to be an American. Let me know how you feel in the comments below.