What does it mean to be an American? More importantly, what does it mean when one says that they are proud to be an American? According to Webster’s dictionary, patriotism is defined as “love or devotion to one’s country.” After September 11th, 2001, there was a plethora of so-called patriotism with flags displayed everywhere, people offering support to those in need, congressman singing God Bless America on the capitol steps, as well as a myriad of other displays. Six years later, where is all of that?
Yes, there is the traditional large flag at the car dealership, or the national anthem at a ballgame, but what else is there? Is it even considered “in” to openly love and cherish the purported land of opportunity? I would point to the car dealership, where whomever put the flag up in the morning likely unfolded it, letting it hit the ground before raising it, or the ballgame where several men and women will either not stand up or not take their hat off, even though they are cognizant of everyone else doing so.
Are these scenarios done out of intentional disrespect, or are they perhaps out of a growing problem that has seemed to have taken over our culture. It used to be ok to say that we lived in the best and freest country in the world. Now if one said that, especially on national TV, they would likely be lambasted for not considering the world culture and the “melting-pot society” that we live in.
One would also be told that if we have tarnished our national image by going into an “illegal war” and begin to rationalize how our country is an arrogant superficial country with nothing left of its original sense of purpose or ideals. This is completely sickening, and wrong. This is the United States of America, not a pliable piece of clay that people think they can mold into being subservient to some sort of higher global community purpose. It should not be expected that just because socialist Europe demands some sort of acquiescence to their ideals of working together to pursue some sort of global equality is not and should not be in the best interests of the United States.
If we want to do something, we should consider the global ramifications as well as seeing if anyone wishes to help us, but in the end we are our own country and should be proud of it. We should be proud of our country, and despite all of its flaws, I don’t see boatloads of people trying to flee for their lives and safety every day, as is seen all over the world in recent decades. Rather, people risk their lives, through mine fields, war zones, killing fields, desert border crossings, and the like to get here, legally or otherwise. Do they realize something that most of us in this country don’t these days? I would suggest that it is time to stop feeling as though we are not a country of hope, strength, and freedom. That is what has kept us strong throughout our history, and what will keep us going strong into the future.
We must not be afraid to stand up and say, “This is my country. I am proud to be an American.” Not only that, but we must mean it, and not worry about offending any other cultural representation the person next to us has. IF they are directly from another country, then they should naturally be patriotic for their homeland and think perhaps that their country is the best in the world. And why not? It is their right as a citizen of their country to think that, and I would wager that they will say as such every single time. We have that same right.
People may not like the current president, or policies that may have been instituted. But, regardless of that, we live in a country built on disagreement, built on liberty, and the freedom to stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for this country. Stand up for patriotism and the things that so many brave men and women have died for and will continue to die for.
Loving America is not taboo, and people need to get out more and demonstrate this. Help a neighbor. Get involved in Politics. Wave a flag. Remember why your family came here, and why you think you should continue to be here. This country, in my opinion is the best place in the world to live, and always will be. I love America, and am not afraid to say it openly for the rest of my life. Are you?