Genuine Patriotism Must Include Dissent

Growing up in Argentina I wasn’t exactly brought up as a “proud American,” although my father is American and I enjoy the benefits of having dual citizenship.

Instead, I was exposed to a rather different perspective to what it means to be an American from the United States (let me remind you that people in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, etc., also consider themselves American).

I learned about a number of things Americans should not be so proud of.

In last week’s article, “It is Still Okay to be Proud of America,” Robert Crapo mentioned that after 9/11 there had been a “plethora of so-called patriotism,” but the decline of it in recent years could be one of the “prominent signs of a growing problem that seems to have taken over our culture.”

First, I don’t think a decrease in patriotism is necessarily a “problem,” and I certainly do not believe this problem, or lack there of, is taking over our culture.

When we observe a change of behavior in individuals, in this case proud Americans that are not as proud anymore, one should look at what’s causing Americans to feel less patriotic. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that we are beginning to question our country’s actions at home and abroad and realize that in many ways we should not be so proud of what is being done in the name of America.

In his article, Crapo talked about the war in Iraq and how some people believe it has “tarnished our national image by going into an ‘illegal war’ and begin to rationalize how our country is an arrogant superficial country,” but quickly commented that this statement was “completely sickening and wrong.”

Well let me tell you the bad news: the invasion of Iraq has certainly tarnished our image, the Iraq War is indeed an illegal war, and maybe, after all, the U.S. has become superficial and arrogant.

I believe this decline in patriotism is simply a healthy reaction to the actions of an Administration that has made some serious mistakes. If anything, we should be glad that some Americans are willing to admit our government’s wrongdoings and not be proud of them!

Finally, Crapo stated that “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, we should take actions that are not in the best interest of the United States,” a statement I find particularly disturbing.

Last time I checked, global equality was a good ideal to strive for, but I guess, according to Crapo, if it’s not in the United States’ best interest, we should not really worry about it.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of America, but this “love and devotion to one’s country” should not be unconditional.

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