I was reading some of the comments about the election on my facebook page from my contacts, and I saw a few things that I had to say something about.
There were a few people expressing pride in the US. I share that feeling. Not only have we loudly proclaimed that the government of the past 8 years was wrong, a black man was elected. What can be more American than that?
I also read some comments that amounted to being proud of the US for the first time. That’s a whole different thing… For the first time? Really? This election is what made you proud? I hate to say this, but one day someone else that you don’t like will be elected president, what then? Will you be ashamed?
I have been, from an early age, very proud of this country. It wasn’t due to any particular thing my parents taught me. I wonder how much of my father’s outward expressions of patriotism were dampened by his being drafted? I can think of two things that made me quite proud of this country in my youth.
The first thing has to be my family’s history. It’s no different than most of the other families here. My ancestors came here on boats. They had left behind everything and started with nothing here. They really did achieve the American dream and were made much better off than they had been through their hard work and the opportunities they took advantage of here. There wasn’t any other place in the world where that could have happened, nowhere… To this day, I still get choked up seeing pictures of Ellis Island and Lady Liberty, and as a kid I was deeply impressed by my ancestors and this country.
The second thing that I remember being proud of the US was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US was instrumental in that collapse. The Soviet Union was the epitome of evil, of power run amok. They killed their own people for having the temerity to want to leave the worker’s paradise. The fall of the wall and the later collapse of the Soviet Union made me feel that my country had indeed triumphed over evil.
More recently, my pride has been reinforced. Many people I knew talked about moving to a different country when Bush was reelected. I actually did move, I have an entire blog dedicated to that experience. I went to a place that had every reason to hate the US. I think that I can safely say that every single person I met in Yemen held the US government in utter contempt. And I have every reason to believe that they felt it more deeply than democrats in the US did. Wherever I went, people asked me about Abu Gharib, the invasion of Iraq, Gitmo, bombings, the support of Israel, etc. Nobody over there liked those things. Despite that, almost every person told me that they wanted to live in the US. Think about that.
Many people here were talking about moving to Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. Over there, I heard the occasional desire to move to Europe, but the vast majority wanted to go to the US. Many people called it “The Land of Dreams.” Nothing will make you more proud of your country than people that hate our president with every fiber of their beings wanting to move here. What could be more American?