Proud to be an American?

I will publish good rebuttals (profane is OK but abusive is not, coherence is required). If there are too many, I will publish the ones hardest for me to refute.

I am an American. I am really, really fortunate to be one. There’s nothing better to be. But I didn’t actually do anything to become an American. I am proud of my accomplishments, and I am grateful for my good fortune. There are political refugees and immigrants of every stripe who have worked really hard to become Americans. There are people who have taken up arms in defense of this nation and only later become citizens. Many more who are currently defending our freedom are waiting for citizenship.

Those people can be proud to be American. For them it is an achievement. I simply am American. I was born that way. I have not earned the right to be proud. I am thankful to be American, but there’s no source of pride there.

There is another way to be proud to be an American, and that’s to take pride in America’s role—our role—in making a better world. That is the pride in accomplishment. And hell, we’ve accomplished a lot. There was a time in Somalia before it all went to stink that I really thought we had managed to beat swords into plowshares. I thought “this is the role of a great nation, standing as a beacon of freedom and peace.” At that moment I was truly proud to be American. Thought honestly I hadn’t done anything personally (except pay taxes) to deserve that feeling.

It got gray sometime after that. Protecting the Muslim population in Kosovo still feels right, but more timely intervention might have precluded much of the violence. [an aside – why do the factions we support almost always come to resent us? Talk among yourselves.] But still, there was an earnest belief that intervention could save lives and transform those troubled regions. Even if those expeditions were ill-conceived, they were noble of purpose. Something you could be proud of.

Frankly, we don’t have that anymore. I am Accidentally-American, or perhaps Fortunately-American, but I have not pulled off any individual accomplishment to which I can hang the label “proud”, and I am not proud of the actions of my nation (granfalloon) as a whole. At least in the past we believed in our nobility, if no one else did.

I am happy to be an American. I am fortunate to be an American; I did not accomplish being American. I am proud to give to my nation more than blind faith.

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