Posted by Charity on November 7th, 2008

As I read the reports of people chanting “U-S-A” because they are proud of their country for the first time ever, I can’t help but feeling a little sad for them. If their love of this country stems only from who is elected president, they are missing something about what it is to love this great land.

I love America. I have always loved America. I will go on loving America, even if Barack Obama is the worst president ever. Even if the most dire predictions by conservative commentators should come to pass, I will go on loving my country.

See, the thing that these people do not get is that America is not defined by her President nor by her Congress. America is defined by her vision, a vision of freedom and liberty. This vision lives on in the hearts of her people and in the pages of her history no matter who is president.

Long after Obama’s presidency is over, America will continue to be the same great country she has always been.

Barack Obama does not make America great. America makes Barack Obama great. America makes us all great.

10 Responses to “On Loving America”

  1. Well, I can honestly say that this was the first time in my life I even felt a twinge of pride about my country, because it seems for the first time we really vanquished (or at least overcome) a major barrier in our country that has been a scourge since it began. It’s not about the person. It’s bigger than that.

    That certainly doesn’t mean ‘now the blacks can quit whinin’” as Bob so eloquently put it a few days ago.

    I don’t believe in American exceptionalism, that wer’e “#1″ or any of that nonsense. It’s what’s gotten us into so much trouble in the past. It’s what creates blockheads like Joe the Plumber who believe Americans can do no wrong and should never apologize for its actions. It’s what, in part, enabled 9-11 to happen.

    The ideals of America sound great. They are more often than not, however, paid lip service to and nothing more. Otherwise we wouldn’t torture. Or have such inequality right here in America. The problem is, with certain kinds of patriots, is they “love” America like a 5 year old loves his mommy.

    Being proud of one’s country is not important. Pride is not always good. It is important, however, not to be ashamed of it, and we still have a long way to go in that regard. Would I rather live here than Russia? Sure. But I certainly don’t think “loving” my country has much importance really.

  2. I believe his exact words were “stop blaming whitey for everything,” not “quit whinin’.”

  3. I don’t usually react so violently to statements and most likely will regret not blowing this one off, but I think it bears a comment:

    You are an idiot if you were proud of what George W. Bush did to our country. In fact, you sound remarkably like Rush Limbaugh, going back to the ‘06 midterm elections when he bleated “he was happy, that he no longer needed to “carry water” for the GOP.”

    Pride in your country is not something inherent. It is earned and it doesn’t matter what you or I say or do, but what our elected leaders do in OUR name. I will never carry water for my country or our elected officials. I will offer praise and reward for good behavior, but I will spit in their face when they deserve it as well.

    Exceptionalism does not presume superiority, only that we are the exception in the birth of nations. Blind faith in America is about the same as saying that “Leroy only hits me cause he loves me!” Always good when I can end with a reference to domestic violence, cheers!

  4. I agree that I think we should be proud of what the country as a whole can do. I may not be particularly proud of what our current or past government administrations have done, but I feel extremely proud of what individuals within our country have achieved and what our people have and will continue to voluntarily do for each other.

  5. I agree with Jeremy. Well spoken. Plus we share a last name.

  6. I believe his exact words were “stop blaming whitey for everything,” not “quit whinin’.”

    Perhaps, same thing though.

  7. Good post. They love to compare Obama to Kennedy. Obama didn’t see the “ask not what your country can do for you…” qoute.

  8. One should differentiate between nationalism and patriotism. Patriotism involves loyalty to a particular place, especially a locality or region. Nationalism is an ideology that has been to frequently embraced in this country. Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs has written extensively about the differences between the two.

    I would also note that the American exceptionalism that President Bush and the neoconservatives advocate actually started in the Democratic Party and the early progressive movement under former President Woodrow Wilson. I also think that true conservatives can oppose American exceptionalism while also being patriotic (a good book to read on this would beformer Harvard professor Irving Babbitt’s 1924 treatise “Democracy and Leadership”). The neo-Wilsonianism of the Bush Adminstration will not (I hope) be missed.

  9. “Well, I can honestly say that this was the first time in my life I even felt a twinge of pride about my country” What exactly is this faceless “country” thing we are talking about? It’s us. People just like every other American, some who chose to pursue goals that supported their own self interest and some who chose to pursue a greater good. The idea that good men and women are auditioning for the respect of one citizen among many in Vermont is repellent. For whatever reason too many Americans have assumed the mantle of arbiter and judge, while expending no sweat or sacrifice of their own they believe themselves entitled to weigh and judge the sacrifice of others. The equation in this post is backwards; it isn’t your nation’s responsibility to earn your respect but your responsibility to earn the benefits bestowed upon you by your nation. For too long parents and educators have told the children of this country they are “special” with no evidence to support that claim. None of us are special, we are all equal citizens who share equal credit or blame for the choices our collaborative government makes. None of us wear a crown and none of us enjoy the royal privilege to sit on the sidelines and await the presentation of some achievement we find worthy of our notice. If you don’t like the direction of this nation, then lend a hand vice pointing a finger.

  10. Above Charity wrote: “See, the thing that these people do not get is that America is not defined by her President nor by her Congress. America is defined by her vision, a vision of freedom and liberty. This vision lives on in the hearts of her people and in the pages of her history no matter who is president.”

    I would counter that the United States of America is defined by what we do. Visions only count when they’re attached to palpable actions.

    A perfect vision not enacted is a public relations ploy … nothing more.