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determinist

Americans: Are you proud to be an American?

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Are you proud to be an American? (By American, I mean the United States of America rather than North America and South America together.) A yes or no question is preferred, but I understand that things aren't always simple to think about. Stay tuned because I will use your answers as a basis for my follow-up (and the follow-up is the purpose of me asking). Thanks.

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Short answer: No.

The key word here I think is proud. My being American is not an achievement of my own, therefore I have neither right nor reason to take pride in it.

To say sincerely that "I am proud to be an American," what I would really mean is "I am pleased to live here" or "I am proud to be associated with the achievements of America's founders," for example. But no, even with the common dictionary definition I don't think it fits for my context. I can only imagine that a refugee from under a much more authoritarian state who gained censorship could be proud of becoming an American. I've been an American since day one, by no effort of my own.

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Yeah, I'm with Chuff on this one. I was born here, so being an American is not one of my acheivements.

I'm proud to hold some ideals that I consider American, but that seems to be a different topic.

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No, for the aforementioned reasons, but also that the phrase claims an arbitrary geographical fiction about my culture and, these days, also connotates a sort of blind and traumatic allegiance. I am as wary of people who say "I'm proud to be an American" with any sort of conviction as I am of people who say "Communism is a good idea on paper".

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I don't think it makes sense to be proud of your nationality because any accomplishments of your country, really aren't your accomplishments or are only your accomplishments in a very small way. If your accomplishments are bigger, but still related to your country, I wouldn't call it being proud of being a citizen of your country, it's simply being proud of your person accomplishment. This does not mean it is wrong to be patriotic. You can love your country and be happy that you were born in your country, but that doesn't mean you have to be proud of being a citizen of your country.

Edited by oso

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Answering this question DOES depend upon what answer one assumes to the question: "What does it mean to be an American?"

It used to be that being "an American" meant, in fact, adherance and loyalty to the country and to the values of the founding fathers. Because you had to swear an oath along those lines to live here. But then there was a clash with Roman Catholics living here, because they were also "loyal to the Pope", and you couldn't have two sets of ideals you were loyal to, so there began a process of redefining what it meant "to be an American". For a while it was literally about race. There were quotas of the number of immigrants allowed in. And it kept changing.

Now, of course, "being American" just means "living here" to most people, so it's nothing to be proud of, unless it was a choice consciously made in the face of an alternative.

A note specifically to the OP: it's not that they saw "what you were up to" and decided to foil your plan. They simply answer more intelligently than you expected them to. :D

Edited by musenji

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Mmmm.... if you were given the chance to join an American club of fundamentalist Christian altruists or a Mexican club of Objectivists, which one would give you a higher sense of pride?

I mean, I believe that you can feel proud of belonging to a group that upholds your deepest values.

But "America" is a collective that encompasses too many kinds of people. Which specific "America" are you proud of? The one that sent soldiers to save Europe from Hitler or the one that sent soldiers to Irak? The one that abolished slavery or the one that tried to keep it in force? The one that teaches creation in biology class or the one that reads Atlas Shrugged?

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