"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime". Adlai Stevenson
To my detriment, at times, I've been discussing and fervently learning about politics for several years now. Some people keep up with the Kardashians, I'm keeping up with...something that actually matters.
It was only recently that I was finally able to identify why I have a general agitation (I sincerely try not to, but I'm being honest here) toward those I don't see political eye to eye with. They all (alright, "most" because that outlier will eagerly identify him/herself if I say "all") have one thing in common; a general dislike of America, the American way, American values, or anything distinctly reeking of American roots (Damn apple pie)!
The latest trend is America's finest (insert sarcasm) threatening to leave the country if so-and-so or another (they disapprove of) winds up president. The very fact that ANYONE would threaten this in the first place, is a testament to how un-American (and ungrateful) they are. They enjoy America for all it has to offer and this is the 'thanks' they give in return. Well. No thanks! Let me help you pack your bags!
Immigrants find their way into our country because their own country is literally falling apart. They know the kind of poverty America has never known. The kind of leaders/rulers that give your nightmares, nightmares. The kind of unsanitary conditions that make California cockroaches curl up in a fetal position and rock their fears away. Essentially immigrants are abandoning ship for damn good reason and truthfully I can't say I blame them.
So when an "American" (Un-American celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg or Michael Moore) threatens to leave based on something trivial, I want to pack for them (seriously, I will help you with a seamless departure). Pleeeeease, let me help you pack your bags!
It's not just the loud mouth celebrities either. The lack of pride and patriotism some Americans have is embarrassing. I can only call them "un-American" because that seems nicer than spoiled brats. For every good and decent aspect I point out, they are not happy because America still doesn't look like the utopia in their heads.
There is a general disdain in our country that divides us and is only increasing as younger generations come of age.
"It seems that taking pride in being an American has become somewhat of a social taboo." (Adam Alexander. A Look Into Why National Pride Matters.)
Let me put some numbers to this notion: "81 percent of the Silent Generation (those who are 69 to 86 years old in 2014) love America while only 58 percent of millennials (18 to 33 years old) feel the same. Born between 1928 and 1945, the Silent Generation fought both the wars in Korea and Vietnam. 31% of them report that they personally served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces. Only 4% of millennials have done so." (Lynn Vavreck. Younger Americans Are Less Patriotic.)
"Patriotism seems to span the life cycle, not change with it", which helps me to understand why individuals are so eager to report they'd leave the U.S based on something trivial...because they did not love their country to begin with.
A lack of patriotism is apparent. Take for instance teachers who "forget" reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or students who claim its a monumental waste of time. Then those teachers, the parents, and other authoritative figures wonder why they have no respect for them. Well, it begins with the general concept of something bigger; our country!
Our country is bigger than any individual. A nation's unity, standing together as a powerful front is bigger than any individual. God or a higher power is bigger than any individual, and when you take those 'bigger' things out of the equation, you get an individual who believes they are bigger than anything or anyone else- an inflated sense of self with nothing bigger to grasp onto when times eventually get tough. And they will fall. Let me help you pack your bags before you take the rest of us down with you.
There are times I've been ridiculed or laughed at for announcing my American pride for some reason or another. Comments to me on Twitter have reflected this:
"I haven't been proud in America in a long time"
"There doesn't seem to be much to be proud of anymore."
I respond by tweeting: "Let me help you pack your bags. There is a gleeful immigrant waiting to take your place whose bags are already packed."
In addition, let me insist to all those who are ready to depart, please don't forget to take the rest of America's excess baggage. The kind of baggage we'd rather forget. You know, the political commentators like Bill Maher and John Stewart who find rhyme or reason to ridicule American values. I've already mentally packed their bags.
And oh, I've saved the best for last. The wannabe-Danes constantly whining, 'Why can't we Be like Denmark?' I don't know. why can't you move to Denmark? Why haven't you even vacationed in Denmark? Let me help you pack your bags.
FYI the Denmark and Danes are not as ideal as you might think. When people refer to the Danes, many believe they are the happiest people on earth so they must be doing something right. Formerly in research, I have to question how they measure "happiness". This is typically done by self-report, a poll, and in Danish culture it is shameful to admit you are not happy, as if a gun is pointed to your head. They have a lot wrong, and are not the Utopia people claim them to be.
While the un-Americans are pointing to other countries as the answer, I have never known America to emulate others. Americans know we are the innovators and inventors, not the emulators.
And one more pride-killer; I know it's all the rage to rage about our history: 'With a history like ours, how can we be proud?' Newsflash, It's not 1619, or 1914 or take-your-pick year. I had a conversation with someone bringing up the witch trials! Wait, what year is this? I am partially Native American but I'm not living past torture.
I choose not to be a victim. Instead, I choose to see how far we've come instead of how many mistakes we've made along the way. Of course, if you've never made mistakes you must also have lengthy bathroom breaks that don't stink. Therefore, I'm not referring to those un-Americans.
It's all in the perspective. 59 years from now, as well mannered and politically correct as you think you are, the future 'us' will call you 'barbaric'. Context is easily warped and time and place are some of its best manipulators.
If American history is so awful, why have we long been considered the gold standard of countries?
Next time, you feel like you've gotten a raw deal out of being an American, I want you to ask yourself if the lives of our soldiers matter. Whether you agree with the fight or not, they have a vision of what America should be and they are willing to give up their lives for the realization of a united country. If you feel being an American isn't working out for you, let me help you pack your bags.
If you haven't noticed the theme here; I've got a lot of bags to pack. I'd like to get started right now, but in reality none of these people are going anywhere because deep down even they know America is the greatest country on earth.
"My dream is of a place and of a time that America will once again be seen as the last best hope on earth" Abraham Lincoln
Everybody needs to express themselves in some form- mine happens to be written form...with an opinion. Strong opinions can be useful to others. Those who were undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance or gain an ability to formulate their own. Those who disagree can solidify, defend, and empower their stance.