Pride: a fault upon itself and an obstacle if allowed to many people the world over. Like many animals pride must be kept with reverence and not abused, lest it bite our asses. Pride can also transform those who abuse it into asses. However, recently pride is something that a lot of people tend to shy from, mainly because of the actions associated with our nations. Obviously I'm speaking from an American perspective, so I hope you'll forgive me if I neglect an overall outside view, though I'll try to.
The way I see pride, as many people do, is as a double edged razor that if handled wrong can as easily remove the eyes of its wielder, leaving them blind. National pride is, and has always been dangerous in large doses. It is also dangerous in too small a dose.
Okay, on a semantic level it wasn't said that the first time in this person's life, but their adult life… so it's safe to say this person had pride as a non-adult. This person also claims this to be THEIR country, so claiming it is unpatriotic is pretty silly. Lastly the person states that they 'feel' like hope is making a comeback – it's an opinion and being subjective is not a crime, especially since the statements asserts a feeling based on what we take as this persons personal experience. How do you question someone's personal emotional experience? You can't assert that they're making it up, there is no proof. You can't assert that they're confused about what they felt, because its subjective and carries different definition to everyone. It's a tough thing to call someone out on.
The statement does still alarm me. It, in a way lends itself to say that it is only because that the subjective idea that hope is returning, that this person has pride. Sure, witnessing the rise in motivation towards change and watching leagues of citizens become hopeful in a seemingly battleship grey period of America is something to be proud of, but the pride shouldn't rest on the country, it should rest on the action which helps project the country.
See, I find it increasingly hard to be ashamed of America. Yes, we've got some serious problems and we've done some pretty stupid things in our time… and without using it as justification to have done these things, what nation has not had mistakes and problems.
If we look at the United Stated of America we can see racial segregation, slave trade, Civil War, Iraq war, Iran Contra Scandal, Eminent Domain, Divine Right… and yes… they were horrible things. They hurt many people, mostly unjustly. But they do not entirely define or even define the majority of America. America, the country that brought the world Genetic research, Space flight, Telephone, Computers, Artificial Heart, the largest most frequent medical advances since WWII, Nuclear Power, Electricity, Jazz music… and these things save lives, advance science to benefit the world, and create a foundation for the future in terms of culture. But, to go further beyond material 'usable' items we've had people like Martin Luther King Jr, despite his murder had tremendous effect on the people of this country via hope. Ronald Reagan helped deconstruct the Berlin wall, Bill Clinton almost got Palestine and Israel to get along, and honestly there are many more things to be proud of and with a bit of research it is easy to see that most of the advances and saving graces this country were possible due to the diversity of this nation and the people who wanted to overcome certain events and actions.
If you do a Wikipedia search on 'famous Germans' there is a very long list of them. To do a search on "famous Americans", it directs one to a list of sub Americans – German Americans, African-Americans, Jew-Americans, and it goes on. This too, is something that people should be proud of – that the conglomerate citizenry of this nation contributed to the successes.
So why, when looking at historical events be ashamed due to a part of the whole? Better still, why be ashamed of the Country, when the people at no point have ever been inherently evil and deserving of umbrella shame? It makes no sense. Just as placing a statement that shows or expresses that in the period of an adult lifetime one should be ashamed of a nation because there was lack of hope.
This country has always had hope. We were founded on the premise of hope and achieved many great things, striving to push forward if not politically then socially to attain our hopes. One of the greatest rewards of the diversity within this country is that it has kept the hope that people have alive and urges them to progress. No, not everyone will agree that the direction hope takes us is the right direction and not everyone will agree that the direction will be good once we get there, but the point is that the progression is urged, and we push and fight and get urged some more… thus is the nature of the American people. We fight – amongst ourselves and with others and no… that is nothing to be proud of but that does not define what this nation is nor does it define what it would be, could be, or should be.
Lastly, many people somehow equate or espouse pride to patriotism. And frankly, it's stupid…
Patriotism is the affection and love for ones country. Love isn't something you can switch on and off, or it shouldn't be. You love it for what it is, what it is not, what it could be and what it should be… but you don't NOT love it for what it isn't… or you shouldn't. If that were sound logic, then it would be okay to conditionally love our children.
America, is like a child and we are rather infantile in action and age compared to other nations at times, but that is no reason to not love the child. A good parent loves their child without condition. They can do the most atrocious thing and a parent will look for reason to love that child – they hope that child will change, but they love the child anyway. A parent is also always proud of their children as a whole. Just as a person should always be proud of their country, however a good parent also knows how to separate actor from action.
When my son lies, I'm not proud of his action, but that action isn't a determining factor in the level of love or pride I have for my son as a whole. Allowing segregated actions to determine the overall perception of the actor , and while in essence it is judging the child by their character it falsely places the formed opinion into the submission of a general view rather than a case by case premise.
There is a big difference between:
I don't love you when…
I don't love when you…