June 28, 2014

"Are you proud to be an American?"

Meade asked me yesterday, based on something he'd read, perhaps this Fox News piece "Stunner: 44 percent not proud to be American" ("When asked if respondents 'often feel proud to be American,' a majority of strong liberals, 60 percent, said no.")

I said: "Proud? I don't come from a background where we thought about pride as a virtue. I thought pride was a sin. And anyway, what did I do that I should be proud of? I was born here. I think I'm lucky to be an American. I want to say 'lucky,' not 'proud.'"

Here's the Wikipedia entry on "Pride":
Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation. pride refers to an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.
Lots more at the link, including Aristotle's thoughts on pride as a virtue (and distinguished from hubris), the psychological notion of pride as an emotion (the "pleasant, sometimes exhilarating" result of "positive self-evaluation"), a Buddhist notion that it's a "mental affliction" that gives rise to anger and unhappiness, "National Pride" (with only has one subheading, Germany), "Ethnic Pride" (with the subheadings, Asian Pride, Black Pride, and White Pride), and "gay pride" (which is the strangely inward name for a civil rights movement).

I got onto that Fox News article yesterday, after that conversation with Meade, because I was listening to the podcast of Rush Limbaugh's radio show, which relied on that Fox News article, and Rush was riffing: "If you are proud to be an American you are probably not a liberal, is the upshot of the Pew Research Center poll":
According to a new Pew Research Center study, only 40 percent of consistently liberal Americans say they often feel proud to be Americans. The other 60% say that "proud to be an American" does not describe them. Sixty percent of liberals are not....

The finding is contained in Pew's new 'Political Typology' report...
The Pew Research Center Report?! That morning I had lambasted The New Republic for its hackish misrepresentation of the results of that report, and now — what? — was Rush doing the same damned thing?

Pew had created a survey for the purpose of "sorting people into groups based on their attitudes and values, not their partisan labels." You can take the survey yourself to see which of Pew's 8 groups you fit into, and if you do, you'll see pairs of statements and you're asked to pick which one "comes closest to your view." You're likely to agree with neither statement or wish you could combine the 2 or modify them in some way, but you can't.

The New Republic ran the headline "80 Percent of Conservatives Think the Poor 'Have It Easy.'" But all that happened was that 80% of the people that Pew sorted into the conservative pile had picked "Poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return" as coming closer to their view than "Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don't go far enough to help them live decently."

I hit the wall last night drafting a post about Rush Limbaugh doing the same damned thing after I saw that the quiz that sorted you into the typology did not contain a pair of statements about pride. I think Pew first sorted its respondents into its categories with the test that we see on line and then asked some additional questions, and now I'm having trouble figuring out if the "pride" statistic was produced with the same sort of forced choice between 2 statements or not. I'm beginning to lean toward thinking Pew deserves most of the blame, but I'm irked by the way various news sources are passing along this spurious information.

I'm not proud to end my post like this.

Your humble blogger,

Althouse

85 comments:

Zeb Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Were your parents Democrats?"

No, absolutely not.

My father often expressed the opinion that FDR had ruined things.

The Godfather said...

I'm proud of my country. I'm proud of each of my granddaughters. Think what it would imply if I said about one of my granddaughters, I'm not proud of Mary. If 60 percent of liberals are not proud of the United States, that implies something pretty disturbing about most liberals. In fact, I don't believe it, not based on the many liberals I know.

CWJ said...

I'm glad Althouse noticed this. I pointed to this same "40% proud" thing at 10:02AM on the TNR thread yesterday. I was surprised it got no reaction then. I would have thought our left of center commenters would have run with it since ARM was being challenged to come up with specific evidence for his comments.

Hagar said...

Depends on what you mean by "proud," but yes, I am, even though I am only a fresh minted one.

And, having grown up Norwegian (and it is hard to be humble if you are Norwegian!), I have probably thought more about it and about what it means than most native born Americans.

Ann Althouse said...

My parents did not speak in terms of pride. They never said "I'm proud of you" or "You should be proud."

That is not the way we spoke, and to this day, I consider it a debased form of expression, except when it comes from people who have gone through subordination (e.g., "black pride").

It does make sense to me to say that you take pride in your work, if in fact you do work hard and take care to have the proper skill and expertise. But I think it's inapt to say that you are proud to be a citizen of the country you were simply fortunate to be born in. Maybe some naturalized citizens did some work to become Americans and it makes sense for them to take pride in being an American.

Not to be proud doesn't equal being ashamed. If the question was "Are you ashamed to be an American?" of course I'd say no.

I'm happy to be an American. I'm lucky to be an American. But "proud to be an American" isn't the right expression, as I understand the language.

Michael K said...

I took that Pew poll and ended a "staunch conservative" but I was very unhappy with the binary nature of the questions.

Michael K said...

"Were your parents Democrats?"

Yes. My father was a rabid Democrat until he died. He was also a racist and proud of it. He was sort of like Dirty Harry and had a derogative term for every ethnic group. They were furious with me when they learned I voted for Nixon in 1960. My mother later said she had always been a Republican but I knew better.

rhhardin said...

Pride is a genre of submissiveness.

Ann Althouse said...

To help conservatives here understand what I am saying, think of it in the context of the "self-esteem" approach often pushed by liberals, where children (and others) are encouraged to think highly of themselves apart from anything they've done to deserve it.

I'm Full of Soup said...

FYI- this branch of PEW is now staffed, in large part, by former librul journolists from the Philadelphia Inquirer. They are as librul as Obama maybe even more.

JD said...

Most left of center people no longer even think its worth responding to Limbaughesque nonsense. The level of nuttiness is so high, it's time to grab some popcorn and just watch the circus.

Anonymous said...

I worked three jobs while studying for my Computer Science degree at Duke as a foreign student. I was no longer proud of being a Duke graduate when they tried to railroad the Lacrosse kids for a crime that never occurred. Am no longer proud to be an American when Americans become meek and can no longer speak their minds and question the President without being branded a racist. Americans were fighters, now they cower behind a wall of political-correct lingos. Americans can no longer defend their own country when a lawless incompetent incoherent president throws a tantrum and opens the border to let illegals in, when a most corrupt president rewards his billionaire cronies with billions of taxpayers' money, when a govt. agency broke the law to target the president's domestic enemies to keep him in office, when the country becomes the biggest laughing stock in the world, when the president's words are no longer trusted, when allies are sold out,...

What the hell does America stand for? Why are you so proud?

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm proud of each of my granddaughters. Think what it would imply if I said about one of my granddaughters, I'm not proud of Mary."

You do hard work producing your children and (directly and indirectly) your grandchildren, so this is something you can take pride in. Note that you are talking about yourself, and Mary is your product when you speak in terms of your pride, whether you say you are proud or not proud.

I don't see why you're forced to use the pride template for talking about Mary.

You could say "I love Mary" or "Mary is wonderful."

As I said, I never heard my parents say they were proud of me. But my parents were at the extreme of leaving me to form my own opinions. They did not tell me what they thought of me or give me encouragements or restrictions.

I really wonder what people think is so good about telling children your opinion of them or telling other people what you think of your children.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Great post. Tying pride into "self-esteem" nails it. Ever since backpacking through South America in '73, have thanked my lucky stars for being born here, and from time to time get irritated by people who seem to have no notion of what we have.

(Your uses of "evanesce" recently have been greatly appreciated.)

bleh said...

I feel lucky to have been born here for the prosperity and relative peace, but I also feel proud of my country for what it stands for. I do not feel proud for our power or our wealth. It's our values that we should be proud of.

EdwdLny said...

Yes. Because, despite our warts and mistakes, despite our missteps and poor choices, this is still the best place to be.

Anonymous said...

Tour Guy in a Windowless White Van says:

I am proud to be an American: with only a windowless white van I can make all of my dreams come true.

Bill Harshaw said...

I agree. "lucky to be an American" and "lucky to be alive in the 21st century" better represent my sentiments than "proud to be an American". I wouldn't say I'm proud to be white, or proud to be male, or proud to be Scots-Irish/German, or proud to be right-handed and myopic--those are the cards I was dealt.

Krumhorn said...

I'm certainly proud to be an American. While I agree that I am also lucky that I was born of American parents, I hope I've contributed my part to making the United States the most amazing place the Earth has ever seen. Some things of which I am most proud:
1. Our military is a consistent force for good, and true evil should always rue the day that the US Marines have been deployed.
2. While I do not ritually value "diversity", it is a uniquely American experience that so many people from so many different racial and cultural backgrounds can live and thrive here peacefully.
3. We aren't perfect, but we have the most reliable self-righting political institutions ever developed. Lefties delight in reviling our imperfect founding that including permitting slavery, with slave-owners among our most revered founders, but I think it is our most special feature that, over time, we fix things.
4. When lefties aren't confiscating wealth (and demonizing the wealthy folks who don't donate to leftie circle jerks), we have an extraordinary economic engine that can provide the opportunity for even the least motivated of us to prosper.

I'm proud to be an American and I'm proud to say it!

-Krumhorn

cold pizza said...

In the classical sense, I am proud of the American experiment and that it has lasted for so long and has been such a driving force for change and for real good in this world.

Consider what it took to forge this democratic republic. Consider this history of free thought from the Greeks, the legal structures established by Babylon and Rome, the wresting of power from "nobility" via the Magna Carta, the early (near failure) experiments of the Plymouth Charter and of Jamestown.

Consider the forces that drove the founding revolutionaries to establish a Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, a Constitution and constitutional government with bicameral representation, a Bill of Rights and possibility for amendments as needed.

Consider freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom to choose a profession, freedom to choose a spouse (still in progress, I suppose), freedom to move. Consider the freedoms.

Consider what ruin Europe and Asia has wrought through oppression and tyranny.

We've had our problems, sure. But overall, there has been no more force for greater freedoms and prosperity for humanity than what these United States has to offer.

For every ruin (like Detroit or New Orleans), we have dozens of functioning metropolises. We have great mountain ranges, vast plains, fertile farmlands, creative artists and builders and workers.

Drive the Interstate Highway system from coast to coast or border to border. Amazing!

Yes, we have warts and scars and some terrible actions have been perpetuated under the guise of "interventionism" (Wilson, I'm talking about YOU! Mostly.)

I don't feel hubris when it comes to being an American, but I am proud of some of the great acts of invention and compassion that my countrymen have accomplished since our inception.

I've lived overseas. I lived in a dictatorship for a couple years. I've seen tyranny and evil that were tolerated because the populous had no hope or desire.

We strive. That is a good thing and I'm proud that some of us take on the challenges. Not merely because we want the glory, but because these challenges need to be met and because it is the right thing to do.

Well, now you know how I really feel. -CP

sonicfrog said...

I've been wrestling with the same thought, because I know, and have known for some time, that I can't say I'm "proud" to be an American.

I'm very glad to be an American. But "proud"?

I'm proud of my accomplishments, as skimpy as that resume is. I take pride in my work. I take pride in my abilities as a musician. But those are things I had to work to achieve.

Note too... I'm gay, and have never really fallen into the whole "Gay Pride" think either. Being gay was not something i really had to work at to get better... There's a comedy routine right there waiting to be performed!!!!

What I am proud of in that regard, is being able to cast off the negativity and self hatred because I am gay. That took a lot of work and personal struggle to achieve. I'm proud of that. But not of being gay.

sonicfrog said...

PS. Only 40% proud?????

I blame Obama...

IMPEACH HIM!!!!!!!!!

Original Mike said...

Betraying allies, enabling enemies, shirking our responsibilities, leaving an enormous debt for future generations, ignoring laws the administration does not like... At the moment, I am not proud of my country.

Revenant said...

I'm not proud to be an American. I was born American. It isn't like I had to do anything to achieve it.

I'm *glad* to be an American, though.

cold pizza said...

And it is not hubris to praise your child for having overcome a challenge they've faced. "Proud" is a poor word to convey the sentiment "I'm pleased that you have overcome a problem, or accomplished something new (for you) that is demonstrating personal growth in a physical, mental, emotional, financial, resourceful, or otherwise intrinsic way. You are demonstrating maturity and/or knowledge and/or becoming an example worthy of emulation by others. You are becoming an advanced life form/spiritual entity/physical presence."

"I am so proud of you!" is a convenient shorthand.

We all like to be encouraged. To be endowed with courage. To be fortified against the grind of the world.

Ann, I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you and Meade have opened up this salon where we can hang out and bask or partake in the conversations. I'm proud of you that you have accomplished so much in life. I'm proud of Meade for taking the time and effort to work good in the world. I'm proud of most of the commentariat who take time to participate in this salon when it is so much easier to turn on the TV and tune the discussion out for mere babble.

We each, in our own way, are working for what we see as good in the world. Be proud. Work harder. -CP

rhhardin said...

Pride electioneering.

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse said...You do hard work producing your children and (directly and indirectly) your grandchildren, so this is something you can take pride in. Note that you are talking about yourself, and Mary is your product when you speak in terms of your pride, whether you say you are proud or not proud.

Having fought for my country and watched friends die for it, saying I'm proud to be an American comes naturally, even if I'm saddened by the direction it is headed...

ddh said...

Someone is proud of his granddaughter and says so, and you understand that statement to mean he loves her and takes satisfaction in her accomplishments. Why shouldn't someone who loves his country and takes satisfaction in its accomplishments say he is proud of his country? Someone can think that his country is the greatest on earth without ever thinking that he as a citizen of that country is, therefore, one of the greatest people on earth.

If pride can denote love, then love can denote pride, by the law of commutativity. Pride doesn't only denote one of the seven deadly sins. For my part, I see nothing wrong with using "pride" to express patriotism, and I see nothing wrong with choosing another word.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

elkh1 said...
Am no longer proud to be an American when Americans become meek and can no longer speak their minds and question the President without being branded a racist. Americans were fighters, now they cower behind a wall of political-correct lingos. Americans can no longer defend their own country when a lawless incompetent incoherent president throws a tantrum and opens the border to let illegals in, when a most corrupt president rewards his billionaire cronies with billions of taxpayers' money, when a govt. agency broke the law to target the president's domestic enemies to keep him in office, when the country becomes the biggest laughing stock in the world, when the president's words are no longer trusted, when allies are sold out,...


Take a deep breath and step away from the FOX news channel. Walk outside and breathe brother, breathe.

Gahrie said...

That is not the way we spoke, and to this day, I consider it a debased form of expression, except when it comes from people who have gone through subordination (e.g., "black pride").

Why?

Isn't that patronizing?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

To help conservatives here understand what I am saying, think of it in the context of the "self-esteem" approach often pushed by liberals, where children (and others) are encouraged to think highly of themselves apart from anything they've done to deserve it.

Indeed. I remember one study of "self-esteem" that found, among other things, that the self-esteem of Black girls was higher than that of white boys or girls, and that of Black boys highest of all. Again and again they visualized themselves as music or sports stars. Amour-propre run amok, I think.

Gahrie said...

To help conservatives here understand what I am saying, think of it in the context of the "self-esteem" approach often pushed by liberals, where children (and others) are encouraged to think highly of themselves apart from anything they've done to deserve it.

OK...but I am proud of the United States, and proud to be an American , because of what we have done to deserve it. We are the freest nation in history, with the highest standard of living in history.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I should've added that that Pew survey is the worst of its kind I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.

Anonymous said...

In some ways, America doesn't even exist anymore -its upper echelons having long since separated off from the people into quasi-global fiefdoms. I was proud to be American. I'm not feeling it anymore. It's a fairly recent change (2008 or so) and was very disorienting.

I was a naturally patriotic little kid. I had Big Love for America and its founding ideals. Once you fall out of love, you can see clearly what others have seen all along and how deluded you were. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing.

So now I work at it in a more realistic way, just like you would with any relationship.


traditionalguy said...

Americans have felt a manifest destiny from God to inherit this land. So they used guns to fight and take it from raiding Redskin warriors, King's Redcoats, Chicano Armies and Canucks fair and square.

That's why they stubbornly cling to their guns and their religion. They know that if they surrender their guns and their religion, that it can just as easily be taken back by those guys.

By their own hard work added to the New World land, Americans have always believed they would find a prosperity just around the corner.

That belief system stems from the Protestant Puritan culture. That culture creates a settled faith in God's Predestination, that by Providence are going to win the fight.

So far they have used their "In God We Trust" thinking to defeat the Iroquois Confederacy, the British Empire, the Secession Slavocracy Confederacy, the Spanish Empire, the German Empire the Japanese Empire, and the Soviet Empire.

But that was not from pride. After learning Calvinist Christianity's opinion of man, that was just using humble common sense.

Gahrie said...

Ever since backpacking through South America in '73, have thanked my lucky stars for being born here, and from time to time get irritated by people who seem to have no notion of what we have.


I teach US History in a suburban high school with an 85% Hispanic population and a 90%+ free breakfast/lunch population. A major theme of my course, that I return to often, is just how lucky these kids are to have been born in the U.S. in the late 20th/early 21st century.

I also try to instill some pride in the country, and encourage them to be participatory citizens.

eddie willers said...

After 9-11 a very popular bumper sticker was "The Power of Pride".

Though I understood the sentiment and was glad for it, I couldn't help but think, "What the Hell does THAT mean?".

J Lee said...

Since I'm old enough to remember Vietnam-era liberals at baseball games not standing up for the National Anthem, the first part of this poll has kind of a 'breaking news from 1968' aspect to it. The only interesting thing would be if they had detailed the numbers more on a year-by-year basis over the past decade, as the Bush years turned into the Obama years.

I find the more interesting result of the Pew poll that there's a 25 percent gap between liberals and conservatives on whether or not they fell like "Average Americans" and a 17 percent gap between liberals and independents/moderates. It's that "I'm a special flower, unlike the rest" mindset that draws people into thinking there are other special flowers in better places on the planet who think like they do, and that in turn goes part of the way to explaining the other part of the poll results. (The corollary is in the ego-centric Hollywood stars who discover religion. But they can't simply discover some boring, mainstream religion, because the plebes are all into that -- it has to be some esoteric branch of a mainstream religion, a religion practiced mostly overseas or one that strokes the celebs ego by reaffirming their special flower status.)

richard mcenroe said...

"Are you proud to be an American?"

No amo America. Donde es mi carta EBT?

richard mcenroe said...

I'm proud of the people around me I've seen stand up to tyranny, disasters, personal tragedies, government bullying and the constant push by modern 'culture' to make all of that irrelevant.

Of the people around them, who demand to live in a state of perpetual adolescence, who believe the state can give them everything they need for a good life, who believe they are obligated to give nothing back, not so much.

I'm proud of America because I know what Americans look and act like. The others are here only by an accident of birth geography.

There are people in the Ukraine right, in Brazil, hell, in Nigeria now who are better Americans than any Harvard graduate will ever be.

Meade said...

I feel lucky and glad to be an American and I'm proud of my own modest contributions to leaving America in better shape than I found it.

Sometimes, as an American, I feel guilt.

So I ask myself: Well, myself, perhaps there is something you should feel guilty about. Is there?

Then I rededicate myself to not massacring Indians, enslaving Africans, or subordinating my woman. And my guilt subsides.

Paco Wové said...

I seem to have misplaced my copy of "The True Believer", but I remember a line in there like "Those who can't claim excellence for themselves are very eager to claim it for their group," which is what all these "___ Pride" things look like to me.

Old Dad said...

Prof. Althouse,

I think your definition of "proud" may be too narrow. In common use, the word often refers to groups with which you identify--sports teams is a good example. I'm proud of the way my team played, etc.

The sloppy poll is simply fishing for general sentiment; i.e., proud means "I feel good about being an American."

I'm equally annoyed with imprecision in language, although it's a very hard thing to be precise with words.

If asked under oath if I were proud to be an American, I would immediately answer yes. I affiliate with the American identity. I'm on that team--water boy albeit.

Gahrie said...

subordinating my woman

Your woman?

Brando said...

I am lucky and happy to be an American, but not "proud" because it's ridiculous to be proud of something you had no part in accomplishing. (An immigrant, though, can justifiably be proud to have become a naturalized American).

Be proud of what you do, not something you were fortunate enough to have been born into. Of course, if you're not "happy" to be an American, the good news is we won't try to keep you here. Try one of the other countries, if they want you.

m stone said...

The thread reveals that many of us add clarification or qualifiers to "proud", enough to make the poll useless.

A comment about grandchildren: progeny we don't ordinarily raise. We can truly be proud if they turn out well, because that reflects our success in raising their parent and that parent's having learned from us.

I'd withhold judgment until the grandchild reaches independence.

Oso Negro said...

I feel proud to be a Texan. I feel lucky to have been born in the U.S.A. in the 1950s.

Unlike Meade, I have no compunction about African slavery. Americans did not start the institution of slavery nor sell the losers of Africa into slavery. We did end it here, and created the space in which descendants of slaves have realized high cultural achievement. Unfortunately we also sustain a culture in which those same descendants bitch endlessly about their exalted position in the world.

I am proud of my ancestors who came into Tennesee and Kentucky, killed the Indians, and stole their land. If we ever have a chance at it again, we had better kill them all. No point in subsequently being fleeced by low-rent casino operations.

Meade said...

Gahrie said...
"Your woman?"

Heck yeah! She belongs to me. I'm proud of that. In fact, I'm even proud to be proud of that.

Unknown said...

I see a broader definition of pride. When talking about national pride, the reference is patriotism. I don't think it necessarily has much to do with the self, or one's individual effort. The question of whether or not I am proud to be an American, to me is a question of whether or not the country with which I identify is worthy of praise and respect.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think your definition of "proud" may be too narrow. In common use, the word often refers to groups with which you identify--sports teams is a good example. I'm proud of the way my team played, etc."

Why are you proud of them? That's nutty. You just like them and root for them and enjoy it when they win.

But I can accept that people who want to feel good can get a vicarious feeling of pride with a sports team. It's mostly harmless. Seldom leads to war, like this national pride, the heading under which Wikipedia only has "Germany. In Germany, "national pride" ("Nationalstolz") is often associated with the former Nazi regime. Strong displays of national pride are therefore considered poor taste by many Germans. There is an ongoing public debate about the issue of German patriotism. The World Cup in 2006, held in Germany, saw a wave of patriotism sweep the country in a manner not seen for many years. Although many were hesitant to show such blatant support as the hanging of the national flag from windows, as the team progressed through the tournament, so too did the level of support across the nation.[22] By the time the semi-final against Italy came around, the level of national pride and unity was at its highest throughout the tournament, and the hosting of the World Cup is seen to have been a great success for Germany as a nation. After the World Cup, however, the subject of patriotism became again as difficult as it had been before."

Ann Althouse said...

See? Sports allowed Germany to feel proud about Germany without it having Nazi associations, not too much anyway, and then they had to retreat back into no pride allowed mode.

jr565 said...

do you believe in American exceptionalism? or do you thinkl America is like many other countries which has done some good things and some bad things.

Look for the interview with Sean Hannity with Jeanine Garofolo where he asks her that exact question to get an idea of where libs are coming from.

ALP said...

And anyway, what did I do that I should be proud of? I was born here. I think I'm lucky to be an American. I want to say 'lucky,' not 'proud.'"
******
Exactly! Pride should be reserved for achievements that required effort. I always thought it was a stupid question. Lucky is right. I'd love to see the results of that poll: "Do you feel lucky to be an American?"

jr565 said...

Considering that lefist educaton relies on portraying America as a horrible place (racist, imperialist, patriarchical) and considering the left has been the counter culture to that racist imperialist country since at least the 60's I'd imagine very few would have very nice things to say about the US.

David said...

If you come down to the River
Bet you're gonna find some people who live
You don't have to worry 'cause you have no money
People on the river are happy to give

--Proud Mary

David said...

My wife and children are imperfect. Yet I am proud of them. Same with the country.

Paco Wové said...

"Isn't that patronizing?"

Sometimes Althouse writes things that seem to reveal the amount of damage done to her psyche by all those generations of mainline Protestantism. Way down inside, there is an uber-SWPL cat lady who has tranferred all the cooing and petting that normally would have gone to small furry animals onto whole human populations.

Old Dad said...

"That's nutty."

That may be, but it's the way the word is often used.

Anonymous said...

Like so many other things (e.g., racist), it depends on your definition.

I'm proud of the many good things that have been done by various Americans over the years. I'm ashamed of the bad things that have been done by Americans over the years, and, yes, I'm lucky to be an American.

Tarrou said...

Yes, I'm proud of my country. I do not overlook the miseeds and crimes it has perpetrated, but I think on the whole, the US has benefited the world far more than it has cost it. And I've seen other countries (many of them) and I'm proud that we provide such a high standard of living. Mostly I'm proud that this nation gave me so much, and that I was able to repay that debt.

I think people who base their relationship to the country on who happens to be running it at the moment are short-sighted political hacks.

Joe said...

"Proud" is one of those words which has a difficult definition.

One definition is "feeling pleased and satisfied" in which case I'm proud of being an American and of many other things.

However, one definition of "Pride", the act of feeling proud, is an "inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority".

I'm always very hesitant to use pride/proud because of this when referring to myself.

Anonymous said...

I think the weeks after 9/11 were the only time I've ever seen as many American flags in America as I saw German flags last week in Germany.

Hagar said...

What I like most about the United States are all those things President Obama does not like.

Rusty said...

grateful, maybe. Proud? Pride is something you feel when you accomplish something.

Sebastian said...

"I don't see why you're forced to use the pride template for talking about Mary."

Nobody is "forced" to use the "pride template." It is just convenient shorthand for non-pedants.

"Why are you proud of them? That's nutty. You just like them and root for them and enjoy it when they win."

Not nutty: pithy. Like + root + enjoy + support (+ approve of effort) = "proud."

One more "yes" to the original question here.

Lydia said...

Saying you're proud of someone or of your country says more than just you think it or him/her is great. It also says you're happy to be seen in their company, you're a part of them. Solidarity. That's something elites have been backing away from for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

When I say I'm proud to be an American, another way to interpret that would be, I feel admiration for America.

As C.S. Lewis writes, is proud of often times means has admiration for.

I recommend a very short reading of the great sin by c.s. lewis. Just Google it and it'll give you a short PDF download.

I believe his clarity on pride is apt for this conversation.

n.n said...

Not particularly. State-sponsored abortion/murder of over one million Americans annually leaves a lot to be desired.

jr565 said...

Are you proud to be American because you think America is exceptional is how the question should be worded. Do you think America is exceptional or just another country that does good and bad things.Liberals have a hard time expressing a belief in American exceptionalism.

avwh said...

"Do you think America is exceptional or just another country that does good and bad things. Liberals have a hard time expressing a belief in American exceptionalism."

That's because most liberals don't believe in American exceptionalism, as Obama has expressed from time to time. And he's their hero.

retired said...

This kind of pride is very simple. Pride in one's work, proud of one's children. Proud to be an American. Simple patriotism. No boasting, no jingoism, no simplistic thinking.

Liberals and self-described intellectuals engage in foolish semantics that betray their lack of gratitude for being a citizen of the greatest country ever built. They show their desire to criticize America first, before wanting to contribute and build her up.

Alex said...

To me the words "I'm proud of you" should be reserved for acts above and beyond. F.e., the soldiers who took Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

Not for getting a C on your math quiz.

Phil 314 said...

Well, I'd be more proud if it were not for this.

Michael said...

All of the deadly sins are simply virtues taken to excess. To eat, sleep and procreate (or not) are blessings, but gluttony, sloth and lust are sins. I think liberals are particularly likely to see things as all good or all bad, and not to think that if too much of something is bad that a certain amount can still be very good. Conservatives are more likely to see everything as a mixture, and to find wisdom in moderation and proportion. Not all discipline is child abuse, not all flirtation is harassment, not all national pride is jingoism.

chickelit said...

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

Wilbur said...

I haven't read through all of the comments so if I'm repeating someone, well, sorry.

It occurred to me many years ago that just as it's silly to be ashamed to be black, or white, or short, or ugly, or anything else over which you have no control, it's just as silly to take pride in something of this nature.

I don't judge anybody on who they are, Nobody chooses their parents. I will judge your behavior, sometimes harshly, without compunction.

Take pride in something you've accomplished or earned. I didn't choose to be born in the USA, but, like someone said above, I'm sure glad I was. That's not pride; it's appreciation.

Big Mike said...

@Meade, thank you for asking the question.

ken in tx said...

I'm with Ann on this point. I was taught that it was bad form to toot your own horn. I am glad to be an American, but pride goeth before a fall.

Rusty said...

To be proud also means to stand out. Above the rest.
Yep. That's us.

lonetown said...

Clearly the phrase "proud to be an American" refers specifically to America's conduct on the world stage and not your place of birth.

For example - are you proud to be the electorate of a country that uses children in a sick game of chicken?

Answers can change depending on events.

JustOneMinute said...

From deep in the full report (Appendix 4, labelled as p. 49) we find the relevant survey question:

ME4 Which of these describes you well? [Check all that apply] [RANDOMIZE ITEMS]

May 5-27, 2014

Applies
Not selected/
No answer
a. Sports fan 36 64
b. Rarely worry what others think of me 52 48
c. Compassion and helping others are my core values 74 26
d. Often feel proud to be American 56 44
e. Skeptical of medical experts’ recommendations 23 77

furious_a said...

Always: lucky and grateful.
Sometimes: embarrassed.

Proud: Sending warships to Indonesia to provide tsunami relief.

Ashamed: Sending warships to Latin America to protect United Fruit.

Timeforchange said...

Micheal Sandell Harvard class on Social Justice


Professor Sandell wants your opion.

"Patriotism is not a virtue but a vice, a prejudice in favor of one’s own kind that we should try to overcome." Do you agree?

Unknown said...

I am most definitely proud to be an American: http://calculusandcouture.com/2014/07/fourth-july/