Monday, July 4, 2011

Unapologetically Proud to be an American

This is inspired by a Facebook conversation. A friend posted one of those paragraphs that gets circulated as people who agree with the sentiment keep re-posting. Here it is:

The American flag does not fly because the wind moves past it. The American flag flies from the last breath of each military member who has died protecting it. American soldiers don't fight because they hate what's in front of them...they fight because they love what's behind them." Re-Post this if you support our troops. Thank you for my FREEDOM!
A mutual friend took offense at it. He challenged her asking if people in other countries would not say the same thing. She said that didn't matter. She is American and how others felt about their country had no bearing on how she feels about hers. He told her that her post implied an American supremacy attitude that Americans are somehow superior to others.

I've done a lot of thinking about that. Does pride in one's affiliation, whatever it may be, mean that everyone not in that group is inferior? Or is it possible that we just naturally identify with others who we have something in common with. Is it possible that certain ______ are superior to others? Whether it be ideals, talents or anything else you choose to insert into that blank.

Let me start my opinion by saying that I do not believe that one person is better than another based solely on geography. There are good and bad people everywhere. (I do believe that there is an absolute morality. I am Christian and believe that God has given us a good code to live by. Perhaps there is a difference in interpretation, but that is a topic for a different post.) An absolute morality means there is a right and a wrong, a good and bad.

That said, I do believe that the American system is superior to many others. Yes, there are flaws, although getting two people to agree on what they are would be difficult. Yet that is part of what makes this country great. Too many people take the freedoms we have for granted. We can disagree with our government. We are not thrown in jail for it. It is true that in certain places we are losing these freedoms, but the American people are giving them up willingly, so whose fault is it really?

Just the act of publicly questioning the superiority of one's country would be a punishable crime in many other countries. I believe countries where you don't get jailed or executed for disagreeing with the government are superior to ones where that occurs. Other things I believe make for a superior country... well, the American Constitution and Bill of Rights are a good place to start. It's true the freedoms guaranteed by these documents are no longer being granted, but again, the American people are to blame.

Any place a person is free to improve his/her life, unhindered by anything but personal attributes and the restriction that it can't harm another, is my definition of a superior government. At this point, America comes closest to this ideal. So yes, I am unapologetically proud to be an American.

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