I would submit as proof that patriotism in America is "just different", the fact that ‘Honk if you love <insert name of country here> bumper stickers, and a whole plethora of flag related merchandise, are simply not available in other countries, or if they are, come out once a year on a National Day, or are there to be sold to tourists. You have flag salutes and stand far more to the National Anthem and the National Anthem gets played far more often too. No other country I have knowledge of has a catchphrase ‘my country right or wrong’, as in most other countries anyone saying anything like that would be laughed at. The vox pops we see over here show that some people have an absolute regard and respect for the role of the President that we NEVER see in ANYONE over here regarding their heads of state.
outnfree; interesting post…
… it's that many non-US posters here seem very quick to criticize our country, while the Americans do NOT criticize their respective countries …
By that do you mean that Americans do not criticise other countries? I’d say at home, they normally don’t due to the insularity of the USA. If another country ‘gets in the way’ of American interests, then they are subject to criticism – I loved the ‘surrender monkey’ gag in the New York Post (?) about Chirac. Many Americans abroad complain about everything not being the same as in America (due to the insularity); generally in the hospitality industry Americans are regarded as the most difficult customers, followed by the Germans and the English.
I do think that American Patriotism is different than most countries'. We are almost naive compared to the Old World's cynicism and the Oriental's ruthlessness. I think we find it hard to conceptualize living in a place (like Europe, for example) where the people over the state line, so to speak, are completely different in language, culture and, sometimes, morals.
Good way of putting it; the naivety is at times charming, and other times worrying, as you guys seem to really believe in politics and politicians.
Americans truly believe they have something good to offer the world. Not only here in our own country, but anywhere our Armed Forces go. We think of ourselves as fair; the Good Guys. We don't think of ourselves (or our politicians) as heavy-handed, but sometimes we (and they) are. We try not to condescend, but dammit! We've got a good thing going here! And millions agree! That's why they flock to our shores. To the U.S. bashers here I say: Yes, our country is self-serving -- isn't yours? Doesn't your country try to protect its self-interests? Does your country's self-interest never conflict with another country's self-interest? If your country had the means (hard, cold, cash, technological know-how, resources, military force AND diplomacy) would it not employ those means to further its own interests, foster its ideals, preserve its own autonomy and safety?
The problem is, I think, that America see themselves as the good guys and have the power to do what they see as good, even if other people don’t want them to. America has such power that it can ignore other countries; Kyoto, the World Court, the UN. As the same time as ignoring the efforts of the rest of the world to sort stuff out, they take the lead. It is I think perceived by many people that America’s attitude is “help us achieve our goals” and the ‘our’ means America’s. I think those people feel that the only way we are going to sort some of the geopolitical, social, developmental and environmental problems is to work together to a common goal defined by MANY nations, making accommodations as required to achieve those goals. Often those accommodations would affect larger, richer countries in a negative fashion to help less rich countries in a positive way; with trade tariffs for example.
For this reason many larger richer countries, and not just the USA (but they get the most flak as they are the largest and most powerful), refuse to make such moves on the grounds of the negative effects they would suffer. I feel, and I’m not alone, that this is all well and good, but short-sighted. By not working together for common goals, problems that could be made to go away over time build up like boils that at some point will need lancing, and solving the crisis that is ultimately engendered is probably as or more expensive than the negative effects one was trying to avoid.
I’m not talking about social altruism; I’m talking about social pragmatism.
The problem may be that your country does not have the means, so it must think of itself as a small spoke in the greater wheel of civilization. Your country most certainly has a longer and more illustrious history than ours. You must, nonetheless, concern yourself closely with the other spokes, because if any of them should break, the entire wheel is weakened. What you cannot abide is that the United States of America is an entire wheel in itself. The axle of humanity joins us, and we do not forget that we must co-exist with all of you, but we do not share the same interdependency in many matters. Nonetheless, we must roll forward together in order for the world to progress.
And this is a good example; the reason other countries do not like the USA is because they are becoming irrelevant, the world needs the USA, but the USA does not need the constituent members of the world, the way of humanity is our way. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
It’s not surprising therefore that some feel the USA is arrogant; they want to lead the world to a better time. But they break International laws they expect others to obey and hold prisoners in loopholes of legality that would be un-Constitutional if on US soil. Maybe some people feel we don’t need leadership like that. Many people feel that united we stand, divide we fall, and united means a common goal, not the interests of the few and powerful.
The fact that American patriotism is the guiding light and sustaining force of such a status quo is the thing that worries some people more than “Honk if you love America” bumper stickers.