Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Music and patriotism

Seth Cooper cooperseth@hotmail.com
Wed, 14 Aug 2002 22:51:36 +0000

I guess whether or not you "love your country" depends on how you add up it 
many facets:

1. Its land.  Most places on earth do happen to be beautiful in some way, so 
I think that this one is easy to love.

2. Its culture or ideals.  Difficult to define, but generally with America 
this is viewed in several ways:
   a. Immoral and materialistic (Las Vegas and Hollywood)
   b. Isolationistic and Self-Serving (Kyoto and Criminal Court)
   c. The Land of Opportunity. (There is no strong class or caste system 
here and in most circles people tend to be judged on ability rather than 
family, race, etc).
   d. The (Anti) Melting Pot.  (America is too young, too big, and from too 
many sources to have strongly monolithic culture. There are however several 
sub-cultures that are unique to America, and I as an American celebrate 
those especially)

3. Its people.  This also is hard one due to the whole melting thing. I 
think in the natural human effort to manage information we stereotype.  If 
there was a negative stereotype of an American, it would be of a boorish 
amoral double-standard wielding bully, and when a US citizen says I hate 
this place they are probably viewing the collective populace in this light.  
But my view of Americans, based on the ones I know (my family and friends) 
is not that way at all.  In fact America today is so diverse that 
stereotypes are really a stretch anyway.

4. Its government.  In a democracy this should be a reflection of numbers 
two and three but this does not always happen. With a country the size and 
strength of the USA, the actions or inactions of the government are 

I am sure I'm simplifing.

Anyway, when I say I love America, I mean I love what I see as its core, 
namely 1 (land) and 2c,d and the people I know and love.
But I also try to add up everthing above and use it to answer the question: 
"Am I pround to be an American?"
The answer: Not as often as I would like.

But you can love your country and not be pround of it.  Patriotism is 
defined love of country, and perhaps that love has few conditions, but that 
does not mean automatic approval of the government.  The original patriots 
were rebels after all.

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