not sure if you meant this in the same way that I understood but generally speaking a lot of the justified disdain I've seen comes from the fact that Americans are the babies of the planet, and empire babies at that. It is pretty insane to even think of how many americans believe in exceptionalism given how short of a time this country has been around. For a country with a 'culture' only spanning back 300 years its quite shocking the way americans have such superiority over other countries, especially ones that we view as morally inferior who have rich cultural histories spanning back millenia.
one of the biggest wakeup moments about how fucked up our view is of ourselves is when i went to the Hiroshima museum for the first time. The bomb of course in and of itself was a horrible massacre, but in some ways the way intelligent americans still justify it to this day is even more disturbing to me. Its almost as crazy as if Nazi germany was never conquered and most modern germans were going around still defending the holocaust. We have an extreme lack of self-awareness here in this country and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.
This. Many Americans are nationalists without realizing. Actually it's worst than that - most are too clueless and ignorant to even have nationalist ethos. It can be said of both the left and right. I find right-winger American exceptionalists more frustrating, but I often find myself irked by those who are casually left-wing as well (i.e. flippant Obama supporters, corporate oriented Dems). They just point the finger and then act complacent to the same actions of our leaders they complain about. It's not just that we have a grossly unfair capitalist system - we literally have the most inefficient and expensive welfare system in the world. We literally institutionalize a economically poor, uneducated lower class.
I have a complicated relationship with my country (America) and my state (Texas). I love so much about their respective cultural and social history but there's so much to be ashamed of. I'd be hard-pressed to say I'm proud of my country point blank. Actually as of now in 2014, I really can't. It's a conflicting feeling - I say this as someone who is still content with living here and, even more conflicting, as a former military dependent and with close relatives in the US military now.
I want to be proud of this country. It's not enough to rally around our success in the past, that's meaningless now if it's not emulated and drawn upon in our actions and ethos now. We should find things like a militarized police force, behemoth global military presence, and a iron-fisted oligarchy as egregious and wrong because they are against the principles and intents of our Constitution. And I'll add - people of nationalities who criticize the U.S. should be just as mindful of their own nation's history and faults. Many do, but many don't. Nothing is more absurd than one nationalist criticizing another.
When I have kids I'm not going to bombard them with a long list of all our country's shameful past actions nor sugarcoat it's history. It's a lot more complicated than that. And more importantly, world history is a lot more complicated and important than the history of the USA. And, well, there's a good chance some of their teachers won't be able to explain this either.
I'll leave on this note: even my quite conservative dad also stressed when we were living on bases overseas (UK and Japan specifically) that we were there as guests and a privilege and that their citizens had a right to oppose our presence there. Nothing was more embarrassing to see fellow Americans act loud, brash, and obnoxious overseas. There's actually something kind of neat about US military bases overseas - at 5 pm everyone had to stop driving or walking around or whatever to hear the national anthem over loudspeakers. But before the "Stars and Stripes" played we listened to and respected the playing of the national anthem of the host country. It was a really simple little routine of the day. It seemed a lot more apt and meaningful than hearing the "Stars and Stripes" belted out before ball games before some oft ridiculous military fly-by. That's the identity crisis of America in a nutshell: enthusiasm for games only we play and for flybys of death machines we can hardly afford.
Edited by joshuatx, 17 December 2014 - 06:44 PM.