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The 7 - Random - American Patriotism
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Jonny_English
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#1 Posted on 15.6.04 1433.56
Reposted on: 15.6.11 1434.46
I didn't really know where to post this thread, it's not really political, but feel free to move it. Also, I should mention that the last thing I wish to do is offend anyone.

These two threads(http://the-w.com/thread.php/id=20644, http://the-w.com/thread.php/id=20647) are really intriguing to me. Americans seem to be so overtly patriotic, whereas in Britain we're, well, not. Unless we join the armed forces or the police service, we NEVER swear allegiance to the Queen or our flag (not through choice, but because there is no opportunity). Flags are flying at the moment, displayed on every second car, but that is only because of the Euro 2004 football (soccer) tournament.

I suppose I want to know if the overt patriotism is truly representative, or just "window dressing". When you have to recite the pledge every morning in school, is it an honour, or do you just think "Jesus, not again...". I posted in the wrestling forum a while ago that it was silly to moan about Shawn Michaels humping the Canadian flag, because it was just a piece of linen. A straw poll in the pub last night indicated that a significant percentage of Brits feel that way; that its just a symbol. I probably haven't phrased this very well, but I want to try and understand the essence of (US or any) patriotism, as sport seems to be about the only thing that can raise any in the UK.
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Matt Tracker
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#2 Posted on 15.6.04 1453.32
Reposted on: 15.6.11 1454.44
Im my initial schooldays, I had to recite the pledge along with the rest of my class every morning. That faded once we got older. Back then, yeah, it was a chore, yet another part of school I had to slog through. Nowadays I have so few public opportunities to recite the pledge with a group that I actually enjoy it.

When I see, let's say, a flag match on a WWE show, I think it's simply an easy way to work the crowd. It's a prop linked to the face performer, not domestic policies or federal initiatives like highways and hospitals. I don't get offended by people burning the flag because I'd rather they burn a flag in protest than burn a building housing the targets of their anger. And I believe people who slap flags all over their properties are trying to one-up everyone else. That's not patriotism, that's pride.

I don't carry my love of country on my sleeve, and I certainly don't agree with the notion of "my country right or wrong." But when I'm reminded of the best ideals of America -- the inherent potential of the social contract if it works at its peak efficiency and purest essence -- I get goosebumps. There's a huge difference between the idea and its execution, though. The reason that ideal seems so wonderful is because the reality is often so different.

When I see the flag, I see the American Ideal that I envision: a true democracy crafted by amicable compromise and founded on equal effort, private ambition and public service. That's what I'm saluting and pledging my allegiance to and trying to bring closer to reality by my votes for public offices and mundane courtesies to my fellow man.
StaggerLee
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#3 Posted on 15.6.04 1454.02
Reposted on: 15.6.11 1457.17
Well, I for one am overtly patriotic, because I grew up in a household where my father was a career Navy man, his father was in the Army during WW1, and my Great Grandfather was Amry around the turn of the century. My mothers father was Army in WW2 and her step dad, who is theo only Grandfather on that side that I know, was Air Force during Korea. Its always been just an accepted thing in our house that service to your nation was expected, and that you are proud of your country. (I served 13 years in the Navy as well)

I think its a very American thing. When overseas I realised that most Europeans travel to a lot of nations, and you see first hand other nationalities, thier cultures and thier people. MOST Americans never leave thier region, let alone the country, so its alien to them to think of other nations being like thier own.

As for people putting flags all over thier property, I disagree slightly, my girlfriends mother has American flags on everything. EVERYTHING. In the Yard, on the house, on thier barn, everywhere. They are farmers, own a family farm and work thier asses off year in and year out. They are proud of the flag, proud of our troops and proud to be American and to be working to help feed America. (you should have heard the lecture when I asked what the deal was with all the flags!LOL! )
So, it isnt always just the redneck at Walmart buying a flag because the USA bombed a foriegner. Some people do wear it on thier sleves and are proud of it.

(edited by StaggerLee on 15.6.04 1258)
DrDirt
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#4 Posted on 15.6.04 1601.57
Reposted on: 15.6.11 1603.27
Patrotism, well meant and earnest, is great. Jingoism is bad, very bad. Unfortunaely musch of our patriotic fervor since 9/11 was knee-jerk and turned into love it or leave it sentiment.

Reciting the Pledge is fine but as a child it was something you tend to do but not really understand.

As far as flags everywhere, it cheapens the true meaning of the flag, especially since they treat the flag with much unintended disrespect.
JustinShapiro
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#5 Posted on 15.6.04 2041.08
Reposted on: 15.6.11 2044.16
Hard to say.




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At the end of his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his innovative program known as the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government. He felt he had fulfilled his campaign pledge of 1980 to restore "the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."
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On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.
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From his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, he had two children, Maureen and Michael. Maureen passed away in 2001. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.
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As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.

Ronald Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate former Texas Congressman and United Nations Ambassador George Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of Americans in Iran swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter.

On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.

Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.

A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. Their victory turned away Democratic challengers Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.

In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.

In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.
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By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.
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Overall, the Reagan years saw a restoration of prosperity, and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp.
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(edited by JMShapiro on 15.6.04 1909)
Jonny_English
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#6 Posted on 16.6.04 1502.31
Reposted on: 16.6.11 1510.11
I think you may have hit the nail on the head there, StaggerLee. The UK has no great rallying cry, there is no equivalent to "the American dream"...I wish there was.
DrDirt
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#7 Posted on 16.6.04 1643.44
Reposted on: 16.6.11 1644.29
    Originally posted by Jonny_English
    I think you may have hit the nail on the head there, StaggerLee. The UK has no great rallying cry, there is no equivalent to "the American dream"...I wish there was.


Is part of that because we are 228 years old as a country and they are around 1000.
tarnish
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#8 Posted on 16.6.04 1835.04
Reposted on: 16.6.11 1835.58

The only thing I can think of that all the Brits I know have in common is a rather withering and deeply ingrained hatred for the French.

Other than that, most people I know from the UK have a quiet pride about their country. The glory of the empire that the sun never set on is definitely part of them, but they don't run around waving the Union Jack and reminding anyone who'll listen.

This is in contrast with we Canadians, who don't appear patriotic in the slightest until someone questions our patriotism and then we get all rah-rah, hey-hey. For ten minutes. Wouldn't want to offend anyone, after all...

I have seen American patriotism at its best and at its worst. I will say there is probably not another nation on Earth whose citizens as much believe in the greatness of their own country. I just think some believe it a little too strongly and, potentially, for some of the wrong reasons. But that's to be expected; we're all human, after all.
Downtown Bookie
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#9 Posted on 16.6.04 2021.08
Reposted on: 16.6.11 2024.03
    Originally posted by Jonny_English
    Americans seem to be so overtly patriotic, whereas in Britain we're, well, not.
Of course, it all depends on how you define patriotism. Flag waving and sprouting nationalistic jingoisms has its time and place; but IMHO it's difficult to say America is overly patriotic when approximately half of the adult citizens in this country don't exercise their right to vote. For example, using numbers from this site (yvoteonline.org) the United States ranks 140th in the world in voter turnout in the last decade. As for a direct comparison, only about 44.9% of Americans voted in national elections, both presidential and congressional, during the 1990s, compared to a 72.4% turnout by citizens of the United Kingdom for elections in their country during the same time period. Look at those numbers again and then tell me which country has the more patriotic citizens. Now this is just my opinion, of course, but I don't care how many flags you wave, you're not an American patriot if you can't be bothered to get off your ass on election day and vote.
StaggerLee
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#10 Posted on 16.6.04 2331.55
Reposted on: 16.6.11 2332.18
However, dissatisfaction with both parties has probably led a lot of people to not vote at all.

Imagine the chaos at the booths if 75% of the people who could vote showed up? THey have to work extra hours, and get judges to hold open polling sites that are supposed to be closed as it is.
I doubt our system could handle a 50% increase in voted turnout.
Merc
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#11 Posted on 16.6.04 2338.33
Reposted on: 16.6.11 2339.00
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Is part of that because we are 228 years old as a country and they are around 1000.

I wouldn't say that's the reason, we're a younger nation than you lot and we aren't nearly as visibly patriotic as you. We're more like Tarnish's Canadians. If you have a go at Australia, we'll give you a serve but then go back to not giving a crap.
The only time we're really patriotic is when we are beating someone in any sport. Especially if its England.
Downtown Bookie
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#12 Posted on 17.6.04 0048.28
Reposted on: 17.6.11 0051.12
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    However, dissatisfaction with both parties has probably led a lot of people to not vote at all.
Which, while possibly true, is quite silly when you do the math. As noted above, the non-voters are in the majority, and this is especially true in the off-year elections (i.e., those years when the full House and one-third of the Senate are up for grabs, but not the Presidency, such as 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, etc.). That means that if those citizens who chose not to vote would have instead expressed their dissatisfaction with the two major parties by voting for candidates who weren't Democrats or Republicans (or, for that matter not even on the ballot, via the use of write-in votes) then the majority members of the U.S. Congress wouldn't be Republicans or Democrats, and the two parties that these citizens were dissatisfied with would no longer be in power. So the use of basic arithmetic skills shows that "dissatisfaction with the two major parties" is not a valid excuse for not exercising your right to vote, but rather an impetus to make certain that you do vote.

(edited by Downtown Bookie on 19.6.04 1225)
DrDirt
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#13 Posted on 17.6.04 0717.37
Reposted on: 17.6.11 0719.25
    Originally posted by Downtown Bookie
      Originally posted by Jonny_English
      Americans seem to be so overtly patriotic, whereas in Britain we're, well, not.
    Of course, it all depends on how you define patriotism. Flag waving and sprouting nationalistic jingoisms has its time and place; but IMHO it's difficult to say America is overly patriotic when approximately half of the adult citizens in this country don't exercise their right to vote. For example, using numbers from this site (yvoteonline.org) the United States ranks 140th in the world in voter turnout in the last decade. As for a direct comparison, only about 44.9% of Americans voted in national elections, both presidential and congressional, during the 1990s, compared to a 72.4% turnout by citizens of the United Kingdom for elections in their country during the same time period. Look at those numbers again and then tell me which country has the more patriotic citizens. Now this is just my opinion, of course, but I don't care how many flags you wave, you're not an American patriot if you can't be bothered to get off your ass on election day and vote.


I also wished that voter turnout was higher. But I have gradually come to the conclusion that we don't want these people to vote and shouldn't force the issue. As it is now too many uninformed citizens vote.
Jonny_English
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#14 Posted on 17.6.04 1241.41
Reposted on: 17.6.11 1242.25
I don't have any stats to back this up, but voter turnout over here is piss-poor also. IMHO, this can be attributed to the fact that both main British parties are so similar at the minute.
Nate The Snake
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#15 Posted on 17.6.04 2209.31
Reposted on: 17.6.11 2210.39
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    However, dissatisfaction with both parties has probably led a lot of people to not vote at all.

    Imagine the chaos at the booths if 75% of the people who could vote showed up? THey have to work extra hours, and get judges to hold open polling sites that are supposed to be closed as it is.
    I doubt our system could handle a 50% increase in voted turnout.


I don't think either side really wants that kind of increase in turnout even without the costs in labor and manpower - larger groups are harder to predict and manipulate effectively. It's a lot easier for them to find out who's most likely to be voting anyway, and focus on them. Hell, look what happens when people who don't vote hit the polls...

Gov. Jesse Ventura. :)
Nag
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#16 Posted on 18.6.04 0317.10
Reposted on: 18.6.11 0317.23
I think Stagger had a great point. How many Americans with magnetic flags on their cars or pins on their three piece suit can name you three U.S. presidents before their birth. How many can tell you what the New Deal was, the importance of the Louisiana Purchase, and how the Industrial Revolution effected the country. How many, if needed to make the ultimate sacrifice, would? More importantly, how many, with sincerity, care? Because from my point of view, most of the people who've been most swept up in post 9-11 patriotism seemed to be some of the least in touch with this countries history, culture, and customs.

And that's one thing I'll say about the Brits, from my limited outsiders knowledge, and it's where they beat us good, is they have a much greater appreciation and grasp of their background. Where we Americans tend to view it as nothing more then a couple classes we had to overcome in high school.

So to me its about sincerity, how firm do you stand behind what you believe. People who are passionate are easy targets for ridicule, especially by my "generation" but get nothing but respect for me if they are sincere. Because believe me, the American flag is much more beautiful site in the front yard of a ran down trailer in the backwoods of Kentucky than it is stamped on someones 2004 Durango.
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#17 Posted on 18.6.04 2144.54
Reposted on: 18.6.11 2147.50
    Originally posted by Nag
    And that's one thing I'll say about the Brits, from my limited outsiders knowledge, and it's where they beat us good, is they have a much greater appreciation and grasp of their background. Where we Americans tend to view it as nothing more then a couple classes we had to overcome in high school.


Nag, I think they have a firmer grasp because it's taught seriously. We, as a country don't appreciate the past, we have always seemed throughout our history to be looking forward and in a hurry to get there. We are still a "the best is yet to come" and older countries psyche is that the best is past.
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#18 Posted on 19.6.04 0656.25
Reposted on: 19.6.11 0657.34
I think, as far as not voting or not having a knowledge of our history, the problem with most Americans is that they have a great sense of the rights of the American people, but not the responsibilities. Everyone wants what they're "entitled" to, but no one wants to give anything back. Just look at how many people try to shake jury duty, let alone voter apathy. So they believe America is a great country, but it's because of what the country can do for them, not the other way around. Which is sad, because I do believe that the United States is the best country in the world, and it's because of the country's ability to work together and the potential for what can be accomplished this way. When everyone just wants to look out for themselves, though, all that potential just goes to waste.
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#19 Posted on 23.6.04 0451.43
Reposted on: 23.6.11 0451.47
    Originally posted by tarnish
    This is in contrast with we Canadians, who don't appear patriotic in the slightest until someone questions our patriotism and then we get all rah-rah, hey-hey. For ten minutes. Wouldn't want to offend anyone, after all

Canadians are strange in a way (that's certainly leaving myself open LoL) at home and in our own borders we aren't overally patriotic... But once we go overseas we have our Canadiana on our sleeves a lot more and if you happen to pick out a fellow Canadian much like a Where's Waldo in a foreign land you are pretty much obligated to go up the them and say "Canadian! ME too!" LoL.
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