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Fly me to the moon.

  • Oct. 22nd, 2008 at 10:19 AM
views_livemint
India launched its first moon mission early in the evening.  (Read about it at Mint here, here).  On the BBC radio this morning, the reporter (whose name escapes me), said it was a source for immense national pride for India. And it got me thinking, when was the last time we felt immense national pride in the US? 

One of the reasons I've enjoyed living in India for the past two years, is this cohesion of the nation. Despite the many, many problems confronting the country, citizens genuinely seem proud of their country and its achievements.

Has America lost its national pride?  If so, how can we regain it? And, on the positive side, when was the last time you felt extreme national pride for the country?

Comments

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brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
It's little things, really.

Nominating a black man for president, overturning gay marriage bans, the judge here in Florida who sets aside his whole Fridays for adoption cases, the new superintendent in DC, the fight for and apassage of mental health parity...

I am proud when people do the right thing because it's the right thing. I am proud when people who live in the land of my birth demonstrate that they're not idiots.

But, honestly, I didn't accomplish anything to be born here, nor did I choose it. I'm most proud when people set aside their foolish nationalistic tendencies and do what's best for everyone.
princekermit wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
oh no, they're going to go all "michelle obama" on me
I'm in this category. It's been awhile since we've done something truly pride-worthy on a national scale, but the locacal triumphs, such as brennakimi mentioned do make me smile. Especially the "I am proud when people who live in the land of my birth demonstrate that they're not idiots."

brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Re: oh no, they're going to go all "michelle obama" on me
Right. And that show where that guy became a chef in prison and is now using his skills to help other troubled people? Yeah. That.
xinef wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
FYI, "India launched it's first moon mission" should be "India launched its first moon mission". "It's" is the abbreviation for "it is". "Its" is the possessive.

Similarly, "(who's name escapes me)" should be "(whose name escapes me)". "Who's" is the abbreviation for "Who is". "Whose" is the possessive.
views_livemint wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
thanks...
obviously i wrote that before my first morning coffee. blame the addiction not my grammar teacher....
xinef wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks...
*g* Understood!
princess2000204 wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
At times I think we have lost out national pride but then when something happens and everyone is able to rally together, I then remember it's always there.

Last year when the Sugar Refinery explode down the road from me, we have just an in pouring of relief. It took my breath away just how much complete strangers are willing to help.
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
What, like doing well in the Olympics in Beijing? Like making significant inroads against prejudice by having minority candidates perform well in national elections?

There's always going to be a base level of pride that Americans feel. Americans have an inferority complex a mile wide where if they think they've been besmirched by an outsider, then they'll kick and scream and fight. The problem is that they need someone, or something, to be against to rally it.
allhatnocattle wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
very astute observation.
glassthorne wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
National pride...

On the one hand I am proud of the positive aspects of my country. These include things such as the freedom of speech, the ability to vote (without worrying about being bombed or shot for exercising my right), and having the freedom to worship the religion I choose to name a few.

However, those are things that are basically the foundations of the country that were laid down years ago by our forefathers in the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Based on recent events, I find it harder and harder to find things to be proud in regards to the direction and leadership of this country over the past decade. Every night on the evening news, you'd be hard pressed to find many positive national news/current events headlining.

There's the continuing Iraq war...

...the collapse of the stock market...

...children and adults getting seriously ill and going without preventative healthcare because they can't afford it. Families are literally given a choice between getting healthy but dooming yourself to bankruptcy OR saving thousands of dollars but never getting better (or worse)...

...politicians going around on national television trying to revive McCarthyism and the Red Scare, calling for the media to do an "expose" to find out which fellow politicians are "Anti-American"...

...the national and state governments being stretched so thin financially that when multiple huge national disasters strike our lands, they're unable to help all the people who are affected by it...

(insert sigh here)

I'm certain that good things that people can be proud of still happens within the United States. However, they happen mostly on a local, personal level. Nationally, I think the United States is starved for something, ANYTHING to be proud of as a country.
yardlong wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Well said. The health care situation is scandalous. When I hear people profess their patriotism and great pride in America, I fear it means they love their country just as it is. If that is the case, I don't see a reason for improvement.
brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly certain the jingoism is related to the declining economy.
eldestmuse wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
For me, I'm so sick of being told that I have to be "pro American" and that if I don't believe that "America is the best country ever!" I'm a symptom of what's wrong with this country, etc. etc. etc. that the question is just another symptom of what I personally find wrong with this country. This elitism that America is the best, the implication that we have to be proud of our country, etc etc...

it just annoys me. There are times when I'm proud to be American, and times when I'm not, but I care a lot less about nationalism (in fact, after the history classes I've taken over the years, nationalism worries me on a basic level) than I do basic decency. And that seems to be sadly lacking on a grand scale, but in good form in the micro-scale - people in general are always very nice, most people I meet on the street/the train/at restaurants are polite and willing to have fascinating conversations, everyone's very helpful as individuals, etc.

But as a country? I don't know that I'm so optimistic.
ysabetwordsmith wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Hmm...
>> And it got me thinking, when was the last time we felt immense national pride in the US?
---8<---
Has America lost its national pride? <<

The problem is, America has ceased making national accomplishments of mighty scope, but has not lost any pride. People still chant "America is #1" as if that makes it true, but it's not anymore. Other nations are doing greater things, but people won't admit that America has slipped on just about every standard. That's disastrous.

>> If so, how can we regain it? <<

First people have to acknowledge that America hasn't done great things recently, and then they have to decide on a great challenge. I recommend Al Gore's challenge to make America's energy 100% renewable in 10 years; see gore_challenge for details. Starting a base on the Moon or sending a manned mission to Mars would also be epic.

>> And, on the positive side, when was the last time you felt extreme national pride for the country? <<

Hmm ... probably when the Mars Pathfinder started sending back data in 1997. That was a fine bit of progress in space exploration.
djkiltboy wrote:
Oct. 25th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: Hmm...
Sorry normally I just lurk around.....

Al Gore's Challenge huh? Sorry, biggest hypocrite I know.

Pride. After 911, yes. Since then?
I still have pride in this countries people, but not it's leaders.
I take pride in the fact that we still have people coming up from the bottom and still succeeding. Now if only the Government would get out of our way and let us do, what we do best.
Be an American and not a victim.
batbuds wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Pride, sure we have a collective pride. I am proud, albeit weary, of our political system. The fact that someone can stand up and complain, moan, bitch, and talk poorly about one or more of our leaders is actually a great sign of just how free we are. It should be a point of pride, especially for those who choose to exercise that right. I am proud of our ability band together when we need to; post 9/11, Katrina, Rita, Ike.... all things that we as a nation were unable to prevent, but ultimately were able to overcome. Are there still problems; sure. Is everything fixed; nope. Is there continued suffering; you bet. We do not live in a perfect world... and in my opinion, the obligation of the government in natural disasters is limited... I live in Tornado Alley, do I expect the government to rebuild my fence or house or buy me a new car when a tornado blows through, of course not, that is part of my choice to live here. It is an assumed risk... fix the infrastructure, restore power, gas, roads, water, sewer, those are government responsibilities....

There are also always things to be disappointed with, but these things generally are a disappointement in the human condition, not the nation as a whole. The corporate scandals that have have rocked the global economy. Governments fault?... not completely. Greed is what is at fault, the corporate giants that decided more in their pocket was worth the risk to those who trusted them. Do I hate a profiteer, not if the profit comes from just and honest means... Healthcare is sticky. I believe that there should be services available to help those in need, but the system should not be set up in such a way that those that need it as a temporary means to get back on their feet become trapped in a system that does not help promote them out of it... Welfare is meant to be a means to help one help themselves, not meant to be a lifestyle... The government needs to definately work on that one! Obviously if there is a handicap that prevents functioning normally, then that is a different issue. Energy; there needs to be more incentives to encourage and promote an individual or business to invest and install alternative energy (Wind, Solar, Solar hot water, etc). The Feds need to structure law so that HOA's do not have the abiltiy to prevent this....

There are lots of things, good and bad about America. Lots of things to be proud of, and lots of things that make you shake your head and say what were you thinking (US automakers vs Toyota Prius, WTH is up with this guys... US automakers really dropped the ball here).

Personally, I feel a level of pride everytime I see the flag fluttering in the breeze; everytime I see a volunteer soldier in the airport in uniform; going home, or leaving their family; everytime I see us rally around those who need us, or those who win for us (thinking Olympics here). Everytime I see someone peacefully protest the things that they think are bad, or wrong, or need fixing...

Bombing clinics, abusing someone, violence, hate in all forms, etc. do not qualify as peaceful and do more damage to a cause than good...

capra124 wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
There are certain things I'm proud of as a citizen of the US. One of them are the rights bestowed on us by the US Constitution. Many other nations don't have those same rights.

Yet, there are many things I'm not proud of. The 'America is the best' mentality is one. If we were the best, then why do we have so many homeless, children going hungry, millions without medical coverage, and a large number of individuals still fighting for equal treatment under the law?

It seems the only time this nation comes together, is when the nation as a whole is threatened by some outside force. Internal threats don't seem to make a huge impact, Oklahoma City not withstanding. If something isn't affecting us personally, then we don't seem to care too much. We also seem to let our religions influence our decisions for everyone, no matter what that may be. I mean, if we don't agree or like something for ourselves, then no one can. In this respect, I'm referring to issues like abortion, as well as gay marriage and any of the other numerous controversial issues.

As for regaining it, I doubt it's possible anymore in a nation where we are so divided on issues. There is no middle ground where many are willing to go. It's an 'all or nothing' mentality now.
bastblack wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
Q: Has America lost its national pride?

A: Not entirely, we just need something to feel proud about.


Q: If so, how can we regain it?

A: The Green Race, -- it's the next Moon Shot.


Q: And, on the positive side, when was the last time you felt extreme national pride for the country?

A: Achievements in Science and Engineering impress me the most, so I'll give the most recent awards to Hubble, the Mars missions and the Cassini-Huygens landing on Titan. ^^
polarisdib wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah... I could use a bit o' that National Pride stuff they talk about, I hear it's quite nice and more addictive than heroin.

--PolarisDiB
kiwi_starlight wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I'm.... not sure where my pride as an American went. If I ever had it. I think it existed several years ago in elementary school when they crammed us full of patriotism, but I really haven't been around for any events the country's had that win me over and make me proud.

Honestly, I've almost reached the point where if someone asked me what my country is, I'd respond with "I'm independent", even though it's not possible.

As for getting it back, having a respectable leader might help.
stumblehappily wrote:
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
I would be incredibly proud if we could stop depending on foreign oil, or elect the first black president. It would show growth in America as a country.

I too remember the pride America felt after 9/11. It was a very intense sense of national pride - or more so, a sense of pride in humanity and how we could all care and help each other.
bridgeweaver wrote:
Oct. 23rd, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
I wrote this on July 4, 2002, and I think I still believe it, even with all that came after. I don't know if that's national pride per se, but it is something worth holding on to, even in the face of the horrors of the last six plus years, and the uncertainties that lie ahead.
millenium_king wrote:
Oct. 23rd, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
Constantly
I feel national pride contstantly.

This is the greatest nation on Earth. I have had several family members fight for her, and several more die for her. I am proud of their service and grateful that they have preserved the liberty she gives me.

Other people here have pointed out the problems with America's national pride levels already:

TURN ON THE NEWS: MSNBC, ABC, CNN blather on ad nauseum about our slipping economy, the woes of racism and the terrible crimes comitted every day. All this in direct conflict with the truth: even though we are in a recession, we are still at our most prosperous level ever, racism has plummetted from a historical standpoint and crime is at historical lows.

READ A BOOK: We are inundated with literature about the woes of "American Imperialism" and "genocide." Nobody seems to keep track of how many countries America has liberated. Europe in particular owes us a huge debt of gratitude - yet if you watch the media, Europeans hate us.

GO TO COLLEGE: I don't even want to get into this, but all of our young people are being force-fed Michael Moore, Al Gore and Socialist propoganda. I never once encountered a patriotic professor who talked teary-eyed about the moon landing or victory in the Cold War or WWII... but I encountered plenty who openly hated this country and grew teary eyes about the efforts of Bill Ayers, the Weathermen, the Communist Party, ELF, PETA, Venezuela, Communist China etc...

There is a distinct lack of POSITIVE rhetoric today. The media, the colleges, everywhere one finds a NEGATIVE outlook. Look at Barack who believes this is one of the worst times in American history.

To all of you who are of the younger generation: throw off that 1960s negativism! I am sick of it. Its perpetuated by tired old hippies who are still waiting for "the Revolution." Their time is over! Reject their ideas - they have been tried and they have failed. Be proud of your country and your home!
dcstarfish wrote:
Oct. 23rd, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Constantly
By what standard is this the greatest nation on Earth?

How did we liberate Europe? Why should they be grateful? Aren't we the ones that rebelled against the British Empire? Wasn't this country founded by rebels against their home country?

If everyone were terribly proud of our country, there would be no reason to improve it. There is always room for improvement.

Revolution is what founded our country and that revolutionary spirit is what continues to improve it. "The Revolution" isn't some thing that happens, it is a continuous fight to improve.

"even though we are in a recession, we are still at our most prosperous level ever, racism has plummetted from a historical standpoint and crime is at historical lows." These things have happened primarily through revolution, not being satisfied with the status quo, constantly seeking to reform, become more just.

vinnie_tesla wrote:
Oct. 23rd, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
The Boston Globe has been running all these stories in the last year about how the ardor of Red Sox (Boston-based baseball team, O Rest of World) fans has cooled noticeably now that the team is an actual established powerhouse. When you're Top Dog long enough (or just in the habit of thinking of yourself that way), it may enhance your smugness, but it blunts your ardor.
the_real_girlie wrote:
Oct. 24th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
Let me preface this by saying that I'm a Chinese-American.

Sometimes, while I watch the news, I just want to dig a hole in the ground and bury my head. It's not that I have no pride, quite the opposite, I have a lot of pride for being Chinese, American, and Chinese-American. I just sometimes feel the need to apologize to the world on behalf of my country(-ies) and what they have done to the world.

While China is busy pumping out products laced with poison and stomping on human rights (or pretending it's not stomping on human rights), US is busy dropping bombs on the rest of the world and pretending it's not stomping on human rights while wagging its finger in China's face about China's lack of regard for human rights.

I am proud of who I am and proud of the countries I'm from. I just wish my countries would step up to the plate and make the rest of the world proud of them.
aesthetik_dekay wrote:
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'd say the last time I was proud of America was the Olympics? lol

And I will also say I was proud of America in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 - giving so much blood that blood banks asked people to stop coming, etc.
reddragonace wrote:
Oct. 28th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
I think we need to be careful when it comes to "Extreme national pride". Extreme national pride feels great for a citizen of the US. They feel like they're on top of the world and better than every other country out there.

National pride can fuel productivity and create a fervor to get things done. It gets people pumped up to do things. After 9/11, there was a huge surge of nationalism and people proclaimed that the US spirit rose from the ashes to symbolize what it might have in the past. In WWII, there was a huge surge of national pride as the Americans rescued Europe from the fascist powers and preserved freedom. Propaganda filled the tv's of people everywhere. US productivity of weapons during the arms rush against the Soviet Union created enough productivity to leave them in the dust.

However, most of these times are characterized by intense animosity toward a common enemy. After 9/11 there was a fervor to find who had done this to us and punish them and it led us to head into Iraq when it wasn't prudent to do so and get stuck there. In WWII, the cause may have been righteous even in the eyes of most people today, but the propaganda advertized things such as "Slap a Jap" and caused us to throw the Japanese-Americans into concentration camps.

Now with both major parties chomping at the bit against each other over how to solve our economic woes and most people are not happy about the choices, it's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to look to when things are seemingly more black and white and pick your path and feel damned good about it. Now we have strings attached to politicians that we aren't really sure how they're going to turn out if they get voted in. Will McCain be like Bush? Will Obama turn this country into a quasi-socialist state? These are legitimate questions we all need to address with a mind of logic - not feeling - and decide what is best. It is not a time to get plunged into a feel-good campaign.

What will help the United States gain a sense of national pride that is healthy? Perhaps if we turn that energy of frustration over our politics and economy into a nationalism against our situation rather than another country. As responsible voters and citizens, I would urge all of you to use your brains and your research power to dig out of the media and the crap to find out where these problems come from. Don't get hung up on quick thoughts of "what will help me RIGHT NOW" and start thinking about how your vote will affect the future.

The origins of our financial crisis were back in the mid-1990's when lending regulations were loosened so that first-time home buyers could get loans that they wouldn't be able to get in their wildest dreams before. I'm sure people thought "GREAT!" I can get a house! But now they're losing both their home and credit ratings. They're worse off than they ever were before.

In order to feel good about your country, you need a sense of security. In order to achieve security (and I'm not talking about the War or Terror...i'm talking about financial and property situations) people need to educate themselves and be responsible. Then, perhaps, our national pride is a genuine thing - when Americans learn to deny themselves the fast pleasures that get them in the shit later on.

Personally, I'm not holding out much hope. :( We have geniuses in our country and some of the smartest people on the planet. Unfortunately we also have some of the dumbest people here too who believe everything popular culture tells them.
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