Clad in jeans and a white tee; eating a burger (albeit the non-traditional Boca burger), baked beans, and apple pie; discussing the summer blockbuster we'd taken in (Superman Returns is worth the 7 bucks), I realized that M and I had a pretty traditional 4th of July. We were the All-American couple yesterday. It got me thinking about how I feel about being an American. Am I proud to be an American? Yesterday was the definetely the day I was supposed to be as we showed off our superiority as a nation in creating fireworks displays and staging hot dog eating contests. There are other reasons that I've questioned my pride as an American citizen lately. The World Cup, for instance. Watching the faces of German spectators yesterday was like watching the faces of people whose dogs had been collectively hit by cars. When the Americans went out, it was more like, "well, what did you expect?" There will be no American in the Wimbledon finals this year, and it's not that big of a conversation topic.
America is a unique country in that we rarely, if ever, show a unified pride in ourselves or in anything. We are, as a general rule, too self-involved and self-important to care about the greater good. Don't get me wrong, Americans will rally behind a cause, but we've got an expiration date for caring about others. The whole country proudly flew flags and gave blood in the fall of 2001, we sent money and aid to tsunami victims in 2004, we sent millions and all of the trailers and lumber and supplies we could muster to the Gulf coast last summer. Where do we stand on most of those issues now? Ann Coulter berating widows of 9/11 and people wondering where the money went. A nation playing a game of "he did it, she did it" in the wake of Katrina's disaster. Here's an idea- maybe it's a little of everyone's fault. Let's get over the blame game and learn from our mistakes. What a concept.
The war in Iraq is a whole different reason to question my American pride. I won't even go there. I can't understand why so many people are dying. Why? Why? Why? And why, if it was so urgent to quash Sadaam's rule in the wake of "we think he has WMD'", have we not gone after North Korea when we know that they have them? Maybe we don't hold a grudge against them like we did Iraq.
I'm not saying that I'm not proud to be an American, I'm just saying it's not a black and white issue. M pointed out as we talked about this yesterday that he thinks he is proud to be an American and even if he's not, he's lucky to be one. Now there's a true statement. Wouldn't it be great if all Americans collectively realized that one simple truth? As Americans we have more than anyone else, and I'm talking about tangibles and intangibles here. Yes, we've got our SUVs and IPODs, and we have schools and hospitals and roads, but we also have opportunities and freedoms that people in "lesser" nations could only dream of.
I'm still not sure that's something to be proud of, though.
On a lighter note, though (as I hate to be a negative Nancy), I did learn yesterday that my husband is taller than Superman, and I am proud of that. :)