How Are You Patriotic?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

American Flag American Flag (Bart/flickr)

On this day before Independence Day, we talk about the state of American patriotism. Michael Lind, co-founder of the New America Foundation and author of The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life, joins us to discuss how patriotic we are right now, and how the idea of patriotism changes across generations.


Michael Lind

Comments [25]

Alex in NY from UWS

I’m 72, just pre-boomer, born a U.S. citizen, and have always actively sought to be a good citizen, working in various volunteer activities to make this a better country. However, I have never felt primarily American, but rather primarily human. To the extent that patriotism is equivalent to exceptionalism, and in practice that is to a considerable extent, it is an absolutely reprehensible sentiment. I find flag-waving and special-interest praying (eg, God bless America) offensive. True patriotism is an identification with one’s community and a commitment to sustaining and, importantly, modifying and adapting it as needed, in the interest of all.

Jul. 04 2014 04:06 PM
Vincent J. Tomeo from New YOrk City

In using the same word, we do not all have the same meaning. Patriotism to be is a good feeling. One gets when their nation does the right thing, corrects a wrong and defeats evil, like destroying Nazism, Japanese Imperialism and world Communism. I am proud of all the goods our nation has done. Immigrants from all over the world are still trying to get in. America is a nation of immigrants. Immigrants who in time acquaint themselves with Democracy become Americanized/American. We in the United States are not immigrating to other nation. Why would we! I firmly believe that if United Stated were ever defeated, the world would fall into the dark ages.
Happy 4th of July from one American to another.
Happy 238th Birthday America!
ps: I am just a regular American guy.

Jul. 04 2014 10:24 AM


931 days 2 hours and 12 minutes

..... until the Quinnipiac University Poll's newly voted "Worst President in Modern History" leaves office.

(LOL, even outranked Bush!)

Jul. 04 2014 09:48 AM
Vincent J. Tomeo

In using the same word, we do not all have the same meaning. Take the word Patriotism. To me, it is the feeling of being proud when your nation does something good, corrects a wrong, or defeats evil like the Nazis, the Japanese Imperialism, and the North Korean maniacs. Patriotism is being proud of living under the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. To see a nation correct what is wrong is a good thing. This makes me feel patriotic. I have a deep love for and a reverence for the United States Constitution. We Americans are not leaving to immigrate to other nations. Why would we! We have it all. We are the world. We are a nation of immigrants who over time become acquainted with the American way of life. Immigrants from all over the world are trying to get into the United States. I don't see American leaving. Yes, I am proud of all the good our nation has done. The rebuilding of Germany, Italy and Japan after WWII the Marshal Plan And look at South Korea today. Without our help, they would have fallen into the hands of communism. I firmly believe that if United States fell and the American flag was no more, the world would fall into dark ages ruled by gangs. Be thankful for all that you have and believe me you have much. So, Happy 4th of July,It's America's 238th Birthday. Happy Birthday America. No, I am not a right wing extremist. I am just an ordinary American guy.

Jul. 04 2014 09:34 AM
Rob from Deerfield ma

get rid of the racist in the White House

Jul. 03 2014 09:20 PM
Bob from Westchester

@ BrettG: Go back and read Arnold's post more carefully - he said that people in other countries do not put their hands over their hearts when WE (Americans) sing OUR (American) national anthem -- in other words, Romney's statement was technically correct but utterly without meaning (like many of his campaign statements; e.g.: "Aren't Michigan trees tall!"). Arnold was being funny (and accurate), not jingoistic.

As to your second point, I agree with you (as one of the laid-off, over-experienced boomers). Enjoy the holiday!

Jul. 03 2014 12:02 PM

Arnold From Brooklyn From Brooklyn - We are not the only country where we place our hands over our heart when we sing the national anthem. The UK, & probably the whole English-speaking part of the Commonwealth do. For proof, go to You Tube & watch the Trooping of the Colors and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

As for which generation "runs" the country, neither Sen. McCain nor Sen. McConnell are boomers. It's probable that no company or government entity is "run" solely by one generation. Also, since boomers in their fifties & older have been laid off and not re-hired due to "over-experience." etc., the question of who's running things becomes more complicated.

Jul. 03 2014 11:18 AM

At our local school we are fortunate to have English speaking, civic-minded parents from Mexico, Ecuador and Russia who seek ways of using 5-15 hours a month to help their kids' schools or community and are wonderful ambassadors for immigrants from their birth countries.

They all speak English and make an effort to bring their kids together w the other local kids on playmates, teams, fund drives, even protests.

I don't know the countries on their passports -- but to my way of seeing things -- they are Patriotic Americans.

Jul. 03 2014 11:18 AM
Robert Zubrycki from Brewster, NY

I'd be curious to know how the Boomer generation would have responded to the same question when they were in their 20's.
It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I realized how much an individual can contribute in our Country. I joined political committees on local and State levels and volunteer my time with Town committees and local non-profits.
While in my 20's I did vote - but often was ill informed on the candidates and I was more focused on getting my career going than thinking of how to fulfill my patriotic duties!

Jul. 03 2014 11:10 AM

I like the American project. I agree with Suzinne that the rising corruption is appalling but there are still enough honest that the corrupt people can still be exposed and punished. Unfortunately, open borders with corrupt third world regimes are a threat. Last time we took in a huge influx of destitute southern Europeans it took 100 years to root out the corruption they brought to New York. Next time we may hit a corruption critical mass making a return to law and order impossible.

Jul. 03 2014 10:58 AM
Bob from Westchester

@ Arnold from Brooklyn: Good Point!

Jul. 03 2014 10:57 AM
Arnold from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

I am confident that Romney is right in bragging that in no other country do they put their hands over their hearts when we sing our national anthem.

Jul. 03 2014 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I don't like the dichotomy of saying the US is or isn't "the best" overall. We're the best (or close) in some things & not the best in others. For (just 1) example, we do have the best medical care, but we're not the best at making it available to everyone who needs it. I'm tired of the way it's become obligatory for politicians to say, "America is the best country in the world"--or, more recently, "the best country in history!" as though it's true just because they say so. That just makes it meaningless.

Jul. 03 2014 10:52 AM
Ken from Putnam Valley

I believe it was Carlos Fuentes who said: "Patriotism is to nationalism what love is to lust"

The question of duty and responsibility being aspects of patriotism and perhaps more base instincts like imperialism being associated with nationalism is not mistaken.

Jul. 03 2014 10:45 AM
suzinne from bronx

When I hear about one corrupt politician after another being indicted or convicted,

when I hear about the government in DC shutting down and cutting people off from Social Security and unemployment benefits,

when I hear about money being cut from food stamps and food banks,

I don't feel patriotic AT ALL! And as I've slid down the economic ladder with ZERO help from our government, I often yearn to move to Berlin, and start all over again.

Brian you've touch a soft spot, see?

Jul. 03 2014 10:45 AM
Estelle from Brooklyn

I'm lucky to be an American. I don't claim to be proud because I personally didn't do anything worthy of pride. Maybe my grandparents who took risks to get here deserve to be proud.

Jul. 03 2014 10:45 AM
tom from tom

My mother graduated high school in 1946. Her idea of patriotism has been inherited by me -- and I think that the unified effort of her WWII generation is exactly condradicted by the me first attitude of the 1980s and especially the anti government thrust that began in the Reagan Administration. If you relocate 2500 jobs to Shanghi from Buffalo, you are working against our national interests.

Jul. 03 2014 10:44 AM
CT from Harlem

Speaking as a millennial, I think that my concept of patriotism has been shaped by globalization (thus making nationalism seem somewhat arbitrary and silly) and by coming of age in the post-9/11 era (when "patriotism" has become too synonymous with American exceptionalism and jingoistic behavior). That is why even though I have a VERY strong sense of civic duty, you'll probably never hear me call myself "patriotic." I care a lot about community and working together for the common good, but the word patriotism now carries an ugly connotation and I do not identify with it.

Jul. 03 2014 10:43 AM
Emily from Brooklyn

My parents were "hippies" and taught me, a millennial, to distrust the government. They preached protest. But then they sold out and went to work for corporate America. To me, patriotism involves doing the work to make your country a better place in all aspects of life. So, I am skeptical of our country's misdeeds, but at the end of the day, quite patriotic. It sounds as though the survey you are referencing used very loaded language in defining patriotism. I bet more millennials are patriotic than the survey implies.

Jul. 03 2014 10:39 AM
James L from NYC


You realize patriotism is no different from Racism. By being patriotic you believe (and it may be subtly) that you are better (or worse) than others. In America it is used with profound effect to kill people in other countries and take their resources. lt really isn't different from racism, it's such a shame that people don't realize that.


Jul. 03 2014 10:37 AM

I think about our wonderful democracy that will rid us of this disastrous, bumbling deceiver in 932 days and 1 hour and 20 minutes when his term in the White House expires .... and I feel very, very patriotic.

(I even get a tingling down my leg like Chris Mathews.)

Jul. 03 2014 10:37 AM
Sean from Brooklyn

This is really funny. Baby Boomers totally mess up the country in every way possible. They leave it for the Millennials to clean up, and then call themselves more "Patriotic"?

Jul. 03 2014 10:37 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, there is ambivalence about July 4th. A bit of history underscoring why:

Jul. 03 2014 10:33 AM

Love ya' John from office - but it was a Quinnipiac University Poll, NOT the NY Post that found Obama is now considered the WORST PRESIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY !!


Don't blame the messenger.

Jul. 03 2014 10:29 AM
john from office

I have a great love for this Country, born from the gifts given to my family as new Americans. No where else on earth can the children of immigrants sing "My country tis of thee" as if their own fore fathers died for our freedoms and culture. I lost a brother and two Nephews for this land and would defend it with my own life. I would also defend the right of those who, as on this board, don't agree with me on many occasions, they are also Americans. God Bless them all.

May God Bless this nation and Mr. Obama, a President who will be viewed as a great President.

Take todays New York Post and throw it in the garbage.

Jul. 03 2014 09:29 AM

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