I wrote this in 2005, back in the midst of the "political darkness" that was George Bush's regime. If you read it, you'll see that there ain't NOTHING new in what I've been saying over the last two days -- I'm just elated that MY definition of patriotism and pride in America has become acceptable again, and isn't the jarhead jingoism that not only led to continued mistakes in our foreign policy, but erosion of our basic liberties and the foundation of our happiness at home.
From a post I wrote, entitled "America, the Theoretically Beautiful, as Written by a True 'Conservative.'" My notion of being American hasn't changed one iota, it isn't something I just whipped up two days ago:
"My allegiance lies with protecting the lofty ideals of America and the governmental structures that made our national and political culture unique in the history of the world – and which also inspired countless governments that came after it with its lofty example. It is not hyperbole or jingoistic nationalism to say that American experiment offered the world a first, shining example of a truly viable democracy. And the Revolution that spawned it, while narrow in scope at the beginning – begun over a tax dispute and the subsequent limited debate over appropriate parliamentary representation – ended up being a true revolution in political thought, after which the world would never be the same. The French Revolution rolled up right behind it, as did the heads of its political opponents, followed in turn by African slaves in Haiti successfully taking back their freedom only a few years later, when they rightly murdered many of their French masters and put some of their heads on stakes. Napoleon bugged out of the "New World" and sold Jefferson the middle third of North America for a song.
Even Ho Chi Minh based his liberation movement's principles upon our own, calling upon the philosopher John Locke's idea that if a government – for which the sole raison d'être is the securement of one's property in both possessions and rights – is ever found to be negligent in doing so, or does not possess the mandate of the people, it is the right and even duty of said people to reform or even oust the government. The assumptions of Locke and the American Revolutionaries are quite radical in the conclusions they draw. Too bad the United States had become so conservative in its operation that it had completely forgotten the radical politics that created it, which would soon lead to the French being restored in power in what was then called Indochina.
By the time we get to the creation of a Bill of Rights as political compromise, as a stipulation for the Anti-Federalists signing off on a new constitution that created a central government with incredibly strong power, something that grated against their post-Revolution near-paranoia that assumed that central governments were doomed to become corrupt and abusive of their powers, the world would be witness to the most radically progressive political document ever created that protected the rights of the individual.
And the Bush administration has been taking an arrogant, extended piss on both the spirit and even the letter of our founding documents throughout his entire administration's political reign.
So I don't hate Bush just because I'm a bleeding-heart liberal with a kneejerk response to anyone of a "conservative" stripe. I love the ideals of America and its Constitution, even with the few glaring flaws that eventually needed "working out" – namely, oh, you know, its protection of the right to own human beings, not explicitly outlining the extension of political rights to anyone than propertied white men (having a certain amount of property was a requirement for most states until the early 1800's).
But the ideals espoused in the Constitution are as infective as they are inspired. Almost all governments in the world to that point were a system of some kind of monarchical, hereditary rule. Most societies in the world worked within a social system that explicitly placed some kind of elite at the top and gave them most political rights. Whether you're looking at the English gentry or Korean yangban, around the world, it was variations on the same theme. So it went with the peasantry, who were thought of in most societies in the world as barely human. There were exceptions, sure, but they were either too brief or too unsustainable to be duplicated.
America's democratic legacy has not to do so much with its endurance in time, but with the number of true revolutionaries inspired by our example. Right after our came the French Revolution, then the Haitian, and on and on throughout history."
You should be able to easily see that nothing's changed about how I define pride in America since then, except the political landscape around me. So if you think I just jumped out of the woodwork with this sudden pride 2 days ago, you're wrong. And I am no need of a history lecture, thank you very much.