Ashamed to Be American? | Teen Ink

Ashamed to Be American? MAG

May 12, 2015
By Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments

An anti-American culture is growing before us. The insidious seeds of such a society were planted in the Baby Boomer era, but now in 2015 journalists, celebrities, educators, and even politicians have made loud, crude comments that force many to question whether these citizens are aware of the blessings they have received from the land where they live. In such a culture it is not surprising that children are “educated” to see patriotism as “egocentrism.”

I was taught that patriotism is gratitude, and I stand by that. When we love and take pride in our parents, are we blinded to the fact that they are imperfect? Of course not! We can love and be grateful for what America has done for us instead of whining about its imperfections. I am aware that America is not a utopia. When I am older I will try to make it a more perfect union, but for now I am simply proud to be an American. Therefore, I was extremely offended by Delaney D.’s article “Ashamed to Be American?” and Kameron B.’s poem “American Steering Wheels” in the May issue.

Among the many accusations the authors made about their country was the unfounded criticism that America’s justice system is racist. In his poem, Kameron expresses frustration that the police officers involved were not indicted after the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. He writes, “Because not much has changed since the civil rights period/Instead of trusting the justice system, we fear it/Because the wrong way is where America’s been steerin’.” This is an insult to anyone who suffered through the horrific discrimination and segregation before and during the 1960s!

Because pride is part of human nature, there will always be people who believe that their race is superior. That’s not an American thing. That’s a human thing. It is America’s beliefs and ideals that make her so wonderful. We are the only nation founded on the belief that man has inalienable God-given rights: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No other nation has defended these rights with so much vim.

I am concerned that America is losing focus and our leaders are letting the American dream slip out of reach. America is an exceptional nation not solely because of its achievements, but also because of its ideals about human rights found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I love these ideals, and I am proud to be an American. Now call me egocentric if you dare.

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This article has 9 comments.

on Sep. 12 2016 at 4:53 pm
thebookwrmgirl BRONZE, Major, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 13 comments
Thank you for writing this article!! America isn't perfect, and no country is; however, your points clearly gave good reasons why being patriotic as an American isn't a wrong thing. Thanks for speaking up!

xxxxe said...
on Aug. 12 2015 at 2:48 am
xxxxe, X, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments
I have often joked with my friends that the perfect society is one with no one in it because as humans, we are inherently flawed and therefore cannot create or uphold perfection. See, what we have, conscious thought (for lack of a better term), is both a blessing and a curse--it is a blessing in that we can make our own decisions, but it is a curse in that we all make different, oftentimes contradicting decisions. It is the same with any human creation--for example, freedom of speech. This is a blessing in that we might say whatever we'd like and we love our country for it. However, it is also our country's curse, as we raise our free voices against it. Just an interesting thought :)

Annamaj BRONZE said...
on Jun. 17 2015 at 7:40 pm
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments
Delaney--- thanks for taking the time to comment on my article and defend your view point. You have a very pithy, biting writing style. I read your article not only twice--but several times. Yes, i DID see that you had written that you are not taking your privileges for granted-- and was very glad to hear it. Of course the title of your article suggests otherwise. As does pretty much everything else. ------------------ You say, "How can I express love for my country when I'm sickened by its problems?" Well, I can imagine it's pretty hard to love anything if you take that stance. You see, everything in this sweet world has problems. My parents do. Your parents do. No one asked you to allow love to blind you to these problems. They only asked you to love and try and decrease the severity of these problems. ----- Delaney, I'd love to answer some of your other points. I will too. Tomorrow I guess I will come back to this website and write a refutation of your refutation of my refutation of your refutation of patriotism! ;) doesn't that remind you of that old southern song, "Will the Circle be Unbroken?" Delaney, thanks again for your thought provoking comment, have a good evening, and enjoy the start of summer! I will comment again tommorow.

Annamaj BRONZE said...
on Jun. 17 2015 at 7:14 pm
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments
Although I disagree with your stance, I find your opinions really interesting, and you--very polite, so I will check out some of your articles now. Thanks for taking the time to defend your view; that is very courageous,

Annamaj BRONZE said...
on Jun. 17 2015 at 7:12 pm
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments
Oh and I would recommend taking the Free Hillsdale college course on the constitution. Prof Larry Arn teaches that the founding fathers meant to do away with slavery --but the people voted against such a thing. Intrestingly, Old America gave women many more basic rights than modern day nations in the Middle East give women today.

Annamaj BRONZE said...
on Jun. 17 2015 at 7:08 pm
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments
You also state that not everybody benefits under our current system. I agree. We have adopted a more socialist economic system, opposed to the free market system originally intended by our country. This system benefits the rich and those on welfare, but not those in the struggling middle class. (By struggling, I mean, for Americans. Our middle class is blessed in comparison to the rich in many other nations.) Still, it is not realistic to expect everybody to benefit in a human-run form of government. As Churchill said, "The inherent virtue of capitalism is the unequal distribution of blessings. The inherent vice of socialism is the equal distribution of miseries. "

Annamaj BRONZE said...
on Jun. 17 2015 at 7:02 pm
Annamaj BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 15 comments
Thank you so much for your sweet and respectful article! Still, I think I will take the liberty to debate some of its points with you (forgive me;). You say that "our country does not have a perfect history of how it treats people." What great country does? Think of Henry V who starved innocent civilians in his conquering of France. Think of Ancient Greece, and the deceit they employed to win the Persian War. Think of Ancient Rome, The Arabic nations, and Tamerlane of Mongolia. The violation of human rights (in this case of the Native Americans) is not a flaw of Americans--but rather, a flaw in human nature!

on Jun. 16 2015 at 11:53 pm
Delaney.Davis BRONZE, Grapevine, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments
I knew people would be offended by this article, as is their right, but if you're going to debate my opinion, please cite my article correctly. Read my article again -- I never stated that racism was unique to America, I simply said America has a race problem. Also "unfounded criticism that the American justice system is racist?" PLEASE! "Four of every five drug prisoners are African-American (56%) and Hispanic (23%), well above their respective rates (13% and 9%) of overall drug use." (Source: the Sentencing Project) If you had read my article more closely, you would have known that I stated "Of course, I am aware that I’m extremely privileged to have the freedoms that I have, and I’m not taking them for granted". So painting me as an ungrateful bigot? Not gonna work. I'm not sure how my article so deeply offended you, as you didn't take the time to read it very thoroughly.

on Jun. 13 2015 at 10:42 pm
CurrentBell SILVER, Brookline, Massachusetts
7 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

This is a really interesting opinion that I respect. I think a lot of people aren't grateful for the privileges that being an American citizen grants them compared to other countries, such as the freedom of speech and press. I personally have no problem with patriotism. I have a problem with a blind patriotism that does not acknowledge those who did not (and do not) benefit under our current system. Our country does not have a perfect history with how it treats people. For example, I do not hate America. I hate how settlers and later politicians of our country dealt with the indigenous people that already lived here. (Think Battle of Wounded Knee, Trail of Tears etc) From the perspective of a woman of color, it is harder for me to be patriotic in a country that ruled in its Supreme Court that people of my skin tone could be literally forced from their homes and relocated because the government feared Japanese Americans would leak wartime secrets. While the original Constitution granted many great things, (minus right to vote for women and abolition of slavery) many people today do not fully get all the promised rights and liberties. Yes, it is important to be grateful, however I believe being wholly patriotic is a privilege many in the USA cannot feel easily because of the inequality that has existed from the nation's founding and that exists today.