Speaking of nationalism, I resent senseless bashing of America for real or imagined flaws that are neither unique or even representative of America.
This got me in trouble on Twitter a while back, when a popular writer took exception to my criticism of her unjustified America-bashing, leading to the usual sort of Twitter pile-on that happens when a plebe dares speak up to an internet celebrity.
But it’s true. Declaring that America is some special, out-of-the-ordinary villain when it comes to women’s rights, say, is utterly ridiculous when even a glance at international headlines immediately proves that false. Or that we are out of the ordinary when it comes to racism. Or religion (one side likes to complain that America is too godless; the other side likes to smirk about how we’re not godless enough).
What it usually boils down to is, a lot of people find smug superiority in judging this country and finding it wanting of their own inflated egos. How fallen and disgraceful this nation of sinners is for their <racism|sexism|violent movies|fast food|etc etc>. Look at how pure and good I am, and how I must suffer the presence of these American sinners as penance for my being so incorruptible!
What I want to hear about are problems that are specific to this country. For instance, our militarism and our overseas misadventures. There hasn’t been a president with a good military policy for a long while now — either Reagan or JFK was our last, depending on your views — and while the Cheney politburo were the worst of the worst, Obama fails to impress either. Why does the American military have to consider intervening at every global hotspot? Who does it benefit? Do we really think we can solve Islamic extremism with drones?
That is a uniquely American problem. Nobody has anything even close to American military power — and the eagerness to use it. China and Russia have little power beyond their own borders. The various Islamic states and entities are limited to regional wars, beyond the occasional terrorist atrocity. Even the UK is generally just America’s junior partner in our blunders — the Tony Blair Doctine, let’s call it. So any discussion of a country meddling too much in other countries’ affairs must begin and end with America.
But for random America-bashing with no proof that we really are doing X so much worse than anyone else? Pffft. Get out of here with that. Us ‘Muricans can’t hear your commie words over the sounds of our gunfire and our V8 engines and our freedom.
Which reminds me of one of my favorite subreddits. It expresses a fondness for our country while simultaneously recognizing how ridiculous it can be. It’s also why the character Ron Swanson was so appealing even to us liberals.
So yes, criticize this country when it deserves it with gusto. But kneejerk anti-Americanism needs to be retired along with the Boomers who introduced it. Because really, if we are so fallen… what other country would you prefer to move to?