American Pride

Yesterday in class at the Dante Alighieri School in Siena, there was a class discussion between 7 young Americans, a delightful girl from Argentina, and me – plus Andrea, the teacher.
The topic was “What percentage of Italians are proud to be Italian?” When the discussion shifted to the US, the prevailing view was that every American is proud to be an American.
Except for me.
If every American is really proud of his country, then there is no hope for the world. If every American is really proud of his country, it means that no one, not one person has thought about what that means. In fact, there is little to be proud of.
When the question was turned around, and they were asked “What are you proud of?” The answers were fairly predictable – the history, the incredible landscape, and freedom.
At this point I must refer you to the first eight minutes of The Newsroom: If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor. It has been called – with good reason – the best few minutes of television ever. Aaron Sorkin, I worship you.

The next day, today, the discussion continued. One girl seriously suggested that anyone who wants a job can get one, and that if you can’t find work, the government will look after you. One of the boys agreed that there is always work available. His answer when I asked just what sort of work that might be was – wait for it – the military.

There is so much more to say on this topic, and I will say more. For the moment, I just welcome comments.

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