My very British wife is somewhat amused by Americans’ patriotism. “Why all this worship of a flag for goodness sake?” She’s not particularly impressed with George Bush, Amerian military adventures abroad, nor with certain characteristics of American culture: consumerism, obsession with image, right wing jingo-ism etc.
She jokes that the British celebrate Fourth of July too: “That’s when we were lucky enough to get rid of you lot.”
I point out that patriotism can be a bit silly in any country and that the sight of the drunken English bellowing out Land of Hope and Glory at the last night of the Proms isn’t much better than the sight of maudlin Americans weeping at the raising of the flag and the pledge of allegiance or singing the national anthem at a baseball game. I ask why the English love for the rotten old royal family should be any more absurd than American devotion to the flag. At least the flag doesn’t cost us several million a year to maintain.
On the plus side, patriotism, wherever it occurs, is a touching absurdity. There’s something sweet and noble about the love of one’s country. Better some sentimental patriotism than sour cynicism I reckon. Better to love your country than to hate all countries.
As this is an Anglo-American blog, what do people think? Are Americans more patriotic than the English? In the midst of the present Anglo American adventure in Iraq can either country stand very proud? If America can be criticized for overseas adventures, is England’s track record any more noble? If the English are less patriotic is that because they are ashamed of their country, and in its present state is that about right?
Go on. Tell me what you think. Love America and hate Britain? Love Britain and hate America? Love and hate ’em both?