Nearly six-in-ten (59%) non-Hispanic whites say they are extremely proud of being an American compared with 36% of non-Hispanic blacks. People younger than 30 also are less likely than older Americans to say they are extremely proud of being an American. Those who give Barack Obama the lowest job ratings -- predominately Republicans and independents who lean Republican -- also are more likely to say that they are extremely proud to be an American than are those who give the president more positive ratings.
Speaking for myself, I am as little disposed to feel pride at being an American as I am at being over six feet tall or having blue eyes, confining as I do my feelings of pride to actual accomplishments of mine of which being born in this country is not one.
To this initial perplexity at those who declare themselves proud -- rather than, say, relieved or lucky -- to have happened to have been born American through no special effort of theirs, I will admit to additional perplexities at the sentiments that seem so regularly to accompany these spectacles of patriotic pride.
Among these, are plainly false statements such as that America is Number One when, sad to say, the reported satisfaction of our citizens is far from the highest, when the quality of our healthcare is far from the highest, when the life expectancy of our citizens and the survival rate of our infants are far from the best, when the scientific literacy of our population is far from the highest, when the proportion of our population behind bars is far from the lowest, when childhood poverty and obesity are far from the lowest, when we are not even the leader in supporting the freedoms of expression and assembly and press that once defined us, when our employment of renewable energy technologies and even our internet speeds languish far behind the actually leading countries on earth.
No less bewildering to me, I confess, are the customary celebrations among the pridefully patriotic of what they will describe as "the American way of life," and by which they seem only rarely to concern themselves with such worthy and as yet unfinished business of ours as achieving equity-in-diversity or a government of laws and not men, but more often something to do with the insanely disproportionate consumption, waste, and pollution of our planet's resources to the palpable ruin of us all -- and this without being made particularly happy by our profligacy in any case. I will admit that I find it hard to grasp what there is to be proud of in any of this.
While I like very much the diversity of my country I must say that white racist patriarchy thrives here sufficiently to constrain any real pride I might take in that vibrant diversity. And while I like very much the lack of any native aristocracy in my country I must say that the ongoing ruinous concentration of wealth and rising poverty rate here -- not to mention an ever-amplifying devotion to vapid celebrities -- is sufficient to constrain any real pride I might take in its wholesome populism. And while I like very much the tradition of civilian control over a voluntary military in my country I must say that the proportion of our national budget devoted to military spending incomparably higher than that of any other nation on earth in the midst of an insecure ill-educated precarious population conscripted by duress into cannon fodder to facilitate welfare for the already rich via "Defense" is sufficient to constrain any real pride I might take in our admirably civilian governance.
The Pew research article states the obvious when it goes on to point out that "those who agree with the Tea Party movement -- are among the most likely to consider themselves more patriotic than most people in this country."
It remains for the overwhelming majority of citizens in this country who disagree with the white-racist patriarchal theocratic minority of the Tea Party movement and whose interests differ from those of the even smaller minority of rich corporate-militarist Mobsters who manipulate the Tea Party mob to protect their profits to refuse these lies and crimes of the Right, to struggle to reform our institutions ever more and more in the direction of fairness and diversity and consent and democracy and flourishing and peace and a patriotism of principle.
Now that would be something we could all take some real pride in.