Does it make sense to say "I'm proud to be an American."

Or for that matter, proud to be Canadian, French, German, etc?

It seems like utter nonsense to me. Citizenship is generally an accident of birth, and I think pride is something that should be felt towards accomplishments, not factors beyond our control.

When I reflect upon the socioeconomic conditions in other parts of the world, I certainly appreciate that I was born in the United States instead of some third world country like North Korea or Rwanda. But pride simply isn’t the right word for the feeling. I don’t feel like I’m an intrinsically better human being than anyone else just because I was born in a certain location.

I’m proud to be an American for all the great things we have done and I aspire to carry on that tradition of greatness while avoiding all the horrible things that we have done.

No. Both because it’s a matter of just being born here for most people, and because America has plenty of awful things in its history. And present, for that matter. More than enough to make it not worthy of pride.

Well, first of all, having pride doesn’t necessarily carry with it the feel of being “an intrinsically better human being than anyone else.” I think one can legitimately have pride in one’s achievements without feeling superior. You can be proud of graduating from law school without feeling like you’re better than the guy who graduated from nursing school; similarly, you can be proud of being American without feeling like you’re better than someone from France.

Second, to my mind, pride of association is a slightly different sense of the word “pride” than pride of achievement. As an example, I have a number of family members who grew up in Holland, Michigan. As you might expect, Holland has a substantial Dutch population, and every year they have a Tulip Festival, and some of the younger folk participate in the wooden shoe klompen dances, that sort of thing. People take pride in their Dutch ancestry.

That pride is the pleasure of association with something that’s special: Dutch heritage in this case. That’s similar to the pleasure of accomplishment, but not< I think, quite the same thing.

I’m proud of my country. I’m proud of my fellow countrymen. I’m proud of all of the phenomenal accomplishments we’ve made. For all of the bad things we have done, it’s still the best country in the world.

I simply don’t understand someone like Der Trihs. If you’re not proud to be an American, then you are ashamed to be an American? If so, what keeps you here?
ETA: And I meant to add, pride is not solely an aspect of my personal accomplishments. Pride doesn’t mean superiority or conceit, either. To say I’m proud, I mean I’m acknowledging worth to the accomplishments of my country.

I’ve never been comfortable with that phraseology either. I feel lucky to be an American, but “pride” implies some kind of personal accomplishment. Why be “proud” of something I had nothing to do with?

I don’t feel pride or shame. It just is. It’s like saying I feel proud of being a human or from Earth or being a carbon based life form. I don’t feel any real connection to anyone else just because we’re from the same country.

What an original thought.

Didn’t George Carlin make the same rant a short time before he vapor locked and assumed room temperature?

Not everyone will see you question as philosophical, which I assume was its intent. Anyway, there are two types of “pride”, in my opinion. One has to do with feeling good about something that pertains to the person. For example, a person can be proud of his child’s achievements, or country, or, heaven forbid, even his race. Then there is the pride of a personal accomplishment, or perhaps a possession. I had a neighbor who was proud of his reconditioned '57 Chevy. It was a genuine pride.

On a similar note (sort of), I think the Pledge of Allegiance is an out-of-place concept here in the United States. Here we don’t pledge allegiances or engage in other loyalty oaths. That place would be China.

I disagree with the general sentiment expressed so far. You can legitimately feel proud of having contributed to something you consider valuable, even if the circumstances that led to your contribution were largely outside of your control. The hard part is determining to what extent your consideration was influenced by your circumstances.

I think the dividing line for a lot of people is the difference between being proud OF America (or France, Germany, etc.) and being proud TO BE American (or French, German, etc.). A country and its people may have done some prideworthy things, but saying you’re proud of what citizenship your passport says can seem strange.

My parents were immigrants, and so taught me to be proud of this country. They were grateful to be allowed to get in.

Meh. I think you’re over-thinking this–it expresses a very basic emotion and that’s it.

I’m a big walkin’ talkin’ monkey who shits in a toilet and eats at restaurants. And other Americans are part of my monkey troupe. And if some other monkey troupe tries to kick our asses or take our bananas, then we are going to rain hell down on their monkey asses.

In that sense, I’m proud to be an American (and would also be proud to be Azerbajani or whatever as well).

I am, in that this is my home, and where I’m from – and it’s a part of me. However, I think more importantly, I would rather say that I’m grateful to be an American. I’ve had many advantages here that I might not have had elsewhere, and I’m damned lucky.

(I’m also extremely proud to be from Pittsburgh, ;). But then, we’re big on civic pride around here)

But why not? It is a connection–one of many possible ways to be connected to other people.

If the space aliens arrive tomorrow for trade and cultural exchange, wouldn’t you feel some special human kinship as we begin our species’ relationship with the other races of the galaxy? If, say, some strain of human art turns out to be hailed for its unique beauty, its profound insights into universal mysteries… wouldn’t you feel it was cool that we had something to offer?

By the same token, you can take pride in your country and your culture(s) within the human race. It doesn’t have to mean running anything else down in comparison.

Nope, pride of association makes no sense to me. It’s the Home Team mentality; just tribalism, IMO. As others have said, I might feel grateful to be an American, but there are plenty of countries I’d feel grateful to be a citizen of at this point.

I’m proud to be an American. That said, it’s not blind obediance to the Red White and Blue. Frankly, I’m disgusted with the bullshit spin put on the Iraqi invasion, the broken health care, the rising income/wealth disparity gap, bailing out the banks without fixing the to big to fail problem, lip service paid to education, ad nauseum.


We are one of the oldest and most successful democracies around. For all practical purposes we are an extension of the British Empire. Unlike a sports team, we all participate directly in the process that makes the country what it is.

The virtues of America are beside the point. My question is why I personally should feel pride in that if I personally had nothing to do with it.

The concept of pride is very irrational. Humans do feel it, but the reasons why often don’t really make sense under scrutiny. America is such a vast and diverse country with so many people in it who are absolutely nothing like me, I can’t really say I’m proud to be an American because that is a gigantic broad brush. I admire a lot of things about America’s system of government and its history, especially compared to other countries, but I’m just one person. I think I can only really be “proud” of things I personally accomplish.