Patriotism and Pride

Like many of you, I found Obama’s inauguration speech stirring. I found myself full of pride in my country that we could elect a black man not once, but twice to our highest office. I found his appeals to the earliest tenets of our country deeply moving and urges towards realizing those ideals rousing.

I’m proud of how far our country has moved on issues like gay rights, which were mentioned directly several times. (Frank Bruni noted that the fact that the poet laureate was gay was commented on far less than his Cuban heritage, that’s how far we’ve come). I hope that his pledge to take steps to deal with global warming was more than hot air, and I do believe that it will be. His words on foreign policy, where he proclaimed the end of more than a decade of war but promised America would be steadfast in its resolve against its enemy, was just the right mix of a willingness to compromise and use force.

Is this feeling any different than rooting for a sports team? Any different than a regional rivalry? Is there something American in our character that Obama stirred that may help us realize something higher in ourselves?

Rindy and I are always arguing about something regarding our country. Whether it’s drone strikes, our media, or something else, we are usually bickering over the details. At the Patriotism Junta on 1/30 at DOC Wine Bar I know we’ll talk about these things, as we should — sometimes they undermine our status as Americans, and other times they bring out our best. But I hope we can get into the idea of patriotism a bit further and think about identity: how being American has shaped us, whether we are delusional about our place in the world and whether we take our advantages for granted.

DOC Wine Bar, Williasmsburg. 8pm. All are welcome.

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