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Joachim

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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2014, 18:13 »
:S Did I?

Didn't mean you, I meant 'one'.

Quote
(and I don't think he would have any regret if he were still there)


Possibly not, and that would just further illustrate what an execrable human the man was.
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    Dim

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    America, America....
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #92 on: January 09, 2014, 02:45 »
    The flag waving thing is interesting.
    In the wake of 9/11, it was flags, flags, flags and more flags. They were EVERYWHERE. People were blind to the commercial exploitation.
    Look honey! They're selling flags on TV! Little ones that mount right on our car window. Let's show show those terrorists who's really charge!  :angry If we order six, we get a free, matching cup holder!



    I guess the war-on-terror-through-cheap-useless-products was won, because after a few months, they all but disappeared.  :XD

    In early 2002, at the annual music industry trade show, all you saw were products incorporating the Stars & Stripes in whatever fashion they could. It was embarrassing more than anything. To this day, some of those same products still bear the image of the U.S flag. This, from companies that did no such thing prior to 9/11.





    Considering that our national anthem is, quite literally, about the flag, perhaps none of this should be surprising.
    But I'm curious to know just how often (if ever) people from other countries display their own flags outside of sporting events or other public rallies?
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #93 on: January 09, 2014, 06:07 »
    Just after 9/11 I saw somebody in the US with a t shirt on with a picture of the twin towers and the bald eagle flying above it.

    The eagle had tears in its eyes.
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  • The Hitch

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #94 on: January 09, 2014, 07:36 »
    I was happy to read the news that one of the greatest living Americans, and one of the world's greatest scientists, Lawrence Krauss, got married yesterday for the second time. I saw Lawrence last year when he came to give a speech at my university, and event which created headlines around the world after Lawrence rightfully abandoned the debate once he had found out a religious society had segregated the audience based on gender.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/15/ucl-bans-islamic-group-over-segregation

    The news  reminds me of this interview Lawrence did with CNN in  2011



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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #95 on: January 09, 2014, 07:42 »
    a bloated, drink sozzled hypocrite and fool of enormous proportion.

    Sorry, but I couldn't help notice that the above description perfectly fits Bradley Wiggins.  ;)
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  • The Hitch

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #96 on: January 09, 2014, 08:13 »
    It's not true. The French Nation is a political construction that developed throughout centuries, whether Under Monarchies, Republics or Empires. In the 19th century the Republicans only tried to redefine it but saying they invented it is very far-fetched. The monarchs already tended towards centralization.

    It's a composite of people, that is true but assumed and not incompatible with their identity because the French Nation is not based on ethnicity but on common values. Jacques Bainville had a nice quote about this: "The French people is a composite. It's better than a race. It's a nation." Hence the French feel inextrically bound to their (centralized) state.

    It's very different from the German concept of nation, which I'm afraid is based on ethnicity (I hate to say it, I like Germany but I'm afraid it's true !)

    One thing I hate about European Left is their anti-militarism. I mean soldiers are the first to realize how infernal a war is (Grandson of a WWII and Congo War Vet speaking). The opposition to the Vietnam War started in the army and not on the campus. W never was sent to war. Neither was Wolfowitz nor Rumsfeld because they did not know what it was. So I understand people remembered their soldiers killed on the battlefield (whichever was their country).

    By the way your Hitchens supported a war where the US should not have been in the first place, thereby showing his true face.

    Since this is a topic about America and middle America is famously anti gay rights, I was wondering if you could maybe remind us of your opinion on gay rights again.  ;)

    On not if you don't want.  I never really got the impression that any of the users here were in fact members of the Taliban, so like me they might not fully agree with you on it.

    I'm wondering though if you know that. Like when for example you celebrated Mandela's death, or when you showed total disrespect  to the death of Arnold Coyot, did you know that it might pee others off or did you think they would agree with you?
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #97 on: January 09, 2014, 08:24 »
    I must say that I don't recognise Echoes description of the French. I was a resident of France about a quarter of a century ago and I have to say I was shocked at the overt racism. Saying "Je suis raciste" was seen as a legitimate political position, and it was based on colour.

    I work with a French colleague (non-white) who tells me that things haven't changed much.
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #98 on: January 09, 2014, 08:52 »
    Moderator Comment Hitch, I don't think Echoes' opinions on gay rights, Mandela's death or Arnaud Coyot are relevant to this discussion. The OP concerns what it means to be American. Can everyone please firmly remain on that topic from now on.
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  • « Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 09:02 by L'arriviste »
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #99 on: January 09, 2014, 09:35 »


    Considering that our national anthem is, quite literally, about the flag, perhaps none of this should be surprising.

    The context is the battle of Fort McHenry though  ;)  The context for Sweden's national anthem is students drunk on "punsch"  a sweet alcoholic beverage, dreaming about a unified Scandinavia.

    Quote
    But I'm curious to know just how often (if ever) people from other countries display their own flags outside of sporting events or other public rallies?


    Yes we do. I Sweden we have public flag days for instance birthdays in the royal family, or International day  of UN, there are a couple of more days when you are allowed to flag Swedens flag according to the law. The law of the flag stipulates the dimension of the flag according to the flagpost too.

    You just don't put a flag on you car like the one in the picture in Sweden. Unless you want to looked upon as a some sort of racist/extremist.

    You are allowed to flag special occasions like birthdays in the family. However when it's unofficial waiving of the flag it is location and social stratification.

    If I were to walk past a back garden in summer time and the flag was up on a flag post, I would probably not reflect upon it. However, a small flag attached to the front porch in summer time I would wonder what kind of people living here, possibly being some sort of extremist/racist.

    The same goes for seing flags on porches in the country in particular when it's not summer time. I would definitely react and wonder what kind of chavvy people are living there.

    A tell tale sign would be the state of the house and garden.

    Flags are sensitive subject in Sweden mainly because in the 90's during the economic crisis there was a lot of political turmoil and neo-nazis and right wing supremacist kidnapped the flag and made it *their* symbol. There was a large debate and the civil society managed to take back the flag from the nazis. But it can be a controversial issue. Even today a person (usually male) who has flag covering a wall in their room automatically qualifies to be a chav.
    [/quote]

    Sweden is a relatively old country and a old culture, so don't need to display nationalism by waiving our flag.  We have our history with Vikings, and we used to a superpower in 17th century and we have many other historical figures, and recently we have ABBA and other musical exports, or companys like Ikea, Volvo, Ericsson, H&M etc.
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    Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #100 on: January 09, 2014, 11:18 »
    Swedish identity= Ikea, herrings, ABBA, Volvo and eugenics.

    ;)
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #101 on: January 09, 2014, 12:03 »
    Yes we do. I Sweden we have public flag days for instance birthdays in the royal family, or International day  of UN, there are a couple of more days when you are allowed to flag Swedens flag according to the law. The law of the flag stipulates the dimension of the flag according to the flagpost too.

    You just don't put a flag on you car like the one in the picture in Sweden. Unless you want to looked upon as a some sort of racist/extremist.

    You are allowed to flag special occasions like birthdays in the family. However when it's unofficial waiving of the flag it is location and social stratification.

    If I were to walk past a back garden in summer time and the flag was up on a flag post, I would probably not reflect upon it. However, a small flag attached to the front porch in summer time I would wonder what kind of people living here, possibly being some sort of extremist/racist.
    This goes for Denmark as well, almost word for word.
    But here, the flag is e.g. also put on Christmas trees in small garlands.
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    Capt_Cavman

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #102 on: January 09, 2014, 13:42 »
    Flags have been around since man could stick a thing on a pole and wave it about. But apparently we're beyond all that now.

    Originally military: to rally behind, to identify people/leaders/sides, to make a stand around, to plant and declare ownership. It is only natural to bring out the flags at times of crises such as 9/11 in the  US or the World Cup in England. Something to rally behind, identify who's on your side, feel a sense of common cause, blah, blah, blah.

    They can be used as a way leaders galvanize the people to military endeavour such as to exhort them to invade Poland or whatever.  But on the other hand, for a leadership to imply that their flag is embarrassing or a relic of the past no longer held dear, suggests it fears its fellow citizens and their power to remove that leadership, a very unhealthy state to be in.

    In short, flags are cool and often pretty. Feeling negatively disposed to your national flag or the people who wave it, suggests you're not comfortable with where you are or that where you are is not comfortable with itself. To bring this back to the US, I see the flag waving thing fairly positively.
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #103 on: January 09, 2014, 14:34 »
    Swedish identity= Ikea, herrings, ABBA, Volvo and eugenics.

    ;)

    Sauna's, naked sauna's, you forgot naked sauna's

    Strangely, ive never viewed americans as big ones for Sauna's, unless they are in the Mafia. As we all well know, the prime place to kill an Italian-American is in a Sauna.
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #104 on: January 09, 2014, 14:36 »
    In short, flags are cool and often pretty. Feeling negatively disposed to your national flag or the people who wave it, suggests you're not comfortable with where you are or that where you are is not comfortable with itself. To bring this back to the US, I see the flag waving thing fairly positively.

    See this is where i disagree, i find nationalistic flag waving, especially from Americans, as really annoying. But again, perhaps its from the negative images in british culture of flag waving, bnp, skinheads, football fans, who have taken the cross of st george and made it their own. The cross of st george in britain is very often viewed as a symbol of fasism.

    Union Flag, fine, cross of st George, not so.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #105 on: January 09, 2014, 15:05 »
    Union Flag, fine, cross of st George, not so.
    What about the Scottish Saltire, or the Welsh Dragon?
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #106 on: January 09, 2014, 16:17 »
    What about the Scottish Saltire, or the Welsh Dragon?

    Well Scottish and Welsh nationalism im fine with. :D Scottish nationalists you just think of drunk overweight men with orange wigs. British nationalists you think skinheads with swastica tatooes.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #107 on: January 09, 2014, 16:56 »
    See this is where i disagree, i find nationalistic flag waving, especially from Americans, as really annoying. But again, perhaps its from the negative images in british culture of flag waving, bnp, skinheads, football fans, who have taken the cross of st george and made it their own. The cross of st george in britain is very often viewed as a symbol of fasism.

    Union Flag, fine, cross of st George, not so.
    I was thinking of this when I wrote, "...where you are is not comfortable with itself." which is true of England I believe.
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #108 on: January 09, 2014, 17:53 »
    Well Scottish and Welsh nationalism im fine with. :D Scottish nationalists you just think of drunk overweight men with orange wigs. British nationalists you think skinheads with swastica tatooes.

    See I find Scottish nationalism slightly annoying because it is largely based around 'not being English' rather than 'being Scottish'. I know why, because in the words of the great Rentboy "Its sh*te being Scottish"

    I've infinite time for the gentle Welsh.
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #109 on: January 09, 2014, 18:03 »
    I was thinking of this when I wrote, "...where you are is not comfortable with itself." which is true of England I believe.

    You are correct.

    UK is in a state of post-imperial identity crisis. A certain portion of the population (white, aged, rural-dwelling) hark back to a bygone age that may never have existed, but the reality in larger towns and cities is very different.

    Despite the extreme self-conciousness about not wishing to be racist I know from many immigrant friends that the UK is very safe and welcoming for outsiders. I'm not sure that the UK realises just how comparatively tolerant it is.

    Having said that, we've a political schism with no party able to claim a majority leaving the door open for racist opportunists like UKIP to carpet-bag a living in politics.

    We've just yesterday had a very messy inquest over the police shooting of a black man two years ago, which underlines that certain sectors of society at least feel marginalised, and probably still are.

    I have to say, on a purely philosophical basis, I think patriotism and nationalism are moronic, but I'm happy to concede that there may be societal benefits from it (for some)
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  • Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #110 on: January 09, 2014, 19:37 »
    I must say that I don't recognise Echoes description of the French. I was a resident of France about a quarter of a century ago and I have to say I was shocked at the overt racism. Saying "Je suis raciste" was seen as a legitimate political position, and it was based on colour.

    I work with a French colleague (non-white) who tells me that things haven't changed much.

    So you are inviting "one" not to judge Brits on Hitchens alone, quoting me, while I haven't done that (okay let it pass) but you are judging the French on some few people that you met ...

    I'm francophone and often in contact with Frenchies and as a Belgian, if I had that feeling I'd be the first to say it, lol.

    Of course there are racists in France. That comes from their colonial empire - which was there a left-wing undertaking  :P -(Jules Ferry: "the Superior races have a duty to civilize the inferior races"). But on the Royalist side, they would rather respect the "colonized" cultures, and the Muslims (Lyautey, for example or Bainville).

    I can also take an example that would get us back on topic. A story I discovered recently: that of Bessy Coleman. A black American woman who tried to get a pilot licence in the early days of aviation. But no school in the USA would accept her and so she crossed the Atlantic and landed in Le Crotoy, Picardy, where she was welcomed with open arms: The Caudron Brothers School and she got her pilot licence in 1921. :cool



    (first  time I say something negative about the USA)
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    Gotland

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #111 on: January 09, 2014, 20:49 »
    Sauna's, naked sauna's, you forgot naked sauna's

    Strangely, ive never viewed americans as big ones for Sauna's, unless they are in the Mafia. As we all well know, the prime place to kill an Italian-American is in a Sauna.
    Actually, Sauna are more Finland than Sweden. The word sauna is a finnis word. Not that we don't mind getting naked and have a Sauna baths with our friends. However sauna baths have religious overtones in Finland and one is judged by how well you counstruct (ie. how warm it is) your sauna.

    Coming back to the topic. Being uncomfortable whilst naked among friends is something that is American.
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #112 on: January 09, 2014, 21:13 »
    So you are inviting "one" not to judge Brits on Hitchens alone, quoting me, while I haven't done that (okay let it pass) but you are judging the French on some few people that you met ...

    I'm francophone and often in contact with Frenchies and as a Belgian, if I had that feeling I'd be the first to say it, lol.

    I used to live and work in France, Mon Ami. And yes I speak fluent french too.

    If you are trying to tell me that racism is not strong in France you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. The National Front got 18% of the vote in the 2012 Presidential election.

    Do you know who this is?



    Do you even know why she might not agree with your summation of french views on race?
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #113 on: January 09, 2014, 21:55 »
    there are a couple of more days when you are allowed to flag Swedens flag according to the law. The law of the flag stipulates the dimension of the flag according to the flagpost too.
    Allowed?  What the...?  :S


    We have our history with Vikings, and we used to be a superpower in 17th century...and recently we have ABBA...
    Surely there's a direct link to the downfall, no?  :P
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  • « Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 22:29 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #114 on: January 09, 2014, 22:25 »
    In short, flags are cool and often pretty. Feeling negatively disposed to your national flag or the people who wave it, suggests you're not comfortable with where you are or that where you are is not comfortable with itself. To bring this back to the US, I see the flag waving thing fairly positively.

    Hmmm. Here's what bothers me about the flag in its various uses:
    It's not uncommon when I'm out on a ride to see a VERY LARGE American flag on display on the side of a barn or other structure in whatever way is most conspicuous to those passing by. I'm always a bit confounded by such a thing. OK, I get it, you're an AMERICAN and this is AMERICA! Well, yeah. I'm an American too—born and raised. But I don't feel the urge to advertise the obvious. In fact, I usually interpret such a display to mean: I'm an AMERICAN, and you most likely probably not!

    Needless to say, I never feel much camaraderie with those patriotic souls. If I were ever in need of assistance, theirs is probably the LAST door I would be knocking on. Although there's an excellent chance that a very loud and angry dog would prevent me from doing such a thing anyway.  :(

    USA! USA! USA!
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #115 on: January 09, 2014, 22:36 »
    Allowed?  What the...?  :S

    Surely there's a direct link to the downfall, no?  :P


    Well you can't just go waiving you nations flag can you? (I'm being ironic)  We seek freedom through regulation. Our equivalent to your social security number keeps track of pretty much everything in our lives.  Were you live, you relatives, grades from school/uni, taxes, hospital records, criminal records the whole lot.

    What's wrong with ABBA eh? Mock them and you'll pee off a couple of brits and aussies too  :D
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #116 on: January 09, 2014, 23:11 »
    In the Netherlands there are also rules on when you can have a flag out. I think the goal is not to overpoliticise the flag: people hanging out the flag to celebrate the death of someone whose political views they disagreed with, or the resignation of a government, etc. So to prevent all that, normally flags are only out on certain dates (and half-staff on some of those). I'm not exactly sure what the rules are and why, but it's done its job in making sure the Dutch flag is not a political symbol for any party or ideology.

    For me, holding flags in such a high regard in countries such as the USA is almost childish in some way. "Look at me waving my flag, I'm AMERICAN!" But then again, I find all nationalism incomprehensible to be honest. I can't help I'm Dutch, so why would it be something to be proud of? It's a fine nationality, I like it when we're doing well in football, but to be proud of it? I'm not proud of being white or brown-eyed or atheist either, so why would I be of my nationality?

    That Americans are proud of their nation is fine and all that, but to show it so often with the flag-waving feels like overcompensation to me. Relative lack of history may be to blame there, perhaps it's simply to prevent the country from falling apart over race and religion, I don't know. It feels very strange to me though.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #117 on: January 09, 2014, 23:35 »
    One other thing that occurs with flags, is that you'll often see newly-arrived immigrant business owners prominently displaying the American flag inside or outside of their shop/restaurant/gas station etc., all in a futile attemtpt to say, "You see, we're just like you! We're 'American' too!" What they typically fail to grasp is the fact that doing so is so conspicuous, that it usually just casts suspicion upon them.

    I always want to tell them, "You're trying hard, dude. Much too hard."
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #118 on: January 09, 2014, 23:49 »
    And just to offer yet another perspective:
    You will also find the American flag prominently displayed in the wake of disasters. It's basically a way of people saying, "We are strong, we are determined, we are going to do everything we can to restore/rebuild our lives." It also generally implies that they are receptive and welcoming to help from others. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, I totally get that and am not opposed to it.

    It's also a way of simply saying, "We are still here."

    Here are a couple of examples from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that brought massive destruction to parts of the Eastern seaboard in 2012.


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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #119 on: January 10, 2014, 00:36 »
    But then again, I find all nationalism incomprehensible to be honest. I can't help I'm Dutch, so why would it be something to be proud of? It's a fine nationality, I like it when we're doing well in football, but to be proud of it? I'm not proud of being white or brown-eyed or atheist either, so why would I be of my nationality?

    Its interesting

    I get the 'being proud' thing though.   I feel as though I have contributed a great deal to my country, and I am proud to have contributed when we do something good or that I see as worthwhile (giving aid, helping others etc - not that we have done much of that lately).   I get that military personal feel proud that they have defended a way of life, a freedom, ideals that they believe in ... proud that they have tried to protect others from a regime that is cruel or corrupt.   Its not always the case - I am not that naive - but the basic concept is what I am talking about.

    It gets WAY out of hand, and way overdone though. 

    Australia is a fairly racist country, which I dont really understand given that Australia has grown and developed purely on immigration from other countries.  Flag waving here is very bogan ... stupid drunk idiots waving the flag and doing stupid things on Australia Day ...
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