American Pride? Not So Much

I don’t know why, but for some reason the sight of an American flag waving in front of someone’s house gives me the creeps. I imagine the homeowner sitting in an easy chair just behind the door wearing a pair of boxers and a wife beater and holding a very large shotgun. And a beer.

Oh. And he/she voted for George Bush.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know why American pride makes me think of Republicans, Nascar races and shooting ranges; it just does. (Sidenote: Please do not send anthrax to my house).

Personally, I don’t know how proud I am to be an American. Lucky, yes, I am very lucky. Luckier than I ever knew until I began to see the deplorable conditions so many people live in around the world. The depression, the poverty, and the lack of opportunity. For that, I am so grateful. At the same time, however, I can’t be proud of the way my country has acted these past few years. I can’t walk into a restaurant in another country and feel proud to tell everyone there that I am from America. Instead I walk in fear hoping they won’t know.

I am ready to be proud to be American. I am ready to hang a flag from my door and scream to the world that I love my country. Not just the opportunities it affords me, but the example we set to the rest of the world in regards to global warming, aid to our poor, and altruistic (instead of self serving) acts to the less fortunate people out there.

I say all this because right now is a very exciting time for America. Right now we are in the midst of one of the biggest and most exciting political movements in a long time. 2008 may seem quite far off, but the run for the White House has already begun. In a huge way.

And it is now my (and your) turn to change the way we feel about America. As college students it is our duty to get up and decide our fate. We need to stop reading about Britney Spears and start learning about the people who could very well run our country. And its not hard. From websites to books to every single news channel, it’s impossible to avoid talk of the 2008 election.

I am not telling you who to vote for. I am not telling you why to vote for them. I am just begging you to realize the importance and value of voting. We can’t sit here and bitch about the war in Iraq or the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina if we make no effort to change the way things are run. And, as students, we have the biggest stake in who comes into office next as they will make decisions about financial aid, our job security, health care and everything else that will affect us in our first years out of college.

The election is still far off, but it is never too early to get involved. The more you know the better decision you will make. And we can all be proud of that.

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