Finding Pride in a Nation
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The other day I was taking a personality quiz on TIME, in which the results would indicate my political stance. Some of the questions seemed quite random (ex. do you prefer dogs to cats?), but generally the results came back pretty accurate. One of the questions in particular caused me to pause. It stated "you are proud of your country's history" and then followed with a number of choices ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."
I stared at the question for a while, trying to recall America's history from a holistic, objective viewpoint, but I was only generating discouraging thoughts of distressing events and institutions. The first thing that came to mind, of course, was slavery. One of the most disappointing and disturbing aspects of American history, slavery has affected every inch of American soil and has undeniably left it's mark on American society. The genocide that became of the Native Americans, something that is more than often forgotten, is yet another undeniably disgusting issue in my country's past. Remembrances of the Dred Scott Case, the Trail of Tears, Operation Downfall, and Stonewall amongst many others flooded my brain. I could recount endless examples of injustices and oppression found in America, but I'll spare the US some dignity.
I think it's important to look back on history with the ability to see that there are big issues and that it is important not only to recognize them, but also to move forward with them in mind. It's ok to be troubled by a nation's history. What is important is that we realize that our recognition of these issues means that we have either begun to solve the problems at hand, or that their is hope to solve them. Looking back at America's history and seeing where we are today, I am proud to say we have progressed immensely. That is not to say that there aren't injustices and issues taking place in and by America today. No nation is perfect and no nation is superior, the US especially. Rather, I believe that, for the most part, we are all similar in that we are continuously striving to make changes in the hiccups in our respective histories.
There is a quote by Nido Qubein that reads "your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start." With that in mind, I feel that we all can take an appropriate amount of pride in our nations as we progress onward from wherever we may start.