Is patriotism still important?
American patriotism is very unusual. Americans seem to be able to look past their dislike for their government, their country's many social problems, the CIA's human rights abuses abroad, etc. and still love their country. Here in Germany, patriotism is drastically different. To love Germany is to love its people, its culture, its government, its land, its economy, and its history. Since it's obviously not possible to love German history, Germans are not very patriotic people, and most only display their flags during the World Cup or Euro Cup.
So, although I haven't been in the States for a few years, I do think Americans remain patriotic despite the country's recent problems. You can tell patriotism is still important in the US because politicians still appeal to it, and they do so successfully. German politicians appealing to patriotism get laughed at, or more likely, ostracised from government. Many Americans may be concerned about their country, but again, that's what is unique about American patriotism; the flag waving, support, and loyalty don't go away even when there isn't as much to be enthusiastic about.
Patriotism in America is a commodity. It is marketed and sold just like Budweiser beer. I am not blindly patriotic. After 9/11 I was very patriotic, flying the flag on my house and car, but after we invaded Iraq and virtually gave up looking for Osama Bin Laden, my patriotism seemed to fade rather quickly. Now I question my patriotism after finding that MY government knowingly violated the Geneva Convention Rules and openly beraded our 'enemy' for the same thing. I love what my country stands for and what it could be with the right people governing it, but I am not so patriotic or proud of my country seeing the direction it is going.
A lot depends on how you define patriotism. I love my country, am proud of its history and traditions, and I love my way of life. However, I am a human being first and an American after that. When leaders appeal to our patriotism in order to make us ignore our humanity they lead us astray. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel; they use it to silence opposition and to whip the populace into a frenzy of hasty and ill-conceived action. America does need a certain type of patriotism but certainly not jingoism or bigotry against other nations or their citizens.
There was a huge spike in patriotism after 9/11 and it seemed to last a year or so. Although now its dramatically faded again and alot of people have lost their patriotism and honestly dont care. Its hard to blame them though, its hard to be enthusiastic about your country when its in a recession, millions of people are out of work, and there doesnt seem to be any end in sight any time soon. The more the people distrust the government and the president the less patriotism will be shown also, and lately Obamas ratings have been going down.
How can you be patriotic when the economy is sh!t, people are assh0les, money is tight, and the president decides to take a vacation when sh!t goes down and he doesnt want to deal with it? It's times like these that make me want to stand up and shout, "F*CK AMERICA!"
I love german history. :D That's all i'm going to say on that topic.