The unfortunate thing about American nationalism is that it is short-lived. Americans tend to display a brand of patriotism, which is sort of the younger brother of nationalism. After September 11, 2001 and the travesties that befell our country on that day, patriotism was seen in wide display through the sudden increase in flags being flown outside of citizens’ homes, and a new invigoration to stand up and state the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, less than 8 years later, the genuine love felt on September 12 for every other red-blooded American has vanished and that “me-first” attitude has resurfaced.
Recently Anheuser-Busch was bought out by the Belgian company In-Bev. Many Americans, including my friends and me, were outraged that an American staple such as Budweiser beer could give up its heritage and sell the rights to a foreign company. But according to Matt Simpson of Emory University most Americans will forget about the selling of the company as long as the price and taste of Budweiser remain the same (CNN, 7/14/08). So Americans are not too concerned with maintaining national symbols as long as they are not affected personally in the long run.
President Obama can be thought of as a very nationalistic president, because he has the ability to speak broadly to people of many walks of life and rally people to his cause (HNN, 1/21/09). Whether he uses the huge support he gathered from his campaign to move the people towards a better America remains to be seen. He has thus far managed to establish a power base among the Democratic Party, while somewhat distancing himself from the Republicans. The strong support of the Democrat-controlled Congress does give him an advantage in moving forward with nationalist policies.
Nationalist movements like the Ku Klux Klan are finding a renewed invigoration after the election of Barack Obama as president. There is a growing fear that due to the economic depression and Obama’s presidency hate groups will see a resurgence (Chicago Tribune, 1/22/09). This may not come to pass though, as many Americans do not possess the hardcore fanaticism required to start a violent uprising. Passion is one quality that Americans seem to have lost since we fought to declare independence from the British.
CNN.com “Foreign-owned Bud a wound to Americana” by Brad Lennon and Mallory Simon. July 14, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/14/busch.reax/index.html?iref=newssearch
HNN.us “President Obama the Liberal Nationalist” by Gil Troy. January 21, 2009. http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/60253.html
Chicago Tribune “Obama inauguration a recruiting tool for hate groups” by Rex Huppke. January 22, 2009. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-obama-hate-groups,0,5420040.story