michelle obama spoke hers, (last spring, suggesting she was once again proud of her country for the first time in her adult life), and immediately there were wide and vociferous calls for her husband's candidacy to be sunk because of it. (yet, when you do the math, her adult life essentially began at the close of the reagan administration, and if i understand the right-wing punditry clearly enough, that's not such a rare or unreasonable point of view).
so over the weekend i had the displeasure to read some extremely blunt and petty comments to the editor of the local paper to the effect that these readers were no longer proud to be americans owing to the results of the recent election.
first point: both natalie and michelle made very clear mention of their pride related to the actions of their country, not the essence of their nationality, and there's a huge distinction to be made about that. (or, put another way, i'm not proud of the unnecessary roughness penalty that essentially cost my patriots a win over indiannapolis the other day, but i'm damn proud to be a pats fan even so).
second point: both natalie and michelle didn't say anything that their detractors don't also believe. (as mentioned above, 4 out of 5 voters disapproved of bush by the time this past election rolled around, including copious quantities of republicans, and a lot of these republicans are also very outspoken about their nostalgia for the reagan era, when they recall things used to be good for the party and the country).
the lesson would appear to be to take care in characterizing ones patriotism. never say "ashamed". always choose comparatives like "more", as in , "i've never been more proud". and always, always, always, respect john mccain's better example: "my president". but i still go back to every quote i've ever read that reaffirms the truth that opposition to ones government is very often the very essence of patriotism.
i'm proud we can all disagree.