Let me start by saying that I've never particularly admired patriotism or flag-waving.
I blame religious/national/racial patriotism for all the wars & misery that ever existed in the history of humanity. I think of it simply as an extension of basic human selfishness & nepotism. Am greedy & prejudiced in favor of myself so by extension am greedy & prejudiced in favor of people who are like me in race/belief/geography/culture etc...And this kind of loyalty doesn't seem to me to be as noble & admirable as all the national anthems & war poems say. What I respect is loyalty to principle, a sense of what is just, a code of ethics, doing unto others as you would be done by.
Call me a hippie. I believe in the universal brotherhood of Man & human rights & in world peace. I believe we live on the same planet, we have the same needs & what we need to concentrate on is how to make the best of its resources in the manner that best benefits us all - not to annihilate it & destory ourselves in the eternal quest to grab as much power & resources & glory for our various clans/tribes/sects.Essentially we are destorying the species & the environment while happily waving our flags & singing our stirring patriotic songs.I'm sorry I see nothing noble or brave about that. It's just sad & futile & tragic.
When someone says they are proud of their country I always wonder what they mean?What is there to be proud about?You were born in that country or culture. It's not like you had any choice.Pride should be in something you worked for & achieved yourself.
Finally, I do wish that I could get rid of this tendency to feel ashamed & embarrassed when people from my country misbehave. I consider this a great weakness & I don't know why it happens.
First of all, I come from a very mixed cultural & religious background. Both my parents are half-caste which gives me roots in 4 different countries. Now it's a GREAT burden to have to feel embarrassed on behalf of that many cultural groups. It means you are practically never free of shame. One would have expected that this background would have freed me instead of restricting me more.
Also I have never actually lived in any of these 4 countries. I grew up in UAE which is a very cosmopolitan country. I had friends, neighbors etc...from all over the world. In my family we don't even care about nationality or religion when it comes to marriage so I have in-laws & relatives from all over the place.
So again why I do I have to apologize on behalf of people in places I've only ever visited as a tourist?
The worst part is when they do something good I don't feel particularly proud. I don't feel the connection. So patriotism - a sentiment I have never respected - HAS rubbed off on me against my will. And it managed to do so only in the negative sense.
I MUST work harder to rise above this.