I meant to write this yesterday, but was busy having an optimismectomy and am just now recovering enough to nostalgiacise.
I have never been patriotic. One of the things about being in Boy Scouts which annoyed me was their rampant American flag-waving, especially i the light of the fact that the organization's founding was as American as the Tower of London.
The junior high I went to banned books by Communist authors. They were sued, and did not lose the case until it went to the US Supreme Court. Today's court would have voted the other way, I think. Anyway, not something to be proud of America about.
In college I protested the Vietnam War, helped occupy the campus radio station (which was the town's PBS station) and turn it into a 24 hour news station reporting on the protests, which the main media had blacked out.
When Nixon was re-elected despite plenty of pre-election publicity about Watergate, I applied for a VISTA job in Alaska to get as far away from mainstream American politics as possible. I was completely disgusted. VISTA did not get my application, the Peace Corps hijacked it, and 18 months later offered me a volunteer slot as an A/V technologist/photographer in Thailand, which I accepted. That was March 1975, and America was still a mess, but at least the US involvement in the war was over, VP Spiro Agnew and Nixon had both resigned in disgrace and Ford was treading water in the White House.
My second year in Thailand was on a Southern Thai research campus in a rubber tree plantation. I was the only American there. The posting took me all over the south, mostly to provincial fairs and ag research stations. I was almost fluent in Thai, and most of my friends were Thai.
Another volunteer from my group had transferred to the nearby college, fell in love with his boss, and they invited me to their wedding at the American consulate in Songkhla, the provincial capitol. I took a bus there, the stop was on the other side of a rise. As I walked up over the rise and saw the huge American flag flying over the consulate, it made me feel good. Almost like I was coming home.