Nationalism is one of those feelings that varies among people, however to assume that Gringos are immune to its impact is to believe Gringos are superior to the rest of humanity, and its also to ignore what has happened in the last 6 years.
Once, not too long ago, an expression of overt nationalism, Flag, language, Us vs.Them etc. was seen as a mark of unsophistication, little education, red neck culture and blue collers, basically Italians and Irish whites.
Nationalistic expression was also identified with the Right wing groups like Aryan nations, survivalists, Pitiyanki Statehooders like Faraon, and like you said, Die hard veterans and armed forces personnel.
However 9-11 changed all of that! Nationalism was reborn. A Us vs. Them mentality resurfaced with the terrorist attacks of that day.
Before 9-11 nationalism was a feeling that wasn't acknowleged by middle class America, although it was always in the their unconscious. To have any overt manifestations of nationalism was once seen as lower class.
All has changed. Today people aren't ashamed to manifest it anymore. It was seen in the recent debate against immigrants, in the perception that Hispanics don't want to assimilate, in the debate on the war with Iraq, etc. You notice it when Republcan candidates are debating on TV. Democrats aren't left out either. Now Barak Obama is gung ho for the war. There is a nationalistic nuance in all the debates, America must be strong! The United States is with a Fortress America mind set. If this doesnt reveal nationalism, then one is blind.
Why should Puerto Ricans be concerned with American Nationalism?
Puerto Ricans have always been sold the notion that Gringos are not nationalists. Proof was that immigrants came to America and maintained their culture and langauge. In fact, America was a "special nation", a nation composed by nations. Puerto Ricans have always been sold that we could fit in this "nation of nations." We could maintain our language, culture and be Hispanic at the same time, one big happy family. After all Hawaiians did it, why not we!
However the fuel that gave us this erroneous perception, MULTICULTURALISM, came to an end about 1990. 9-11 drove the last nail in its coffin.
9-11, brought back the symbols of nationalism full blast. One Language of union, One flag, reliance on the individual, not on government for hand outs, a pride in anglo-saxon institutions, not on any others, etc, etc. All of these are in contradiction with Puerto Ricans statehood.
Puerto Ricans want to enter the union as a Hispanic state, two laguages and the bonus to top it all...............
"More political power than 27 anglo-speaking states! "
If I were they I would be very concerned.
Overt Gringo nationlism has made a come back, something most Puerto Ricans fear will screw up their chances of being taken care of for eternity.