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I honestly feel like these thoughts came out of nowhere. It was 7:30 in the morning and the last thing I saw on television was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which poked fun at Joe Biden and the recent revelation that news anchors lie and pad their war coverage resume (everyone pads their resume a little ). Maybe the idea of war and my displeasure for it (disdain is more like it ), caused me to come up with this post but either way it’s here and I’m thrilled for the first time over my low viewership. The idea of patriotism just wouldn’t leave my head and all I could think was everyone is right, and everyone is wrong.
I am an American born and raised. I’m happy to be an American with all the flaws because every country has flaws. As an American I can even bash my country furiously and still not fear jail time or death ( being black has me fearing those things ). As an American I can look to our long history of famous shit starters, rebels that weren’t happy with the status quo and decided to make a loud stink about it for change. We are one of the youngest nation out there and many more established countries are looking to us for how to move their country forward. That’s the good stuff and cause for many to feel very proud about American, but then things don’t stop there.
Patriotism is a nice little buzz word and an extremely loaded gun of a word. Americans don’t own a claim to patriotism as we like to think we own everything. But most, if not all I see from patriotism is negative. Countries for many centuries have seen fit to use patriotism to wage wars and oppress. And the idealistic view of a patriot, gives the impression it is honorable and a must have to be a good citizen. The idea of fighting for one’s country is the most honorable thing, however one has to occupy, detain, and even kill enemies thought to be a threat to their specific source of patriotism. This country and many others if not all were founded on war and killing but I should be proud because I love my country? I can’t really say that.
The history of American, and being black, doesn’t really allow me to be as patriotic as other ethnicity that don’t share in the struggle to be seen as human first and a citizen worthy of being a patriot second. Even the patriots that fought the American Revolutionary war against England weren’t completely in it for love of country, but for money and more freedom to make more money. The wars of today and yesterday were fought over money and ego, flexing that patriotism and stating for the world to see that “our country is better than yours” ( in my best school age voice ). I can’t be in love with any country with those shaky grounds as the source, but being unpatriotic seems to be worse than greed and taking a life.
The first argument and most often used when discussions of patriotism come up talks about freedom. In American, it is believed we have the most freedoms, wealth, best education, and simply we do it better. This is despite many country rankings that would suggest otherwise in terms of education, health care, and median life expectancy among others. Yes there are other countries doing it better however we are still the gold standard. The next argument tends to go to the men and women in history that have fought and died for our rights. I say I appreciate they served to protect us all. I can say I see military servicemen and servicewomen to exemplify the positive attributes of patriotism; however I am not a fan of war or taking a life so while they are serving their country admirably, the need for our country and any other country to show dominance is the source. Soon after this point is uttered comes the third argument, feelings of being unpatriotic and a need for others to suggest going to another country if the current one isn’t to our liking ( of course I’m stating it much nicer than most would ). If I go it won’t be because I love another country.
I simply don’t like the idea of patriotism as it has been used forever. Every country has patriots among them, wanting nothing but to show they are the best country, with the best and most honorable people, and a right to be number one. Every country is trying to be number one, usually showing this through acts of violence or other deceptive ways. Every country thinks they are right and every country is. I’m not naive or ignorant. I am aware of countries that are struggling and who’s people struggle. The nations around the world do their best to help impoverished countries, sometimes just because it’s decent and other times for strategic purposes. Sometimes that help is just ego, asserting who is the best country by who sends the most aid, to which I say who cares just send the aid. But the model of patriotism being taught and displayed is nothing but a model of further hate and decisiveness. Trying to be number one if anything leaves a number two and more, all holding resentment and a goal to get that number one spot at some point. I’m just not seeing the point.
There are heroes among us. They help out when no one is looking. They show humanity still has heart and soul. They are a fan of man not one country over another. The rebel who wants change for nothing more than its right is a hero. The shit starter who suggested equal pay and protests to feed his/her family and makes a change is a hero. Those willing to be on the outside, because let’s face it, change only happens when you aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, they are heroes and deserving of praise.
Be a kind. Be aware. Be compassionate. Be a Hero.