04 July 2010

Patriotism generally has a chip on its shoulder.

Patriotism, red hot, is compatible with the existence of a neglect of national interests, a dishonesty, a cold indifference to the suffering of millions. Patriotism is largely pride; and very largely combativeness. Patriotism generally has a chip on its shoulder.
-Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)

I have a very complicated relationship with the Fourth of July (independence day here in the U.S.), because I think patriotism is usually just an excuse to be a bully and a horse's ass. Patriotism is an excuse to act unjustly in the name of one's country. And that we celebrate this holiday as the beginning of liberty and freedom in this country is an insult to every former slave in the United States. And every former or current undocumented immigrant.

But, as Ryan pointed out, for most people, this holiday is about family, friends, and food. And that is something I can get behind. So have a great Fourth of July, U.S. readers! I hope it's filled with the important things.


Fin said...

i tend to identify myself as a patriot explicitly as distinguished from a nationalist. i love my country, for sure. but it's definitely not "my country, right or wrong." why am i okay with calling myself a patriot? this quote:

"they say it's unpatriotic to criticize. nonsense! a patriot is somebody who protects his country from its government." - pieter-dirk uys, a.k.a. evita bezuidenhout, south african satirist