Recently I started reading Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness.” Such a good book, and I don’t typically enjoy reading scifi!
No spoiler in this post. One of the subplots has to do with how 2 rival countries are dealing with the potential for massive political change. Paradigm-shifting political change. And a couple characters have this conversation about it what patriotism is, since the character contends only 1 country understands patriotism.
“How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession... Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope...
...No, I don’t mean love, when I say patriotism. I mean fear. The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression.”
What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing.
Independence Day always bothers me in a way Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day doesn’t. Sure, I am glad we aren’t a British Colony any longer. But the jingoism and ideology used now where if you aren’t overtly “patriotic” you are a bad American, not a real American, etc really chaps my ass and is a dangerous thing.
My dad got pissypants with me yesterday because I don’t have any tshirts with the US flag on them. Or shirts that say America or Let Freedom Ring etc etc.
I refuse blind obedience. To anything or anyone.