Let me first define what I mean by SUPER-patriotic…
SUPER-Patriotic : An American citizen that believes America and its citizens’s (humans) better than every other country and their citizen’s (humans) on Earth and is willing to go to absurd lengths to prove it.
I am an American, I have been for 23+ years and I doubt that I’ll ever not be. I love America, although I’m not proud of everything She has done. I have nothing but the utmost respect for my Father’s and his Father’s generation for sacrificing everything in the World War’s, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and every instance of freedom being defended, that which all too often necessitates violence and death. I am a patriotic citizen of the USA but I’m not SUPER-patriotic. Please, allow me to defend myself and explain just what I mean.
The US has a long and complex history, but I would like to focus on the present times, or maybe the last 30-40 years. Like I said I love America. I love it for defending Freedom at all costs. I love it for giving millions of people the chance to make a better life for themselves (whether the “American Dream” is still alive, or the possibility that it exists for one race of Americans and not the other is a discussion for another time). However, I believe that being super patriotic can have some bad and sometimes deadly consequences. If we assert that America is the best country in the world, better than all the rest, then we are already standing on a very slippery slope. It is much easier to dehumanize and thus kill another person if you believe that you are better than them. In fact, I would argue that it isn’t possible to dehumanize someone, or some nation or some race if you believe, honestly, that you are equal to them. We need not go back very far to see how blacks were (and still are albeit to a lesser degree in most places) dehumanized and thus oppressed, assaulted and murdered. Take a look at the middle east. I, myself, find it hard not to look down upon a Muslim when I’m in the city even though I know that the percentage of radical Islamists is a very small, small percentage of Muslims world wide. This dehumanizing thing, saying that WE are better than THEM has been around since man walked out of the trees. It is easier to hurt others when you believe they are subhuman is what I’m trying to say. And while you can be super patriotic and be a decent person, it is dangerous to believe this, mainly because there are very few years on record that man has not been systematically killing each other. This brings me to my zeitgeist on nationalism: It is fine to have, but can be very dangerous in excess. And, now I would like to share a couple quotes by the immortal Einstein, who it turns out hated Nationalism so much he denounced his German citizenship and refused to fight in WWII.
“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
and a personal favorite:
“The worst outcrop of herd life [is] the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in fours to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; unprotected spinal marrow was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them! How vile and despicable war seems to me! I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.”
– Albert Einstein
Additionally, if you have ever read any Kurt Vonnegut you will notice he adds in many themes related to this post, Slaughterhouse-5 is one of the greatest books I have ever read.
I would like to reiterate the fact that I love America and our mixed national blood, I love the fact that for many Americans we consider our selves as One, regardless of race, religion, sex or ethnicity. And lastly, thank you to all the men women and children, (17 is a child right?) of the past, present and future who have served to keep us safe. I would also like to thank even African-American who served his or her country even at a time when their country didn’t serve them all that well. I’ll leave you with a quote that really pulls at the heart…
“And When he gets to heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell;
One more Soldier reporting, sir.
I’ve served my time in Hell”