I am not a patriot.
How can I take pride in my country right now? Money talks loudest in politics. Progressive changes are viewed as unrealistic and slow to come by. Citizens are addicted to a reckless excessive consumer economy. One of the major political parties vows regression and is blind to their hypocrisy. Racism lives on. Public education is subpar. The list keeps going and growing.
Do not get me wrong as many would. I know I’m lucky, and for that I am grateful. I still live in a place where there is freedom to speak one’s mind. I still get to participate by voting. I live in a country where my middle class life is one of luxury on a worldwide scale. I have access to quality medical care, treatment, and education. I had a life largely absent of strife that corrupts the mind.
But this doesn’t deserve patriotism. It was a fluke. I was born white into a upper-middle class family, I had (and have) an unfair edge. Even the luxuries listed above are not experienced by all in this nation.
I know that others suffer, and largely because of the lifestyles my country has adopted as our “right” or that we have “earned.” The United States became great at the cost of others. A cost we cannot justify or claim as earned. Our history is tainted with plenty injustices we sweep under the rug. We did great things and became a leader to the world, but only for the few born in the right place at the right time. Squelch the rest.
It is time to recognize that we need to change in the United States, and not just for our nation, but for the world. We are Americans by default, a lottery birth in arbitrary borders. We are also human, and if we fail to develop sympathy for all people of all nations, we fail to live up to our own rhetoric. It’s time to stop looking after ourselves, and start thinking about how we can serve others.
We need to lead by action, not by delusional chanting without regard to reason. The cries of many, if not most, self-proclaimed patriots are far from the American proclamations of freedom and liberty. How else can we explain Trump’s nomination?
Patriotism is earned, should never be static, and should never interfere with the progression to a better world, and life, for all.