I am so frustrated lately by this pseudo-patriotism that serves merely as a whitewash to cover a deep and growing arrogance.
Let me explain myself.
As I’ve grown up I’ve been somewhat infatuated with my country and the values that it was founded upon. Freedom. Freedom from oppression. Freedom of speech. Freedom to criticize. Freedom to protest. Freedom to choose your own governmental representatives. Opportunity. Opportunity to work. Opportunity to serve. Opportunity to protect our liberties. For those values I have been, I am, and I always will be willing to lay down my life. Those are values I hold dear. They are blessings and should be viewed as such.
Yet as time has passed America has become infatuated not with the truths she was founded on, but infatuated with herself. A deep arrogance has begun to blossom. We are a conceited people, who demand vengence for the wrongs done to us not so much because they were horrible deeds, but because they were done to us, Great and Mighty America. Who art thou to challenge our greatness? Who are you to pick on us? We have become the self-concious bully on the playground, seeking to get revenge for the sand thrown in our eyes. I do not consider the events of Septemer 11, 2001 as insignificant. Thousands were murdered that day, and I consider that the most abhorrent of evils. I cannot articulate the sorrow and anger that wells up inside of me in response to the horrors committed. Yet also I find that I am deeply incensed at this conceit that wells up out of the general population. It is as if with one voice all are crying out, “How can you harm us!? As Americans we have a right not to be attacked! How dare you hurt might America!?” But who is standing and declaring the injustice that was done, and in turn crying out not for vengence, but for justice? On the surface it may seem insignificant. In either case, in fact, the response may be the same. But the underlying attutudes and motivations deviate wholly from that which this nation was established on. For when we seek not justice but vengence, we are becoming like the very evildoers who delivered that vile evil against us. Do we seek revenge or justice? An eye for an eye or the rod of discipline? Our we motivated by hatred or righteous anger? Are we filled with integrity or a blood lust?
If patriotism now means that I must declare my own existence more important that the existence of someone else on this earth, then I shall have no part in it. But if I can be part of a patriotism that declares that all men truly are created equal, that justice must be upheld, that freedom and libery are great blessings to be held onto with joy, that these blessings are only considered “rights” when those who are given them are blessed with a government who acknowledges these truths, and that we have no place to be arrogant because we ourselves are but stewards of these great values, then show me the way, for I will spill my blood first to defend this form of patriotism – a patriotism upon which that “Great America” was built.