I’ve never quite understood why people feel so much loyalty to a country just because they were born there.
This might be a paraphrase of something I read a few years ago, but when I first read a statement like that, it startled me. At first, I thought that the person who wrote that was being “edgy,” but years later, I realize that that person had a point.
How Do I Feel About Patriotism?
I’m going to be real here. Even though it’s Independence Day in the United States and I’m an American, I don’t feel too patriotic today — nor have I really felt all that patriotic. Of course, I care about the wellbeing of the nation and, more importantly, many people in it, but that’s it. I’ve just never felt a strong attachment to my home country beyond it being my place of birth, the people I know in it, the language, and the legalities.
I never felt like saying that the United States was the best country in the world because there are many problems with this country. And it’s okay to say that. It doesn’t make me un-American. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Why Do I Criticize America?
Much like I would criticize even stories, characters, or real people I love, I criticize my own country because I care. And I care because many of the promises and trite sayings never really apply to everyone. I should know this as a black, non-wealthy person. That might anger some people, but they should ask themselves why that is.
What makes America great to someone and can they put it in their own words?
What does it mean to be an American to them?
Why does my criticism of America offend some people? Do they benefit from the way the government is run or from the country’s economic system in any way? Do they benefit from inequality?
If the answer to the last question is yes, that speaks for itself. Often, I find that people punch down and go after those who criticize things because those people are either afraid to question authority or they benefit from inequality. I can understand where the first group is coming from, but they piss me off because they’re still punching down. I detest the second group for reasons that should be apparent.
Why Is This Blog America-Centric?
So, why do I write so much about American history and current events (when I get to it)? There are a few good reasons:
- Again, this is my country of birth and I live here.
- Whatever happens in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento (in my home state, California) will ultimately affect me and others. And even if I didn’t live here, or I was a non-citizen in another country, the United States’ place in the world means that the country will have an effect on me still.
- I love doing research, so looking into my country’s history is fulfilling. It also allows me to gain perspective into the present.
What Is My Point?
Let me put it bluntly: There are many people who don’t have the luxury or the freedom of traveling to, much less living in, other countries than the ones they are born in. Thus, it makes sense for those who live here to do what they can to make the country a better place for themselves, others who live there, and for future generations. That is patriotic, but more importantly, humane.
So, when someone takes exception to your criticism of your country — whether you share the same home country — you should question it and call it out for what it is.