The “patriots”

When watching how the US is handling healthcare reform, I can’t help but feel disconnected from so many Americans who seem to want to sabotage any move to reform a broken, cruel system. I also can’t relate to the claims that such sabotage is “patriotic” while these people ignore wellbeing of fellow citizens.

But I think patriotism is a deeply selfish thing. Where we come from is basically a part of our identity. When we show excessive pride in our country of origin, it’s a vain, egotistical sort of thing. Sort of like banging on too much about your hair or your bank account and a bit vulgur. Don’t get me wrong, I know how lucky I am to be born where I was, in a representative democracy, and during a time of relative privilege. But I can’t blindly crawl into the flag whenever something happens that I don’t like, when someone expresses an opinion that scares me.

But then again, you won’t hear me spout off about the accomplishments of previous generations as if they were my own. That’s a weird habit, isn’t it? And not just one that Americans engage in. Imagine the pride, though, that countless generations could claim through that tendency to inherit the good works (but rarely the bad) of previous generations if we worked out a real solution to healthcare, and not just act like idiots tossing teabags and claiming that the swine flu vaccine is a secret government plot. This sort of stuff causes the opposite of patriotism in me. It is embarrassing.


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October 2009
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