It’s very easy to allow one’s self to be caught up in the frenzied sea of what seems at the time to be a positive outlook. Brightly-colored flags waving around, everyone seemingly unified with their kin and countrymen, out of a love for the little piece of geography they all occupy. This is particularly true here in the US, where everyone seems that much prouder of the rock they live on, all convinced that this is the greatest country on earth.
That is a horrible thought. This is the country of people who ousted natives from their homeland, enslaved others in the name of their own freedom, massacred entire tribes, allowed their fear and paranoia to burn innocent men and women at the stake, and years later imprison their own countrymen for fear of race. This is the same country who’s government has been involved in child-sex scandals, later covered up by their own bureaus of investigation. This is the country who’s elected officials lie and swindle its own people, and try to keep information quieted in blatant attempts to police so-called “free speech.”
And we’re supposed to be the greatest country on Earth? Forgive me for weeping at the thought! For the most part, those who disagree with me will point to our alleged freedoms as the basis of their argument. Peaceful protesters are gunned down in the street, pepper sprayed, the homeless and mentally ill beaten to death by the police officers our tax dollars pay to protect us, journalists are arrested for reporting the truth, and you expect me to believe that we’re free? On suspicion of terrorist activities alone, suspicion mind you, it is now legal for you to be indefinitely detained at Guantanamo Bay, where still today water-boarding and other such torture practices are implemented for the sake of security. That’s not freedom, that’s docile tyranny.
Here lurks the symptoms of that disease called nationalism, the blindness, the inability to criticize the behaviors and practices of the society and politics of one’s homeland. It causes you to turn a blind eye to the horrors that are occurring all around you, and we are not united in improving ourselves, but in a senseless, raving cheer. We support our wars without even knowing the real horrors of battle, watching blindly helpless from the sidelines, always afraid of an enemy from the outside, and never once suspecting the enemy within.
When we should be uniting as people, as humans, with love that extends beyond the borders of our nations, we place ourselves into boxes, into unnecessary and harmful “us vs. them” mentality. The cost of this is our own humanity, when we willingly shed tears for a stranger of our own race, but never once for the Middle-Eastern child gunned down by one of our own Military Drones. Does the geography of another’s birthplace determine the worth of a life? The color of their skin?
We believe that to be united we must love our country at all costs, and that any form of criticism is harmful, deadly. This is not free-thinking. This is the thinking of dictatorships, of oppression. Criticism is what this country was founded upon, of a group of people seceding from their masters, forming their own opinions and criticisms and wanting a place where those criticisms could flourish, that we might all move forwards, forging a path ahead into a day and age in which everyone could decide their own future, free from governmental intervention. It was founded upon the ideals of dissent, not blind, unanimous agreement. How quickly we forget that rebellion is the path that forges us towards the future. It is only through rebellion that positive change is made.
Nationalism is the enemy of rebellion. It is the enemy of progress, of free-thought. Don’t be afraid to criticize your country, or your government. Do so openly and freely, and as often as you can. It does not mean that you hate your country, or that you are ignorant of the sacrifices that have been made by others before you, but rather that you are honoring those sacrifices by using those rights, the rights that every man, woman, and child upon this earth deserves. You are forming your own thoughts, your own opinions, and voicing them the way you were meant to, freely.
A government cannot give you, your rights. You already have them. They are your rights as a human being. The business of government is to see that those rights are enforced, and any government that views those rights as privileges that can be taken away, must be overthrown and then rebuilt with a new system of checks and balances, that human progress may continue.