“I just don’t really believe in patriotism.”
I read this phrase when discussing the World Cup today. I was told by my nephew that nationalism is stupid – and honestly, he’s not wrong…But he’s also not right. Nationalism can be a tool used for horrors best described by examples of Nazism, and other horrors, but it can be a wrecking ball for good. Without nationalism, many of our proudest moments as humans would never have happened. Landing on the Moon? Nope. Defeating the Nazis and liberating their death camps? Kiss that goodbye. Creating the internet? Don’t think so.
So why fight against it? Because you’re rebelling for some lost ideology that you’ll change in six weeks? Your philosophy teacher said so? Nationalism creates pride and when pride comes into place, fantastic things can and will happen. I promise you. When you take pride in something, let’s say your car – you take care of your car. You clean it, wax it, keep it well oiled and maintained but if you don’t? It falls apart. When you take pride and assurance in your home, because that’s where you live you maintain the walls, the fixtures, the doors, the floors, you make sure she’s ship-shape and without that? Your home turns into a slum. The people of Detroit lost pride in their home and look at it now – so what happens if we create a generation of anti-nationalist Americans? Widespread decay and apathy?
And we wonder why some generations hate us. We’re a fantastic generation, and I believe in us but sometimes our entitlement and apathy really piss me off. It’s not like generations of people fought for freedoms so that you can live in a suburb or anything. The lack of understanding, and the displacement of tradition and honoring where we’ve come from is what’s causing this and I can promise you, it’ll bite us in the ass.
Take pride in your job. Whatever you’re doing, do that and work to be the best at that. If you don’t like what you’re doing with your life? Change it. There’s still time to change the road you’re on. Take pride in your home, fix it up, repaint it. Don’t abandon ship just because the floorboards are creaky. Take pride in your family, trust me – you only get one so treat them well and it’ll pay off in due time. Be proud of your country, she’s all we’ve got and yeah, times are tough ladies and gentleman. I know that, but things will get better. Things are always grim before they get better and good things are coming, I promise you. Countless forerunners have given us opportunities to be where we’re at – and yes, some have squandered it, but the gift is still there.
Take pride in who you are, what you are – no matter what. You’re a human being, you’re an Australian, a Cambodian, an American. You’re black, you’re white. You’re straight, you’re gay. You’re a woman. Take pride in that, and wear it like armor and never let go of it. Wear your flag like a badge, flash it out and take a stand on that. Be proud, you’re a wonderful creature.
Millions of years of evolution, hundreds of years of fighting and squabbling have lead us to this point – don’t abandon yourself or your fellows. This ship is still strong. #GoTeamYou #USA #IBelieve