Patriotism. It used to be a thing of pride. A good thing to have.
So why, just days after my country celebrated its independence–arguably the most patriotic day of the year–am I terrified when I see someone sporting our flag with pride?
Perhaps my perception of patriotism has changed since good ol’ Orange-Face was in office. I mean, during his tenure the people most proud of my country were the ones who supported that idjit, who threw themselves blindly at his ignorance and intolerance. Those people waved the flag with pride. They wore flag hats and shirts and plastered their cars and trucks with flag stickers. Now, to me at least, flag = hate. No longer is “patriot” associated with “mom” or “soldier” or “veteran.” Now, I associate “patriot” with “bigot” and “racist” and “hateful, spiteful person.” Weird, right?
I bet the people who stormed the Capitol earlier this year thought they were patriots. I bet those people sporting MAGA hats and Trumper bumpers think they’re patriots. Me? I’m kind of an anti-patriot now.
And I’m kind of mortified to be an American.
Now, I’m not planning on leaving the good ol’ U.S. I’m not jumping a plane to Europe or Canada or somewhere to escape the fear I feel. I’ll deal with it. But am I a patriot? Hell no.
How did it get so bad? It’s like living in a twisted dystopia, only it’s real. I can blame Orange-Face all I want, but he’s only a symbol, a rallying point. There had to be supporters for him to get elected, to have the pull he did. There had to be supporters for a whole slew of people to take guns to our capitol and be assholes. The thing that sickens me, that sets my nerves on end and raises my hackles, is that there are people out there, THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, who ACTUALLY THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO VOTE FOR HIM. There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS who said “You know what? Let’s vote for regression. Let’s vote for sadism and bigotry and elitism.” Millions, even. People who voted not once, but TWICE for that symbol, that rallying point.
I thank the Gods that the twice-voted didn’t get their way this last election.
Now, you might be a “patriot.” You might be offended at reading this. If you are, then you’re following the wrong blog. My books aren’t for you, and my viewpoints certainly are not for you. Go off to your NRA meeting and, I don’t know, espouse your privilege to someone who cares.
Am I privileged? To an extent, yeah, I am. I’m a white woman. I don’t know what it’s like to be marginalized to the extent that most minorities are. I have that small bit of privilege that my skin tone gives me. Does it mean I support those in power who want to rise above everyone “else” because of that privilege? Nope. I’m for the little guy. The underdog. The minorities. Those are my people. If that, combined with my disgust in how the “patriots” in my country have been acting in recent years, negates my privilege in some way, then so be it. I don’t need to be privileged. I don’t need to be better than anyone else. I’m cool with not being part of the “in” crowd.
Nope, I’m no patriot. If I ever was one to begin with, which I’m not sure I was, I sure as hell am not now.
As per usual, my post has gone sideways in that I’ve begun to ramble and repeat myself. I think that means I’m done for now.
I’m sure thing will eventually get better. I’ll find pride in my country … someday. For now, though, I’ll sit in the back of the class and daydream of days when we can all see a flag and not flinch at the ingrained implications.