I’ve been seeing a lot of “’Merka! Love it or Leave it!” bullshit around of late. As a veteran I find that attitude offensive at the least, utterly UN-American at the worst.
To start with, you don’t just abandon things you love. You try to save them. And that means saying something when you think the nation is wrong. Sometimes that means sitting for the national anthem, sometimes that means standing up to British soldiers. But what it always means is doing what you think is right to correct those behaviors that you see as wrong. Love is NOT blind devotion.
To that end, love cannot be forced. Period. Does that need to be explained? Really? One example is, for instance, Best Korea and their official “love” of the Kims. A totalitarian state that forces people to revere their leaders, who are the embodiment of their nation. Do we really want to be like Best Korea? Forcibly brainwashed to see things through the eyes of the dictator who runs your life? I don’t think so.
I always wonder how the “love it or leave it” people raise their kids. Their position is that if you love something, you can never criticize its actions. Do these people just let their spawn get away with every bad act? Because in my mind, that’s not love. At best it’s indifference, at worst, it’s hate. I can tell you from personal experience how that turns out. I had a father who loved me, and corrected my bad behavior. Thus I am a successful human being. My mother’s other two sons did not have a father or mother who corrected their bad behavior – one is in prison for thirty years, the other is awaiting trail and may face a life sentence.
Ya know I get that some of our problems are long standing, and embarrassing – this country has been a racist nation since before its founding, with the first slaves delivered to Jamestown in 1609 – and the amount of hypocrisy surrounding that racism is astounding to me – claims that it no longer exists by certain right wing pundits are just ludicrous on their face – and I’m talking bigfoot and flat Earth level ludicrous.
To say that we’re not nationalistic would be untrue as well, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. We have a presidential candidate that is running on fear, ignorance, and hate – on a nationalistic agenda that feeds the very type of person who we should be ostracizing from society – Skinheads, Nazis, the KKK – these people do not have AMERICAN Ideals. How the hell did that happen? Well it happens because there is a large portion of the population who still wants to treat people with superficial differences as lesser people – or not people at all. But “Love it or Leave it!” is merely an attempt to deflect recognition of our problems with rah-rah patriotism, which is hardly TRUE patriotism.
The best thing about America is the fact that Americans can change America. What we should be saying is; “America, love it, and make it better for everyone!”