It’s Complicated

Patriotism. I’m just not feeling it like I once did.

Sure, after 9/11 there was a stretch when we flew the flag on our front porch. But I’ve moved beyond my Boy Scout days and a hook, line, and sinker buy-in of how great this country is supposed to be. Don’t try to sell me on blind, unquestioning allegiance. Especially to a flag or an old drinking song.

The world’s last, best hope. The New Jerusalem. American exceptionalism. Is it really that difficult to imagine how such arrogance hits the ears of people in other countries? Or the ones relegated to reservations who were the first to call this land home?

We talk big, we call ourselves the greatest nation on earth, as if it’s never about anything more than bragging rights. Such a self-assessment sounds like something a teenager or a WWF wrestler would say. When I hear our leaders say such things, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.

America is, and perhaps always will be, a work in progress. In some ways, it’s still an impulsive teenager seeking approval, searching for its identity amidst nations that have been around a lot longer than we have.

We’ve come a long way quickly, made our mark. But there are still growing pains. It’s not like there’s nothing left for us to learn.

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