Filosofa Rambles …

Something has been weighing on my mind of late.  Well, many things have been weighing so heavily that I lie awake most nights, but there is one thing in particular that I feel a need to expound on.  I’m not even sure what to call it or where to begin, so I’ll just let my thoughts ramble for a bit if that’s alright with you.

Lately I hear a lot of talk about ‘patriotism’ and ‘loyalty’, but it seems to me that the definitions of those words defy my own set of values.  I no longer consider myself a citizen of any one country, but rather a citizen of the world.  I don’t only care for the people of the United States, but for people all over the world.  My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine who are being killed, left homeless, and driven out of their homes, their country, by the cruel and evil dictator of Russia.  The Ukrainians matter.  They matter as much as the Americans.

Within the United States, it’s a damn shame that we have to be reminded that Black Lives Matter, but we do need reminding … every day.  When a man enters a grocery store intent on killing only Black people, what does that say about our society?

Patriotism is defined as “the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.”  I am finding it harder than ever these days to feel either devotion or vigorous support for this nation … a nation where some 30% of people fought against simple protections such as wearing a mask in public venues and being vaccinated against the deadliest disease we have experienced in a century.  How can I ‘vigorously support’ a nation where lawmakers do not care one whit about our lives or the lives of our children, steadfastly refusing to even consider giving up their donations from the gun industry in order to pass laws that would ultimately prevent such incidents as Buffalo and Uvalde last month?  And how can I feel patriotism to a nation where people no longer care about others, where people claim to be a part of a ‘tribe’ that excludes most people?

We finally have a president who is trying to do the right thing, but finding the roads blocked by Congress at every turn and not given a fair trial in even the most mainstream of the media.  Most of the states in this nation are doing everything in their power to prevent children from learning our real history, the facts that have made us who we are.  Most of the states are also doing everything in their power to make it harder for young people, poor people, and people of colour to vote, because those are the very people whose votes would likely remove the greedy, arrogant politicians from state and federal government.

Once upon a time, our world was very limited, very small, and the only things that we thought mattered were the ones in our own backyard.  Today, that has all changed.  Once upon a time, it would take you weeks to travel to foreign lands, today it takes mere hours.  Once upon a time, simply sending a letter to a relative on the other side of the country took weeks if it got there at all, now it takes 2-3 days, or better yet, now you can email friends and relatives anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.  The world has changed, but many people in the U.S. want it to stay the same as it was 250 years ago when the U.S. was largely isolated, when women were slaves to their menfolk and Blacks were slaves to wealthy, arrogant plantation owners.  That isn’t the world we live in today!  Today we have so many advantages, but people don’t wish to accept the responsibilities that accompany those advantages.

I keep hearing the phrase “America First”.  Bullshit!  The United States is one of 195 countries on the globe.  We have approximately 4% of the world’s population.  Think about that, my friends … 4%.  Why should the people of the U.S. think they are the leaders of the world?  They aren’t … we aren’t!  We are just another group of people sharing a plot of land that is less than 2% of the world’s land mass.  That’s right … the U.S. is approximately 3,677,649 square miles, which is 1.867% of the total land mass on the planet.  And yet, Americans think they are better than Mexicans, Columbians, or people from virtually any nation, especially those that are not European.  Arrogance!

This is now a global world, and we are but one small piece of it.  There is no room for “America First” or for the egos that accompany such a notion.  Patriotism?  Pah!  Yes, of course people want to ‘belong’ and I don’t deny that, but when belonging means denigrating or dehumanizing others, then it is dead wrong.  People who don’t care about Ukrainians and all they are going through, or who are only thankful it wasn’t their child shot in Uvalde last week without a care for the families of the 19 children and two teachers who were shot … those people are self-focused, arrogant in their own way.  Those who would put their ‘right’ to go without a mask, to refuse the vaccine, to insist on their ‘right’ to own and carry a gun … I have no use for such people.  Those who care not about the damning effects of wasting fuel driving to the end of the street or keeping their homes at just the perfect temperature, who fly to wherever for a fun vacation without a care for the damage that plane is doing to the planet, I also have no use for.

Every nation, just like every human, is special in its own way, with strengths and weaknesses, good and bad.  The U.S. is just one nation and we, too, are a mixture of good and bad, but we are not any more special than the people of Uganda or Haiti … we are all just people, most of us trying our best to figure out how to survive and how to be the best we can be, to help leave the world just a little better than we found it.  Let’s worry less about nationalism, patriotism, and the rest of the -isms and just try to care about everyone, to do small things when we can, and support bigger things when we see the opportunity.  Let’s forget about being ‘Americans’ and be citizens of the world.

31 thoughts on “Filosofa Rambles …

  1. Hello Jill. As Beau of the Fifth Column says ” On the other side of the border do not live a lessor people”. I notice that while some in the US rail against our southern border, some people in Canada rail about the people who live across their southern border. On patriotism I always felt it was loving your country enough to admit it has faults or did wrong and working to fix them, making the country better for everyone. To me that is a true patriot, because it is working to help everyone, not just yourself. I feel that rights come with responsibilities and a large part of those responsibilities are to those around you. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • You hit the nail on the head when you said that rights come with responsibilities. But when half the people in this country refuse to consider anyone’s rights but their own, it’s a recipe for disaster — the disaster we’re seeing all around us today. Sigh. Yes, Beau is right … the people on the other side of the border are EVERY BIT as good as we are, some are better. And that can be said of every nation on earth. Arrogance … it sickens and disgusts me. Sigh. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quotes to support your excellent post Jill:
    From Robert Walpole (what you might call Britain’s First Prime Minister)
    Very apt as well……………..
    “Patriots! I could raise fifty of them within four and twenty hours. I have raised many of them in one night. ’Tis but to refuse an unreasonable demand, and up springs a patriot.” –
    “The very idea of true patriotism is lost, and the term has been prostituted to the very worst of purposes. A patriot, sir! Why, patriots spring up like mushrooms!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You hit all my button points here Jill. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻I have good friends and family who would not understand why I have never liked flag waving. It is just another form of separatism, like religion, organized competitive sports, social clubs, fashion, beauty contests, clothing logos and on and on and on. Most Americans can’t fathom that as dedicated as they are to their beliefs, there is an entire world with other countries who have citizens that love and believe in their countries as well. When I saw the latest ‘up and coming’ young (oblivious) female politician state on a far right news outlet that she would be totally supportive in outlawing BIRTH CONTROL entirely, I had to scrape my jaw off the floor. I recently saw a flippant remark on a political post on IG. The young adult said something to the effect of ‘We need to stop electing old people who can hardly walk and talk straight’. Can I tell you how many typos and grammatical misuse I find daily on these venues? I always thought the point of electing older candidates was for their experience in politics and understanding of world governments.. educated people who were well versed in the laws of America. That delusion was shot down for me, first with GW Bush, and then slashed into bits when they put ‘the former guy’ into office. I say ‘they’ because he was not legitimately elected by the popular vote. And he screams ‘voter fraud’. He who is guilty points the finger and cries the loudest. I’ve never heard more inane dribble than what is spewing from the far right about guns, schools and more conspiracy theories every day. They don’t want the 50’s back. They want the Wild, Wild West. But they forget that vigilante justice will inevitably circle back around. So stupid. All the automatic weapons in the country won’t stop the tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding they are staring at by turning a blind eye to Climate Crisis. 😡😩

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so right, my friend. Most Americans have been told from birth on that this is the “greatest country on earth” and they come of age believing that. It takes a few doses of reality before they begin to question that premise, and some simply don’t ever question.

      As for electing older people … I have mixed feelings. Take Chuck Grassley, for example, who is 88 years old and has served in Congress since 1975. Comes a time when things begin to break down and in my book, it’s past time for him to go. Or Mitch McConnell who is 80 and has served in the Senate since 1985 … again, long enough. There is something to be said for experience and knowledge, but 80 is too old, and frankly we need some new blood, though not the sort offered by Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Madison Cawthorn! Look at Obama … he was younger and brought both knowledge and new ideas to the table.

      You’re so right, though, my friend … we have problems in this nation that cannot, will not be solved until we place people in office who have a conscience, who understand the job they are placed in office to do, and who are NOT going to be swayed by donors such as the gun industry or the fossil fuel industries. Sigh. I hope that by November people have opened their eyes to the brutish arseholes in the GOP and do the right thing, for once.


  4. Jill, good post. I like to keep it simple. Holding up as a paragon someone who actively was involved in a traitorous act against the United States is not being a patriot. Holding up as a paragon someone who has thrown gasoline on a fire of civil unrest because he is not man enough to say he lost an election is not being a patriot. Telling people that neither of the above is true or are hoaxes so that this person can sway more votes is not being a patriot.

    As an independent and former member of both parties, I do not want people in office that have done any of the above three things. Sadly, we have too many of them who have been elected. Quite simply, I believe the former US president needs to be brought to trial for his alleged acts of sedition along with other elected officials in Congress who played a role.

    I am by far from being perfect, but the stance I just reiterated in the second paragraph makes me closer to being a patriot than those who stand accused (and some who have already pled guilty or been found such). Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • And you know I fully agree with you, my friend. And nothing that person has done since leaving office has been ‘patriotic’ by any stretch of the imagination. Like you, I want to have people in office who care more about doing their job than selling themselves for the next round of campaigns and elections. Right now, we have only a handful who care a whit about doing their job, for they are too busy arguing with us about whether our children deserve safety in school, about whether people have a right to be who they are, and whether to hide & deny our true history.

      No, none of us are perfect … but some of us possess a conscience and compassion for people and living things, while others care only about one thing … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s natural for individuals to feel a sense of pride in their own nation, their home town, their local sports team etc, but too many Americans seem to have a false sense of American Exceptionalism – that somehow the US is unique and above other nations. It isn’t, never was and never will be. All nations have characteristics that make them unique, but that doesn’t make them better or worse.

    “Patriotism” is not a word you hear in Aotearoa when Kiwis refer to their own nation. We might talk about “national pride”, but the word “patriotism” is more likely to be used in a derogatory way when discussing the way some Americans perceive their relationship with their country.

    Perhaps what has become a our “right of passage” (Covid era excepted), “The Big OE” (Overseas Experience) where the typical Kiwi travels abroad for 6 months or a year or two before returning to settle down to build a career and family, distinguishes us from the typical young American who, if they do leave their borders is for a very short time. The Big OE and the fact that we’re a relatively small nation that relies heavily on international cooperation to make its way makes us more outward looking than citizens from more powerful nations, that can, and often do, go their own way regardless of the consequences to smaller nations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right about that! How can “American Exceptionalism” be a thing when we enslaved Black people, robbed them of their children, beat them sometimes to death. When we stole this land from the Indigenous People and killed or enslaved most of them? When we locked Japanese-Americans in internment camps after Pearl Harbour. When we refused a port of entry to a ship, the St. Louis, carrying nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees, many of who died as a result? And today, we have the highest rate of gun deaths in the world and we laugh, refuse to stop the selling of more guns, and suggest putting children in prison schools to keep them safe. If this is ‘exceptionalism’ then I must not understand the meaning of that word. Sigh.

      As for that word, “patriotism”, I think it should be removed from the dictionary. It is the height of arrogance, of exclusion, of greed and selfishness.

      The Big OE … I like that. And, it’s good for young people to see a bit of the world outside their own country. In your case, they probably come back happy to be in their own country. In my case, the one time I went to France, I wanted to badly to stay there, although I was in my 30s, not truly a ‘young person’ anymore. Some places are better places to live than others, and today I have to say the U.S. ranks pretty low down on my list.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I am American and I used to proud of being an American. Not anymore. Now I’m embarrassed. And what gets me upset even more than “America First” is the belief in “American Exceptionalism,” or the notion that the United States is inherently different from other nations. America is not inherently different from other countries. Well, I take that back. When it comes to gun violence, racism, sexism, intolerance of religious freedom, providing access to health care for all citizens, and a whole host of other qualitative factors, America IS inherently different. In a bad way.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Like you, I once thought I was thankful to have been born in this country, but not today. I should have also addressed that myth of “American Exceptionalism” in this post, but was already over my self-imposed word limit. And all your points are valid … America is definitely #1 when it comes to gun violence and the others you mention. Intolerance of other … if one isn’t white, Christian, and male, then one is considered to be without merit, a 2nd class citizen. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Because we are all selfish in thinking that if we support this or that, we are doing what’s right, showing our patriotism, but a lot of people failed to realize that we are, all the same, human beings, sharing the same environment, the planet, that we shouldn’t rape nature of her resources, and think on it, most of the world’s ills now have roots in, what we humans are doing, but most people don’t realize that, and until we realize that we are the sources of these ills of the planet, I’m afraid the world will continue being a hugh mess. Look at the histories of outbreaks and we will find that these major-scale pandemics are happening at closer and closer increments of time, but we just can’t see things on that wider spectrum for some unknown reasons

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re quite right … humans are greedy and think more about the immediate than the future. Sadly, if we don’t address the ravages of climate change NOW, there won’t be a future to worry about. Maybe, in the overall scheme of things, that’s for the best.

      Liked by 1 person

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