Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Patriot or Not, Why You Should Salute Your Flag

I'm going to use American society to talk about this because American society is what I know.  This applies to every nation, however.

We’re tearing ourselves apart.  The reason is quite simple: in seeking the noble diversity we have begun categorising ourselves to a greater extent than needed.  I am a disabled straight white American, which differentiates me from a disabled straight black American.  This black American may have exactly the same wound I do, have exactly the same economic situation I do, may have exactly the same views I do—the only thing that divides us is the pigment of our skin.

Yet, this difference puts him in a whole different situation than mine.  He faces different political pressures than I do, a different social situation, different grievances of his friends—basically everything.     

Why is this? Because many people try to find ways in which we are a victim everywhere instead of emphasising how we can rise above that.  We no longer try to unify—we differentiate.  It’s almost as if you aren't a victim or don’t yourself as a victim, you are a horrible oppressing person.  I do not deny that there is prejudice in the world and that many people are victims.  But people can “overcome.”  The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s was to overcome Jim Crow and racism.  In most ways it succeeded.  Yes, there are racists out there.  But that’s not all of us or even most of us.  I would argue that people are becoming more racist today than they were twenty years ago because this difference is constantly pounded into us.  These differences are emphasised for all ethnic, racial, religious, sexual, and others I've forgotten because there are so many categories to put us into. There’s a joke quiz on Reddit in which white supremacists and social justice warriors’ statements are put up with the people these supremacists or SJWs are talking about left out.  You have to guess whether the statement is from a supremacist or an SJW.  The statements aren't that different at all.

One professor has recently emphasised that Asians have blended into our society even though they were discriminated against as much if not more than blacks were in society in the 1960s.  I can’t wait until their separation because of race is pounded into them so much that they feel alienated from America’s society—it’s going to come.  It’s already true in the museums.  To add to the tearing apart, I have pointed out before how the Irish and Italians blended into our American society despite the fact that they were discriminated against so much when they first came over.  There are vibrant Irish and Italian cultures within America that are American.  They succeeded in getting into the melting pot. 

I didn't think this could happen, but the Irish came under attack recently for the same reasons that they were under attack a century and more ago—for drinking.  A porch collapsed under them and a few died in the collapse.  This article specifically targeted them as bawdy Irish drinkers (and one as an Irish American) during their report.  The New York Times used their report of the tragedy to discriminate against the Irish. Thankfully, Ireland took issue with the article and called The New York Times’ apology pathetic.

I come from all over Northwest Europe and many of us university students did the same thing these Irish are accused of in university—whatever our race or social category.  I can go so far as to say I myself was involved in a porch collapse in 2010.  We were extremely lucky in that the worst injury was a broken ankle.  I walked away unharmed.  I’m almost certain, however, that very few of the people on the porch that night were specifically Irish American.  We were just stupid college kids.  
Now this discrimination and categorisation against the stereotypical Irish culture has come back into American society though one of the United States’ leading newspapers.  It drove a wedge between Ireland and us.  If it continues, the Irish will once again be an alienated “race” (the New York Times’ description). 

It makes me sick, it really does.  I can’t count how many Irish-American friends who love their Irish heritage and love America with thorough patriotism.  You can be part of a specific culture and be an American patriot.  It’s not hard.

The solution to bring ourselves back together is surprisingly simple and extremely hard to do if you keep your grudge.  I doubt my professors who emphasise these social differences would like what I'm about to say.

Love your nation.  If it’s America, like mine, love the Stars and Stripes.  We all live under the same flag.  We’re one people.  If you belong to another nation, you can be proud.   No nation is perfect, but we try.  You don’t have to love every person—prejudices endure between us—but we are one nation, with or without God, hoping to be indivisible, and trying to bring liberty and justice to all.

We've been through a hell of a lot together, some good and some bad.  Our past is filled with both.  But it’s a shared past and a shared idea that we can all share together.

Sometimes the condition that the United States is in today makes me want to weep.  I still love it, though.  We still have a chance—every Western nation has a chance—to bring ourselves back if we start saluting what our flag tries to stand for.