A couple of days ago, I was in the local K-Mart, which is closest big box retailer to my new house and happens to be next door to the grocery store. Way in the back, they had a bunch of displays for patriotic t-shirts that they were clearly trying to sell off for the 4th of July. I looked through them, but honestly, I’m not that patriotic. I can really only recall owning a single American-centric t-shirt in my life that I must have bought 20 years ago because I was going to a barbecue on the 4th and wanted something to wear. But otherwise, I’m just not that much of a “rah-rah” American. Is it the best country out there? Yes. Is it the best it could be? Not even close. The idea that I should display a false patriotism seems absurd to me.
But damn, there are a lot of people out there that seem to think that America is the end-all, be-all of reality, people that are so hyper-patriotic that it entirely clouds their ability to rationally examine the state of the nation objectively. I can’t stand those people.
Honestly though, now that my new house has a place to fly a flag, I actually considered picking one up for the 4th. I have no idea if I’ll be home that day or not and, as of this writing, no clue if I’ll decide to get one or not. I don’t have any particular attachment to the idea, after all, I haven’t flown an American flag in more than 20 years, not because I’m anti-America, but because I just don’t care about hanging a colored piece of cloth outside my house. It isn’t important to me, any more than wearing a patriotic t-shirt is important to me. There are some things that I’m proud of this country for doing and many that I’m ashamed of and I don’t pretend that I have to pump my fist in the air on a particular day of the year because that’s just what you’re supposed to do. Like everything else, this country has to earn my respect and far too often, it’s failed to do so. Too bad I have little hope that it will manage it any time soon.