Today I was reading an article by Stephen A. Smith that conveyed his absolute indignation at Josh Howard vulgarly disrespect[ing] America's National Anthem." I was torn between whether to be indignant at this disrespecting of a personal right to not be patriotic, which most of are not when truly examined, or to laugh at his folly. The large portion of people in this world do not care about society, they care to live their lives and do so in a way beneficial to them and their loved ones; patriotism is foisted on us vehemently, yet no one cares - only zealots care.
The notion that one must respect one's nation is a false and tyrannical attack on our free will and is absurd. I will never stand during the national anthem, nor remove my earphones if alone at a ballgame, nor avoid going to the restroom if I have to at that moment. It is a song, and not a terribly great one, that has nothing in particular to do with my life. I am an intellectual man who could fashion a great life for myself anywhere in the world. I do not enjoy meeting any person of any nationality more than others, as most are very interesting. My nation has provided me great wealth, but it has also provided me with fearmongers, with zealots who scream at me relentlessly at the University of Texas, and many more interferences of my life that could be avoided in a more secluded setting. Hell, with electricity and a place to get food easily, I am pretty certain that my quality of life would not decrease at all secluded from others by a couple of miles. There is nothing special about where you are born, and we indeed do not choose where we are born either. I am not born American, I am not born Texan; I am born a human.
If patriotism is worthless as I state, then why do so many zealots scream about it so loudly? The reasons are simple. The first is that it lends one authority. By caring more about where one lives than another, one clearly is more passionate and caring about his or her brethren, and ought to be respected and listened to more! The second reason is easily evident: it allows one to beat others in declaring one's passion for something arbitrary that is utterly meaningless to most people. My flag is bigger than yours; I wave it more valiantly; I roll it up more carefully in the rain; I take more care to make sure it does not touch the ground; I know more about American history than you. This nation has done some terrible enactments! Slaughtering the Native Americans to steal their land? Slavery? Sexism? These are all part of what you are supporting when you so vehemently and loudly proclaim your love for the United States of America! The worst reason that people effect a patriotic attitude is that of mere conformity, and I mean either actively or merely because it is so ingrained in our attitude that we have to. It is foisted upon us in school with the Pledge of Allegiance. It is foisted upon us at ballgames with the ridiculous national anthem. Why should we respect something that tyrannizes us? We should extirpate it, expunge it, and banish it from our lives if we so choose to do so! It is us who are offended, not others! We have to endure a patriotism that we have no desire to, and if we do not, we are labeled as terrorists, we are ostracized, and we are made to feel inadequate (or they try to make us feel such, I certainly do not). I am an intelligent person who will never violate laws besides jaywalking and speeding; I am intend my life to certainly positively contribute to humanity, and I will incidentally positively affect my country in the process, and patriotism is not necessary for me to be this good citizen at all.
Now, as usual, I am making extreme statements. I know some people enjoy patriotism because it can just be mindless fun, and while I personally do not enjoy mindless fun, it does have value! If going FUCK YEAH GERMANY SCORE A GOAL KICK FRANCE'S ASSS WOOOO makes you happy, and it is not malicious, if it is not pernicious, if it is not patriotism that is for the reasons I mentioned earlier, then great (it would seem competitive here, but it is not; it is merely euphoric). I personally do not indulge in this, but it is absolutely acceptable.