Patriotism makes me uncomfortable. It is to put real estate over principles, it is to hate people you have never met, it is mindless tribalism that prevents us from gathering together to solve the world’s problems. Patriotism enables wars, prevents collaborative efforts to fight climate change, and makes class consciousness difficult. Patriotism is a odious force that should be immediately excised from the mind of any self-respecting critical thinker. Patriotism, as the famous Samuel Johnson quotation proclaims, ” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
But, understood in a different way, I could call myself a patriot. Howard Zinn famously said “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” The spirit of civic engagement that Zinn so exemplified demonstrates a true love for his country. What better way to demonstrate a love for your country than environmentalism, or whatever form of civic engagement and social reformism you believe best for your country? Is parading around mindlessly, wearing a red shirt and getting falling-down drunk on Granville anything more than self-indulgence?
So, there are a few things that make me proud to be Canadian. I am proud of our beautiful landscape, I am proud of our progressive values, and I am proud of our rich culture. I didn’t go to the anti-Harper rally, though I probably should have. I spent the day reconnecting with some of the Canadian things I love. First, I scoured the CBC archives for great interviews, then I danced around my friends apartment listening exclusively to Canadian music (mostly of the ‘so bad it’s good’ variety). I did eventually cap the night off with a little Granville self-indulgence–nobody is perfect. Long story short, I am proud to be Canadian, but you won’t ever see me tattoo a flag to my cheek.
Below, Canadian content. Some of it good, some of it embarrassing…
From the CBC archives (side note: one thing that makes me a little mad, the HTML code to centre this video is ‘CENTER’. The Canadian spelling won’t work…)
I discovered this doozie yesterday:
Must watch Shatner clip (sorry, it won’t let me embed).