Despite the fact that the word “patriot” is included in the third line of our national anthem, the idea of “patriotism” really isn’t – at least, not in my experience – a significant part of our dialogue or identity as Canadians.
Don’t get me wrong…
I am very happy that I am Canadian, as are, I suspect, most of my fellow citizens.
I feel a connection to this land and its people – after all, it’s where I was born and, apart from a few short-lived vacations beyond its borders, all I’ve ever known.
I am certainly grateful for what my country has to offer its residents.
I think that we are on the right track, at least most of the time, in terms of how we as a nation believe (and legislate) that people should be treated.
But I just don’t “get” patriotism.
To me, the concept of patriotism actually feels awkward and foreign and, truth be told, even a little frightening in its rah, rah, “greatest nation in the world” fervor.
I am glad to be Canadian, certainly, for the reasons listed above and more. Yet the sight of our flag and the sound of our anthem, while comforting in their familiarity, do not move me to tears or inspire in me a sense of pride or superiority.
Should I really be proud that I happened to be born on one particular portion of this earth rather than another, as if I had any control over the matter? Should I take credit for living in a country whose national legislation and policies benefit my life, yet which I had no hand in establishing or upholding? (By the same token, should I take the blame for the dark blemishes in this country’s history, despite the fact that I played no part in these events?)
Perhaps it’s just semantics – six of one, half-a-dozen of the other – but for me, attaching the label of “patriotism” to either my appreciation for or my actions within this country just doesn’t fit.
Written for GBE 2: Blog On –
WEEK #76 (10-28-12 to 11-3-12): Patriotism