A Note on Nationalism

It is difficult to point out the flaws in your own nation without being labelled as “anti-national.” Like most words, “anti-national” gets thrown around without really understanding what it means, or what the individual at whom the word is targeted is trying to say. And the individual must be careful too: when anyone attacks a nation’s character, it is easy for the citizens to think he or she is attacking all of them. Though the individual may be making valid points about corruption, moral decadence, administrative incompetence, or something like that, people will just react like Tom Cruise’s character in Born On The 4th Of July and say “Hey man, if you don’t love it then leave it.”

It feels good to take sides against people who speak against you (or against what you think represents you). This tribe mentality feels good, and it’s awesome to be a part of a group of people that beat their chests together and say, “I am proud to be an Indian!”… or an American, or a Russian, or a whatever. This is why, for example, rivalries between sports teams are so strong. It feels GOOD to be a part of something bigger than yourself, and to think that your something is the best, and to look down upon or even hate someone who is not a part of what you are. Because they are the other team.

But what is this whole nationalistic rage about anyway? What is it that these people are so invested in that they cannot tolerate someone speaking the truth about their nation?

Well, everyone seems to have forgotten what the nation really is. We have been made to forget, mostly by the hyper-reactive news media and poorly thought out cinematic blockbusters. For us (we, the people) “the nation” exists as some abstract thought that exists in the air above our heads, and which ends at the imaginary lines drawn on a map. To attack a nation is to attack its heritage, and to attack all the ideals that it stands for. Hence if you are an American who speaks out against America, you are against FREEDOM and LIBERTY, you are against her founding fathers, her bloody history, and against every freedom fighter that laid down their lives so that you can have this freedom today. It’s as if you are spitting in George Washington’s face. But in fact, all you may have said is that you are against America’s imperialistic foreign policies in, oh, take any country you can think of.

A nation’s history and ideals are very important, no doubt. They fill one with a fervour and passion that cause one’s eyes to well up, but all is quickly forgotten when one is inconvenienced by the activities of “the nation.” Then these same breast-beating people- who will persecute someone with the good sense to point out the shortcomings of their nation- will take the short, easy way out. And so there is much bribing of cops, going the wrong way in traffic, littering as is convenient…  because they’ll think, “No one is looking after me anyway, so why should I care?” And in a sense, they are right: no one is looking after them.

But a nation is NOT her history. A nation is NOT her ideals. A nation is not a document, not a statue, not a building, not a government, nor a single man with Class Z security. A nation is not a GDP, nor a chunk of land demarcated by arbitrarily drawn lines.

A “nation” as we know it, is merely an idea. But where does this idea exist?

IN YOU. YOU are the nation. The PEOPLE are the nation. And we have forgotten this. YOU are responsible for yourself, and for the WHOLE nation, in the same way we spoke about responsibility in our last video. We don’t have to take the substandard way our administration is run. We don’t have to take decadent mentalities that harm the overall wellbeing of the nation, which is to say the overall wellbeing of EVERYONE. The grand ideals (freedom, liberty, etc.), the accumulated consequences of a decades long freedom struggle (or any history), the values enshrined in a constitution (or any bloody document)… all these exist WITHIN THE INDIVIDUALS of the nation. Without them- without us– there is no nation. UNDERSTAND THIS NOW.

When our elected leaders screw up a road, or dig up pipelines for the 20th time, WE face the brunt of the inconvenience. When large swathes of the population are under the aegis of a government with a patriarchal mind-set, EVERYONE suffers. Lack of planning, lack of foresight, absolute apathy, and the willingness to fuck the constituency over just to line their own pockets… you look around and tell me that most governments are not rife with this.

If we are to say the nation is a government, the ideals they uphold, the documents that they sign, and the values of the people within it, then we are saying our nation is a sick, perverse, remorseless beast that will trample, loot, pillage, and rape you without a second thought.

The tone of this blog post is more aggressive than the rest of the blog, but we at The Spirit Rebooted want you to get mad.

We as a “citizenry of a nation” are too complacent. We are too lazy. We are ready to let things go and accept shoddy administration because we have our little cosy lives and we don’t want to upset that balance. But if anyone is going to fix “the nation,” it has to be US, because we ARE the nation. Please bookmark the below video and watch it whenever you start to get complacent. And then get mad. Realize that the shit that we have to deal with is not the fault of your elected leaders. It’s YOUR fault. Your fault for staying quiet about it, your fault for looking the other way. And that goes for ALL OF US.

But don’t go throw stones. A society that recourses to violence will breed only more violence. Find an easy, involving, and even entertaining and fun way to hit them hard. Make use of social media. Social media was the cause of the Arab Spring, let it be the vehicle of the spring of your own community. Maybe, for example, create a Facebook page called “<your local municipality> Sucks” and invite people to post pictures, memes, videos, and stories of the absolute incompetence in the way your locality is run. Make it fun and funny. Whatever works, for whatever the issue is.

Get thinking, get moving, get mad. We are in this together. If we want “the nation” to exist in happiness and peace, we have to act together for the benefit of all of us.

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