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Independence Day is coming again

We’re not very expressively patriotic here in our family. My husband was born in Canada and I’ve never understood the pride people have in their birth country. After all, I’m an American because I was born to American parents in an American city - Fargo, North Dakota of all places, how can you be proud of that anyway? ;)

I have always felt that I could happily live in many countries around the world, even ones that aren’t “western”. I’ve definitely lived in a diverse number of cities - from a town in ND called Killdeer with about 500 people to a city you might have heard of called Los Angeles (Hollywood to be specific).

So I struggle to find the balance between complete apathy or even loathing of my birth country (esp. in light of my country’s most recent behavior) and crazy nationalistic flag waving patriotism. I grew up in a faith tradition that married patriotism with the Christian religion - you weren’t a true Christian if you weren’t a true patriot. Most people I knew practically deified our founding fathers and to this day, they refuse to hear any negative words spoken about men like George Washington even when those negative points have been proven historically accurate.

The 4th of July carries with it a weird mix of feelings for me. My birthday is July 6 and my mom always tells the story of how she was in labor with me while watching fireworks. Growing up, we took our annual trip to visit family in ND and MN around the 4th holiday so we would always get to buy fireworks in MN and light them off at my grandparents dairy farm (those poor cows) and then I would celebrate my birthday with my family. So if we could have the fireworks and family bbq’s and all that without the excessive patriotic sentiment I’d be happy but the flag clothes and national songs at churches really just inspire me to stay home.

But then I think I’m probably just a grumpy killjoy and should get over myself.

Technorati Tags: independence day, patriotism, nationalism


  1. jovial_cynic — July 3, 2008 #

    I tend to get irritated towards the 4th of July, because the war for independence was fought over… taxes. Jesus tells folks, “give Caesar what belongs to him,” and yet our “christian nation” began as a result of refusing to do that very thing. It just hurts my head to think about it.

  2. david — July 3, 2008 #

    i like the nebulousness of what we call ‘canada day’. Canada loosely can be translated as village, and we basically just celebrated our local community and had a block party. no anthems, no flags dangling from anywhere, just food, fireworks, and friends… and a couple first nations friends wearing shirts saying “Homeland Security: Fighting terrorism since 1492″

    hehe :)

    hope you have a good holiday.

  3. Mak — July 4, 2008 #

    David - that picture is AWESOME. I like Canada Day. And, to be honest, most people celebrate Independence Day here that very way — food, family, fireworks. So as long as you do it your own way and don’t attend official celebrations like parades and such, you’re pretty safe.

  4. Mak — July 4, 2008 #

    jovial - I actually think we had a point in defying the tax without representation as I don’t really think that’s the point Jesus was making but I’m not sure it was worth all the killing.

  5. jovial_cynic — July 8, 2008 #

    Mak - I dunno. Jesus’ statement about paying taxes seemed to be in an environment of Roman oppression, and perhaps a system of taxation without representation. I think that trap that the pharisees were trying to set for Jesus with the tax question was to get him to speak out against the ruling authority… yet scripture repeatedly gives examples of godly folk who maintain that believers aren’t to strive against the ruling authority. David and Saul… Paul and the Romans… Mordacai and King Xerxes, etc., etc. So for early America to war against England, and specifically over taxes, I think that creates a strange situation, that’s all.

  6. Mak — July 8, 2008 #

    I guess it’s something to consider but at this point, it’s not something I’m willing to go so far as to say we shouldn’t have done…I’m not saying we should have gone to war, I would like to be able to say our country was founded on peaceful negotiation and diplomacy but alas, I cannot. But I’m not prepared to say that we shouldn’t have opposed taxation without representation.

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