Permanent Resident

In which RVA talks about fitting into the world…

I’ve never really understood patriotism.  I’ve never understand the esteem and emotional vigor so many others ascribe to their geographic location.  It just, it just never connected with me.

Even as a child, I didn’t get it.  I didn’t understand school spirit.  I never owned a letterman’s jacket or a class ring.  I didn’t understand the significance of our mascot or any of that stuff.  My high school was selected based off of geographical location, which was dedicated by racial and economic forces.  There was nothing special about it, nor about my attending it.  So the idea of seeing it as something special?  Yeah, I just don’t see it.  Nor do I even understand how others see it.

Patriotism is similar.  I won a conceptual lottery to end up in America in the 1980s.  Sweet.  I like America a whole lot but I don’t find anything truly special about it.  Not in some sort of magical sense, like the people born in America are somehow better than…anywhere else?  We have…had…a good educational system, which produces a productive population, which…I mean, it isn’t a mystery what makes a country great.  There are variables that can be hard to predict and account for, but ultimately, combine resources with education as well as personal liberty and prosperity is practically inevitable.

Different countries are simply different combinations of that equation.  Counties and cities and towns within, just components of smaller variables.

I really do disdain to sound so clinical about the world, but prosperity is a fairly simple prospect.  As such, I don’t understand why people ascribe such fantastic notions to a geographical location.  And that it somehow influences or effects them, and they it?  That makes about as much sense to me as sacrificing a virgin to appease a volcano god.

The United States has a long history of Manifest Destiny, of American Exceptionalism, the notion that Americans are special because we’re Americans because we are from America.  It genuinely makes my brain hurt trying to understand how a person could subscribe to such thinking.

Again, I need to be clear, I like America.  I love America.  But I do also feel that if I had grown up in another country, I’d probably love that country just as much.

I say all of this not to undermine patriotism and national spirit, but to put it into context.  A nation is just a collection of people sharing a geographical location and an established agreement of resource allocation.  The operative work to take away from all of that is ‘sharing’.  A nation is a community, a group of people.  In many ways, we are just a neighborhood on a really grand scale.  So when it comes to your neighborhood, think about it that way.

How do you think decisions should be made?  How do you think resources should be shared?

As I write this, there’s a massive hurricane descending…at a snail’s pace admittedly…towards the country.  There will be emergencies.  There will be disasters.  Do you know the best way to handle an emergency?

Despite what you might think, it isn’t hoarding up survival equipment and hiding in your home.  It’s communication.  It’s coordination.  It is knowing who to call, and when.  It’s knowing what you can do, and what you need help with.

Our species’ survival, time and time again, has come down to our ability to interact and cooperate.  It may sound corny, but our prosperity in many ways does boil down to simple friendship and teamwork.

I guess I just don’t see one type of person more deserving of friendship than another.  Your friends should be your friends regardless.

Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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