Independence Day & My Luck-of-the-Draw...

I have something to confess that may sound caustic: I don't feel "proud" to be an American.

I'm thankful for my freedoms.  I'm humbled by the sacrifice of brave men and women who gave their lives for this nation.  I'm grateful for so much blessing that so many in this world can't even conceive...   

But "proud?"  Of what?  Luck-of-the-draw?  How can I be proud of something I had absolutely no control over.  It would be like saying I'm "proud" of speaking fluent English.  What's my other option?

Women and men who have sacrificed by fighting for this country have something to be proud of.  Even in wars I vehemently disagree with, soldiers show the ultimate form of patriotism and they've earned "pride," in my opinion.

But for many of us today, "America" is little more than an entitlement - an excuse - a free ticket to live more easily and comfortably than most of our global neighbors.  I can't be proud for being lucky.

I had originally thought about posting something on the idea of "nationalism" in relation to the Gospel.  I think they're incompatible in many ways.  How do you fight for your country AND die out of love for your enemies?  You can't construct foreign policy or national security using Christ's example.  It's too much.  Admittedly, Christianity is full of contradictions, and even more so when juxtaposed with principalities and powers of the earth.  Christianity becomes so awkward and misshapen when forced into the form of a country or nation state.

Still, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays: I love the summer, I love fireworks, I love being outdoors on warm evenings, and I am grateful for the sacrifice in my nation's history.

But there is still a little voice in the back of my head, whispering "manifest destiny" and reminding me that there are dozens of tribes in Oregon alone who see our "independence" as representative of something much darker.

Celebration becomes a tenuous endeavor.

4 comments:

Wickle said...

I have written a few posts on the point that nationalism is idolatry.

To a certain extent, there is a kind of patriotism that prohibits loving the US. You can't love what you don't know, and if you won't know the US then you can't really love it.

My wife knows that I snore, that I'm overweight, I forget groceries but refuse to write a shopping list; still, she loves me.

If you won't hear about the evils we've done -- manifest destiny, genocide of Native Americans, etc., then you can't really say that you love the US. Such people love a fantasy.

Anyway ... I agree with your post. I didn't do anything to be an American. I was just born here. Hardly bragging rights.

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I don't agree with everything my parents do, but I'm proud to be their son.

I'm proud to pursue my freedoms. Declarations do entitle me that and I do not apologize for them no matter what. I don't live at the expense of other countries. I also can't help my "draw", but I won't apologize for it either. My draw doesn't take away the numbers of children I sponser, the ways in which I serve. My draw doesn't take away from the fact that those anywhere in the world who know the one true God, also live free.

Peter said...

Rick my friend, long-time-no-see! Great to see your name here again. Hope all is well for you and your wife. Hope you had a happy 4th ;)

Your example of parenthood is a good one.
Thanks!
Peter

Dan Wright said...

Oh, your welcome Pete.

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