One of the more bizarre side effects of life on social media, specifically on Facebook, is how it’s allowed us to track our lives over the course of time. We are constantly reminded about what we thought or said in years past, how we looked, what we wore, what upset us, and what made us laugh.
I have long been unnerved by the sheep-like quality of so many Americans when it comes to the myth of American exceptionalism, our ability to be self congratulatory in the face of failure, and our bizarre fetish for military power.
And Facebook has long been a crucible for that angst, with so much mindless posting of frivolous memes, offering up saccharine platitudes of American greatness and the implicit honor of anyone who dons a uniform.
But I feel the tide is turning, and I no longer feel so alone in the wilderness of dissent.
People are coming around to the idea that maybe, just maybe, we have some work to do before we will ever be great, and that more importantly, as a country, we have some serious explaining to do for our reprehensible past. Being “proud to be an American” should really cause you to question what your basis for pride actually is.
I saw a meme this morning that said something to the effect that if you couldn’t be bothered to stand for the anthem, then you should give your legs to a veteran, blah, blah, blah. I forget the exact wording, but the message was clear. Wounded veterans are real Americans and those who protest are not. This is perhaps the strangest, most nonsensical logic we have going on in this country.
I also saw a completely different take that said, “Look, if you invade a sovereign country, with murderous intent, and get shot by the guy you’re trying to kill, maybe it’s a tiny bit your fault you got shot.”
These patriotic holidays are always the worst. Especially since patriotism, and symbols of American pride have been so co-opted by radical, white nationalists. But this year I am seeing more push back from a wide selection of people. More nuanced understanding of our history and our responsibility as a nation.
I still feel like we’re under water, but I also am beginning to see evidence that the tide is heading back out and that we might have to chance to catch our breath and rebuild.
Today is a beach day. Think about it.