I had a short conversation today with one of my co-workers who is here from Colombia just to work with the YMCA. Some kind of partnership program. She was telling me about how excited she will be when she gets home and she can eat her mom's food, etc. She said how weird it is that once you are away from your country, you miss it and love it so much more. I commented to her about how when I leave the US I don't feel that way because of the reputation of the US across the world, the wealth we have, and the corruption and brokenness here.
My friend opened up my eyes. She started saying that of course there are tough things going on in Colombia, too, but she is still proud to be Colombian and proud of her country. Drug-trafficking, corrupt politicians who are murderers and thieves, all the turmoil that is going on doesn't take away the fact that there are really great people and great places of beauty in Colombia.
I am generally pretty cynical towards America, but this really made me think. I can still be patriotic without supporting everything that people in my country do. Sometimes I am so black and white in my thinking that I forget things like this. I think that also if I had traveled a lot more growing up and had met a lot more people and seen a lot more places that I would have been able to see that I can love this country and be proud of some things about this country. There are traditions that I resonate with and other I do not, and that is okay, but I should probably embrace the good things about my country and not be such a stick in the mud.
Maybe my perspective is being opened and shaped into something new. I am definitely okay with that. Maybe my opinions of other things will start to change...hmm, maybe I still think that Miss America pageants are celebrating moderate narcissism and surface level beauty...maybe I need to look more into it. Thanks to my co-worker for helping me get in a good mindset for the upcoming patriotic holiday. Thanks to those who have served our country in wars (especially those who had been drafted into war) even though I may not always support war itself. Thank you to those who founded our nation, even though sometimes that foundation is misinterpreted into modern religious, ethnic, and other types of discrimination. Thank you to all who work to make this country better even when it is so easy to get bogged down by all the disagreements, division, and all the other messed up stuff that goes on here.
I am learning to be a patriot. After all, this is my home.
Interesting article and comments at the bottom.