A looong while ago, like when Cap 2 came out, I remember you posting some super impressive ideas about patriotism which I really, really loved. I was looking back through your politics and Marvel tags but can't seem to find it :/ In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, what do you think patriotism means, especially when governments Do Bad Things? Feel free to cite Captain America, also I love your blog!
auuuuugh this is so nice and such a good question
so to my mind, patriotism means loving your country.
but there is such a difference between loving your country and loving your government.
this is not a thing we say often; i wish we said it more. i do not love the american government. it’d be a fucking struggle to do that; they’ve hurt me and they’ve hurt my friends. after what i saw happen in new york after the eric garner decision, after what i saw happen in oakland during the occupy movement, after what i continue to see happening to my friends who work in anti-surveillance movements—
the american government has done worse things than those, obviously, but those are the things that made it personal.
i do love america.
i love san francisco, the graffiti in the mission and the ferry building and chinatown and the hills sloping onward and down to the sea. i love chicago, the frozen concrete grit of it in the winter and the fireflies and pollen in the summer. i love new york. i love new york. i love new york.
i love the rainstorms of the midwest, how they sweep over you with lightning and thunder; i love the highways, which stretch on and on until the end of the horizon. i love the mojave desert, mesas and shrubs and little factory towns that haven’t seen money since reagan.
i love the poor black communities back home in oakland who worked the dockyards and were home to the black panthers and who have survived everything the government had to throw at them for so, so long. i love the immigrants from central and south american countries, brilliant and artistic and leaving a legacy of courage and hope (sí, se puede; viva la causa!)
i love the aclu, and the naacp, and the international workers of the world. i love the girls who died in the triangle shirtwaist factory fire. i love the girls who died because of their work at the united states radium factory, and the girls who later stood up for their right to say that was wrong. i love the transgender women of color who fought the police at stonewall. i love the people in berkeley and ferguson and new york who are fighting for basic human rights and dignity, right now.
i love every person i see with me on the subway on my way to work— the mothers with strollers chattering loudly in spanish, the old man in a suit carrying twelve grocery bags, the russian tourists holding a map and pointing confusedly to the 6 line, the twelve-year-old girls attached at the hip looking down their noses at everyone else, the hip-hop dancers, the singers, the man with the carton full of sandwiches for the homeless.
i love them. i love that they’re here; i love that i get to live in this place, see these things, interact with these people. interacting with the human species is an incredible, incredible privilege.
i’m not pretending that these people are somehow better than other people; i’m not pretending that america is somehow better than other countries. the idea is ridiculous.
but this kind of love doesn’t work like that. i don’t love america because it’s the best.
i love america because it’s my home. i love americans because they’re my family.
when governments do bad things fight them. stand up against them. do that not in spite of the fact that you love your country, but because you love your country— because you love your fellow countrymen and you can’t stand to see them hurt by the people in power. that’s what patriotism means.