I Don’t Pledge and You Can’t Make Me

Now that’s a prompt for the Americans if ever I saw one. Good thing I’m not America, eh?

No, I’m not patriotic. Patriotism isn’t exactly encouraged here because, y’know, Hitler ‘n stuff, that guy and his lot ruined it for us forever. And apart from that…

I mean, that I was born here wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. My grandparents found themselves here somehow after the war, and then my parents were too poor to live somewhere else, and now I’m too poor to live anywhere else. So, this it is, then. Not sure where the pride comes in, I didn’t earn anything here.

Sure, it’s not the worst country ever. The problem is that people take the fact that this isn’t the worst country ever as an excuse to refuse all attempts at improvement. So we have clean water, no atomic reactors, being poor is not a death sentence, renewable energy, good food, pretty architecture, we’re actually pretty well off. Buuuut that doesn’t mean it can’t get even better! And that’s what people don’t get. Mention any topic, say, oh I dunno, wage gap, marriage equality, foreign policy, rampant racism and xenophobia, education politics, rising unemployment, and everyone will shut you down with a mighty, “But it’s SO MUCH WORRRRRSSSEE in other countries!”

Yes. Okay. So it is. Doesn’t mean everything’s sunshine and roses here, either.

If you really try you can find something good about every country. Like, Dubai has pretty architecture! Look at all those skyscrapers! Okay, so they flog you to death if they catch you without your veil on, but hey, skyscrapers!

So, yes, I know it’s worse elsewhere. I know there are children exploding in Africa and all that crap I’ve been told since I was six to humblekick me into shutting up and accepting the status quo. (And yes, humblekick is a word now.) And I won’t, because what good exactly ever came from shutting up and accepting the status quo, I mean look at our history, on one side you get bossed by an emperor, on the other you get bossed by Hitler, nothing good came from either of those, so no, status quo is not acceptable. Everyone who tells you to accept things as they currently are is plotting something.

There’s always room for improvement. If you want an example, just take the historic heat wave we just had, where rescue forces ran up to 300 additional missions a day because most places of employment, shops, homes or items of public transport have no air conditioning. Don’t tell me that’s not a problem.

If you want another, how about the person who was surprised that their suggestion of dealing with the growing problem of refugee children with a flamethrower was met with minor public outrage, but more than enough people tried to pass it off as “just a joke”. Don’t tell me that kind of attitude is not a problem.*

If you want a slightly larger-scale example, how about we put some decent money in our higher level education if we absolutely need everyone to get a degree now? And how about we give people actual jobs after we forced them to get a degree? Don’t tell me that’s not a problem.

So in a nutshell, you ain’t gettin’ no patriotism. You want me to be proud of this country? Give me something to be proud of, then we talk.

And the first one to come in here with the BUT IT’S WORRRRSSSE ELSEWHERE is gonna get flamethrower’d right through the internet. Over and out.

P.s.: Funnily enough, if you google ‘patriotism’, you find nothing but America related pictures.

*And here is why it’s not funny, even if it was a joke: If you say you want to kill your colleague who always takes the last cup of coffee with a flamethrower, it’s humorous because that reaction is so off it’s obvious you don’t mean it, nor do we live in a culture where killing your coffee-stealing colleagues is the norm. But if you say you want to murder small children of a different ethnicity with fire because you think they’re a nuisance, you remind everyone that not even a hundred years ago people more than willingly put foreigners, Jews, disabled people and their own neighbours in death camps. Where they had ovens. Get it? That’s why it’s not funny. Because Hitler. Do we really have to go over this again?

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