Today is a day taken to honor the fallen. I’ve served, my father has served, and both grandparents served their own countries before then.
The history of Memorial day, and of Arlington cemetery, is of interest, but the question I have today is borne of some discussions with my family over this last weekend. Namely – related to nationalism. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m nearly the lone Trump supporter, and one of three, maybe four, nominal conservatives to any degree in a crowd of feelgood Chicago libs, Bernie supporters, and the like. One was complaining that she had looked into getting a UK passport but declined because it would involve losing her other EU-tied passport tied to the eastern European country our family had arrived from post WW2, and how totally backwards and stupid it was to have “our passport or theirs, but you can’t have citizenship in both” policies in places like Poland, the Baltics, etc., but those places had a disproportionate number of racist and bigots, etc.
Leaving aside the operative questions of how a country that had suffered under multiple generations of active suppression of language, religion, etc. to the point of shipping in Russians, tearing down churches, and banning native language works and bibles under the Czars and the Soviets would have even survived for her to be able to be proud of it without a sense of national identity that would not simply evaporate, or why it is any surprise that countries so actively suppressed under multiple socialist governments in the last century would hate all of them and desire its citizens to commit, I flashed to multiple cases of having it explained to me by liberals how there were no better and worse nations, no good or bad guys, just different teams.
While you can still honor courage and the willingness to sacrifice, if the different countries aren’t homelands, not a matter of kith and kin and fighting to defend or the interests of ones home and fellow extended family that is the nation, but just places you get “citizenship” in because you happen to live there, and you can move on when you feel like it, then do we not lose the impact? Don’t these people just become chumps who died under orders to fight the other team, no better or worse? Why did it matter then that they fought, the poor deluded fools?
The very celebration of memorial day loses much, I believe most, of its meaning if we don’t believe that the nation is important.