"Nationalism is an infantile disease - it is the measles of mankind." - Albert Einstein
Sometimes I am asked, "Why don't you celebrate the 4th of July? Why don't you rise for the National Anthem? Why don't you recite the Pledge of Allegiance?"
The answer is: Because my Teachers have shown me well, and otherwise. I do not refrain from these things to be unkind, or out of arrogance, nor out of disdain for the views of others. No one needs to feel they are my "enemy" because of this. Simply, my Allegiance is to Love. It's like this...
A religious literalist once tried to trap the profound Sufi Saint, Rabia, by asking her if she hated the devil. Rabia answered, "I am so full of Love for the Holy One, there's no room, no time, for anything else".
Respectfully, for anyone whose eyes happen to fall on these words, I don't "hate" America, or any other nation, religion, community or tribe. I just learned, long ago, when I was a boy of about ten, that all of that is illusion, that nation states, & borders, & other artificial constructs, are just that - they don't exist.
Everywhere I look, I see only One Being. The Universe (that is, "unified diversity") and it's planets, the animals and grasses, every creature, and every human - we are just all ever-changing, undying molecules within that One. It makes no difference to me what name you might call yourself - American, French, Spanish, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Agnostic, Atheist. Whether you like - or don't like - words or concepts like "God", "Truth", "Energy", "Love" - none of these concepts come close - the One Being is still there. HERE.
This is what some of my Teachers say...
In Einstein's quote at the top of this short essay, there is a great, optimistic, beautiful inference present. The inference is "In time, we will mature out of this". Many of us came to see that Clarity in the Sixties & Seventies. We don't see it any less now just because corporate media tries to tell us otherwise with its constant hammerings upon division and fear. Who are you going to listen to - Einstein or Rush Limbaugh?
And here's Gandhi: "The seeker after Truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after Truth should be so humble himself / herself that even the dust could crush him / her. Only then, and not until then, will we have a glimpse of Truth"... I know I have much work to do around grasping Humility - but at least I've gotten close to the point of knowing that it needs to be done. No one teaches Humility - or even the seeking of Truth - in this country today. When was the last time you saw "humility" and "patriotism" used in the same book, let alone in the same breath?
And here's the incredible Prince-turned-Peasant Leo Tolstoy on (what I hope is by now) the obvious link between patriotism and war: "To avoid war, it is necessary, not to preach sermons and pray God for Peace, not to adjure the English-speaking nations to live in Peace together just in order to domineer over "other" nations, not to make double and triple counter-alliances, not to intermarry princes and princesses - but to destroy the ROOT of war. And that is, the EXCLUSIVE desire for the well-being of one's OWN people; it is patriotism".
Tolstoy goes on to say: "Patriotism has welded mankind into states, and maintains the unity of states. But men are now united in states; that work is done; why now maintain exclusive devotion to one's own state, when this produces terrible evils for all states and nations?"
And, he continues: "...when, as now, there is American patriotism, English, German, French, Russian, all opposed to one another, in this event, patriotism no longer unites, but disunites".
So, my own thought is this, and has only grown in intensity since my childhood: If you want to truly Love your country - beautiful - now expand that Love to the entire World, because otherwise it is not truly Love at all. It is - and I say this out of Love for you, and with respect - it is only possessiveness, ego, fear. And that is no way to live your Glorious life.
The World is our Home, All Humanity our Family.