Sunday, March 16, 2003

Nationalism is a great thing when you think about it in a rational sort of way. I don't mind countries that have sort of an isolationist point of view when it comes to the world stage. If you want to worry about your own interests and not the interests of others, then you are certainly within your right. If Nationalism entails pride in culture, history, and accomplishment, then that is a good thing as well. However, when Nationalism spurs you to denigrate, marginalize, and demonize an entire country, continent, race, or population, then perhaps you have gone too far. I do think that France has quickly forgotten what inaction can result in. Though it was a mere 60 years ago when their borders were overrun and they were invaded by a German Army that could have easily been crushed by their forces a few years earlier. But now, I see Americans exercising the Patriotism by renaming fast-food side items, (Freedom Fries please, not French Fries), making French jokes, insisting upon Italian wines while dining and other inconsequential actions. But now, a golfer of all people has had people make threatening remarks to him simply because he hails from France. This man plays a sports, endorses products, and pretty much lives a life of celebrity. However, unlike some of our notable American celebrities, I have not heard him making comments about the United States and our policies. I have not heard about him traveling abroad to enemyforeign countries to speak out against OUR country. I have not heard about this man wanting to host a tournament in Basrah in order to earn a check, and serve as a human shield. I think that now as Americans, perhaps we are edging the border of actions that seperate "us" from "them". Everyone has an idea of what is right and wrong. And most of us would agree on what actions constitute "right", or "wrong" behavior, we simply have differing ideologies, religions, histories, personal experiences, and outlooks that help us rationalize which course of action is appropriate at the time. I hope that this man is not threatened, and I hope no American forgets what we stand for, and doesn't forget that poor behavior on another's part does not legitimize that same poor behavior on our part. We set the example. We have the means, the power, the need, and the audacity to shape this world into a better place. A place where "American ideals", means something great, positive, and worthwhile. So pass the French fries, have a burger, and remember what it means to be American.

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