Tonawanda News

Columns

May 31, 2013

LEFFLER: Too much of a good thing is scary

Tonawanda News — In my opinion, I’m a good citizen. I think America is a great country and I feel lucky to have been born here. I love fireworks and draught beer and apple pie. And the sight of the American flag swells me with pride.

But … there comes a point where patriotism becomes nationalism. And that scares the heck out of me.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with waving the American flag and cheering on our interests and working towards the best for the good ol’ U. S. of A. But wrapping yourself in it and shaming others for not doing so isn’t the least bit patriotic. In fact, it’s downright wrong.

This is a great country that we live in. And we do a lot of great things for ourselves and the rest of the world. We should revel in that and shout from the rooftops the great things that we do. We should all be proud of our endeavors in fighting world hunger and poverty. We should be ecstatic over our scientific accomplishments that have helped all of humanity.

Unfortunately, however, I find that we tend to rally around the wrong things. We rally around war. Death brings us together. Consider the fact that all of our national holidays are centered around war.

This past Sunday I stood along East Avenue in Lockport watching the Memorial Day parade — an annual event put together to honor the soldiers who have given their all in battle to keep this country safe. It was a great reason to be proud to be an American.

I watched as politicians walked by. Police. Firefighters. Girl Scouts. Boy Scouts. Bands. Dance troupes. All grinning from ear to ear, proud to be Americans. There was even a group from Thorold, Ontario — but American by choice … at least for the day.

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