My New Found Patriotism

by pale.emperor 9 Replies latest jw experiences

  • pale.emperor

    I'm not entirely sure where this has come from, but these past few months I've found myself gradually becoming more and more involved politically and identifying myself differently. We all remember what it was like as JWs, no political involvement whatsoever, no national pride, no singing the national anthem or saluting the flag etc. The Watchtower literature always shown artists renditions of nationalism or politics like this:

    Nationalism and politics were always blamed for causing divisions. OK, they do to some extent, but that's not their purpose.

    When I first woke up and left I still held on to the belief that "I'm not British, I'm a British citizen" or "I swear allegiance to no country". It kind of made me feel a little better and more enlightened than "those people who blindly go along with singing the anthem". But then... I don't know... I've slowly started to refer to the UK as "my country" in conversation and in writing. I didn't notice it at first, but I caught myself saying it. Usually I'd correct myself but I didn't this one time and thought about it later. I wore a poppy leading up to remembrance day the first year I left the cult. I did it initially simply because it was always verboten in the JWs.

    Yes, this is my country.

    Yes, I do care what happens to my country.

    Yes, I would like a say in who gets elected to represent me in parliament.

    Yes, I do appreciate how fortunate I am to be born in a country which is advanced and relatively wealthy. I had no say in this of course, but fortune could have led me to be born in China, Ethiopia or, heaven forbid, the USA (joke!).

    And then the world cup happened (the soccer world cup to our American friends). I always support Germany in the world cup because a) England are usually shit and b) I have German ancestry which has fascinated me since I was a boy. But this time, England did really well. Better than Germany in fact. And I felt... proud. Every four years, England becomes united - Scousers and Mancs, Geordies and Cockneys, all in one crowd rooting for the same side.

    And then there's the flag. I used to laugh at those people who flew the flag. I would probably never fly it casually, but now I would definitely fly it for a national event. I look at it now and think of my grandad who fought in WWII. His dad who fought (and lost his sight) in WWI. And those who went before them. The flag itself is just cloth, yet now I look at it and feel pride. I'm not for one moment saying my country is better than any other - but I feel a new found sense of belonging and duty.

    I'm British. I have a Queen. I can (and will) vote to elect a suitable representative of this country. I will defend my country's honor and name if it's being besmirched and - which is a complete 180 from the old me - I would join up to defend it if we were at a WWII situation and fascists were carving up Europe and threatening my land. I will wear a poppy to remember the dead and those who fought for Britain, that includes those from the colonies who fought for us.

    However, I do still feel that my country doesn't have a national anthem, it has a song about the Queen (god save the Queen). Plus, as an atheist it annoys me that "god" is in there. But, I will sing it and feel teary eyed thinking of my grandad, great-grandad and whoever else fought for what I, and so many others, take for granted.

    Sorry for the rant but it helps me to get this out. Especially in writing.

    NOTE: For the non-UK readers, a "Scouser" is someone who comes from Liverpool (yours truly), a Manc is someone from Manchester, Geordie from Newcastle and a Cockney from London.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    It's all about finding your true self and loving ones country of birth is a noble thing deeply rooted and good as long as it doesn't cause any unreasonable bias against other countries to be healthy mentally speaking of course.

    I'm constantly going over my US governmental indoctrination as a kid and my Watchtower corporation indoctrination, and my true feelings about my country of birth.

    Expect lots of epiphanies.

  • cofty

    And a 'weegie' is from Glasgow.

  • smiddy3

    Well said pale emperor as an Aussie i think I can agree with you ,well 75% without the footy thing

  • Simon

    There are those that go seeking every bad thing their country has ever done (often lacking historical context and todays insights and options) but in doing so they miss the major good accomplishments that their country has brought to the world and the stand they have made against the forces of darkness.

    There is a lot to celebrate in how the United Kingdom changed the world. Sure, there were some mistakes and missteps along the way, but we brought order and civilization to the world and many of the things we now take for granted wouldn't be possible without the individual genius or state efforts that went before.

    A good knowledge and appreciation of history is essential for understanding the present IMO.

  • Freedom rocks
    Freedom rocks

    Well said Simon, the UK has some amazing history to research especially from the 15th - 19th centuries. Who knows what the country would be like now if those brave men hadn't fought for our freedom during world war l and ll.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    First, I think that patriotism and nationalism are two terms that “the Society” consistently (and wrongly) conflates.

    Patriotism is completely harmless. All it means is that you support your country, hope it is prosperous, successful, etc..

    Nationalism could be negative/harmful. At its worst, it could mean that you think your country is the greatest, fuck everyone else, you all suck, go to hell, etc..

    That being said, I don’t think I’ll ever be a big flag waver. My father (never a JW) worked for the Department of Defense for around 40 years. Pretty much every round of 120mm ammo that’s been shot from an American tank since the 70s has his fingerprint on it (he led R&D of 120mm tank ammunition).

    Even so, he has never flown a flag at his home, and feels no need wear his allegiance to the USA on his sleeve. His patriotism amounts to his contribution to the safety and welfare of troops and US citizens via the weapons program he spent his life on. That’s it.

    I kind of feel the same. Any jerk can wave a flag or sing a song. I think the most patriotic thing anyone can do is do their best to contribute something, big or small, to their community/country. In my opinion, people who do this — quietly, with little or no recognition — are some of the most patriotic people there are.

  • Alex Bogdanov
    Alex Bogdanov

    I think what is happening to you is fully acceptable. We constantly change through our live by different factors from outside and inside. So all the best with your new you. I live in UK, Wales for ten years and slowly Wales is becoming my mother land as I have more and more connections with it. And even though English anthem (The Queen song) is not Welsh I do love to sing it. It helps me to be part of the British culture.

  • pale.emperor

    Alex, I have a Welsh last name. Wales is only a 45min drive from me and, laughably, I do like to cling to the Welsh side when ruby is on or I see a nice castle in Conwy.

  • Simon
    I see a nice castle in Conwy.

    My wife used to live close to Conwy and our wedding reception had a great view of the Castle from across the bay.

    It always strikes me as kind of funny that the Welsh are so proud of their Castles ... most were actually built by the English as part of their conquest and rule of Wales to keep them subjugated. You wouldn't know it when you go to visit though, most of the "information" signs seem to be pure pro-Welsh propaganda focusing on the Welsh leader Owain Glyndŵr capturing and holding the castle ... for a whole couple of months over a timespan of many hundreds of years.

    Al those battles, and then the English hand it over to the Welsh tourist board. Shame.

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