Well, I’m sure your July 4th plans have shaped up by now. You’re going to wave the flag, praise our president, and feel proud as hell.
Not. Or not exactly. I know you are a complete patriot though, marinated in the gratitude that comes from being free. You’re someone wanting to make meaning out of this upcoming holiday, right? Of course you are.
As much as I love a good John Philip Sousa march (here are downloads of him conducting some!), and as much as I instinctively groove to the big ego of nationalism, I see that it is past time to focus on ways to meld the boundaries between nations and see the world globally.
Here are some quotes on nationalism that will really get you thinking as you prepare your July 4th festivities.
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?” – Pablo Casals
”Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them!” – Albert Einstein
“To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family.” – Buddha
The Network of Spiritual Progressives is encouraging its chapters to celebrate July 4th as “Inter-Dependence Day.” Group leaders write:
Our point is to take a traditional ultra-nationalist holiday with its theme of “bombs bursting in air,” and American triumphalism, and reshape it in two ways:
A. to affirm all the good in America, particularly the struggles of ordinary citizens that led to the expansion of democratic rights and civil liberties throughout the past two hundred and thirty one years.
B. to affirm that in the 21st century there is no such thing as “independence” without affirming and thinking in terms of our inter-dependence with all other people on the planet, and with the planet itself–so our celebration seeks to transcend chauvinist nationalism and affirm a democratic and human-rights and generosity-oriented internationalism.
Read more about the effort here. Here’s a Beliefnet article by spiritual teacher Raphael Cushnir that raised the same points a few years ago.
Start talking to your family members about ways you might commemorate how our wellbeing, as a people, is linked to the wellbeing of everyone on the planet. It’s a great topic of conversation around the picnic table. Click here to join the Network of Spiritual Progressives so you can be exposed to more of their provocative ideas.
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