St Patrick’s Day: Why are we expected to love our own countries more than other countries?
St Patrick’s Day is here, bringing together two of my pet peeves: Patriotism and alcohol. The latter I hate because it turns me into a total plonker, (which today is extra evident because it is Sunday), and the former because it is what people resort to when they have nothing else to be proud of but “their” country.
I have never really understood why you are meant to love the one country you were born in more than another country, just for the simple fact that you were born there. And when you don’t claim that Ireland or Sweden or Jamaica is the best country in the world, you get frowned upon by your fellow citizens.
A dangerous trait
I’m happy to have been born and raised in Sweden, but I’m not proud to be Swedish. Sweden is a great country in many ways, but that is not exactly down to me. Has your country got a great history? Cool, but you didn’t write it. Other people who happened to be born not too far away from you did.
Pride is a wonderful feeling, but also a dangerous trait. “We are the best” is not far off from saying “you are slightly lesser”. Patriotism is something rich people fool poor people into believing, only to send them to war.
Moreover, patriots can be really annoying. I once dated an Irishman who would praise everything that came out of Ireland, regardless of its quality. The Irish were God’s gift to the world while French people (with their food, fashion, art, music, wine and culture) were rubbish in comparison. When he claimed that Obama was Irish (O’bama) I realised that it was time to get out.
While I don’t wish to rain on anyone’s parade, I do believe it is my right as a human (plonker) to express my views. If people want to get plastered on St Patrick’s Day and dance around the street wearing green hats, that’s fine. But can you at least make sure to do it just on March 17?
Tired of arguing who’s the best
Coming from a very multi-cultural background myself, I am well aware of how great different cultures are. But I am also sick of arguing about who’s country is the best and why (I have had countless discussions like these with my Finnish cousins and they always bring up the sauna).
I’m proud of a lot of things – doing my degree, the awesome texts I write, being an honest person. But am I proud over a flag I didn’t sew and a bit of land I didn’t conquer? Not really.