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nationalism makes me cry
Something i have started to see emerging in the past few weeks is a reasoned, literate support for Trump based on the idea of nationalism. I am so very not okay with that.

Let's get the other baskets of deplorables out of the way first, though.

It was sad to see both mainstream and religious conservatives fall in line and vote for a person they all railed against during the primaries. It seems most Republicans are privileged enough that they would pull the lever for a potato as long as it could sign their party's bills. Further to the right are the honest-to-God neo-nazis who are overjoyed to have one or two of their own in the White House now. And it's no surprise to those of us who had to suffer through Gamergate and the Sad Puppies nonsense that the internet troll brigade also voted for him. They are a bunch of sad little sociopaths with nothing better to do than find ways to oppress and irritate women, PoC and other decent human beings. But all of these groups were known quantities to me in American politics.

What's new to me are the nationalists. Not white supremacist half-wits, but people from racially diverse backgrounds who take the idea of defending America's identity seriously. These are the slippery folks who extend a hand to the left because they speak out against free trade and interventionism, while also hating on immigration, multiculturalism and international cooperation. On Facebook the other day i saw a comment by someone who explained that this was his actual reason for voting Trump. Because neoliberalism failed, internationalism failed, interdependence is a lie - the only path forward is for all countries in the world to become strong, independent nation-states.

That is fucking chilling to me.

I haven't studied enough history to be able to hold a well-researched opinion, but just instinctively nationalism horrifies me. Let's forget about the fact that some of the most evil regimes of all time were nationalist. Considering your own nation superior - something whose culture must be protected and kept "pure" - means writing off the vast majority of human beings in the world as inferior. It's just staggering to me that anyone can think this way. It's appalling enough that people are bigoted against a particular race, or a particular religion, or even a gender, but this notion that building a (figurative) wall around a culture is a good idea is a whole nother level of despicable. It's nuts. The whole thing that makes each culture what it is today is the building upon and intermingling of different cultures that came beforehand.

Not to mention it is hideously privileged for people in rich, first-world countries to claim the world would be better off with "every nation for himself" when they only got to the top of the food chain by thoroughly exploiting poor, third-world countries. And, FOR FUCK'S SAKE, white Americans in particular don't have a leg to stand on because they forcibly relocated hundreds of sovereign nations to build their own nation on the bones of indigenous Americans and African slaves.

But who needs that guilt trip, right?

Modern Americans get a lot of flak for being crazy in love with themselves. All those flags and pledges of allegiance and whatnot. Personally i find American patriotism - even jingoism - quite sweet. It's fun to be part of a club, to sing a song that lifts everyone's spirits and wave a flag that you identify with. We all like to cheer on a team, and it's totally fine to be proud of all the great stuff that team does. But holy hell. Watch out, guys, because it is slipping into something far more sinister.

To see people deny cultural progress so utterly, dismiss the needs of every other human being outside of an imaginary line... And then to stand behind these views like they are an entirely legitimate political position... I feel like i'm living in some kind of barbaric dark age. And America isn't alone - it's happening all over Europe too. Every time i stumble across another instance of this insanity i am shocked all over again. As a life-long immigrant i am personally hurt that people think this way because it denies my very existence. As a human being it just disappoints and dismays me. I am not sure what i can do.

A tiny part of me hopes that by traveling, writing, talking, i can help remind people that foreigners aren't aggressive or scary or "scum". We are just human beings. Why can't people see that?

Howard Jones - Like To Get To Know You Well (UK video)

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To see people deny cultural progress so utterly, dismiss the needs of every other human being outside of an imaginary line... And then to stand behind these views like they are an entirely legitimate political position... I feel like i'm living in some kind of barbaric dark age.

just...thank you for this. it's so beautifully stated and perfectly captures exactly how i've been feeling and seeing these days. i haven't been able to get much out of poking and prodding my feelings aside from a lot of incoherent screaming, so seeing the words helps to clarify a lot.

Often I feel like my journal is just incoherent screaming too, especially when I go back and read a rant I made a week or a month ago so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Glad it could clarify things for you. I guess that's why I write for me too - just to try make some sense of my thoughts in the moment.

Ah, me too :(

I'm really glad that DiEM25 was formed (I joined it) but this talk they held in London the other week only depressed me more: https://youtu.be/AraqxOnOS64 The Yugoslav, Turkish and Greek perspectives are sobering.

Thanks for posting this. I didn't have time to watch it till this afternoon, but it was definitely worth it.

but if the world is made up of independent nation-states, who will we oppress and exploit to prove our superiority and fill our houses with cheap shit?

plus you're totally right that it's such a marker of national privilege for wealthy first-world countries to become every-country-for-itself places. we'll be fine. all those non-wealthy, non-first-world countries won't be.

and this is totally unrelated, but i found a video about living on a container ship and thought of you.

Thanks for the video link, I will definitely check it out this weekend. I am totally excited, I signed all the forms this week so I am locked in! 🚢

Ugh, yes I agree. As an American, and as a human being, I'm overwhelmed with disappointment, fear and dismay at seeing the rise of ugly, racially-fueled populism in my country and across Europe. I felt like for the past 8 years, we might've been getting somewhere, while it was far from perfect, there was some hope that different groups of people might be able to learn to get along... and now there is this hate-filled, divisive backlash and we're going backwards again :(

I guess this is just the "circle of life" and we shouldn't let ourselves get too dismayed by it all. On the other hand, I feel like the nationalist surge happening on both the right and the left is some kind of fundamental shift in core values that I am not okay with. I am not sure right now if it is just two-steps-forward-one-step-back or something bigger. I am probably too close to the core issues to be objective 😕

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