The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin ‘pater’, which means “father”, through the Greek ‘patris’ (fatherland) -> ‘patrios’ (of one’s fathers) -> ‘patriotes’ (fellow countrymen). Doesn’t say anything about mothers. But, of course, there’s a reason for that. A reason that makes sense culturally/historically.
So there are people who hate the *word* ‘patriotism’ because it refers to an “all-male, patriarchal system of devotion to a blah-blah-blah method of systematic dehumanization and blah blah blah persecution blah blah blah”. Some people hate *words*. Others hate their meanings and connotations, and/or the history these words represent. It’s pretty amazing when you consider how wrong is the old taunt ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’.
Today is a day many Canadians celebrate their heritage. Their ‘patriotism’. And there are a number of people who refuse to do so. And because we are afforded freedom of speech and expression in this country, those folks get to express how much they detest and hate the country in which they live, for any number of reasons. I think we must support everyone’s right to express themselves.
It bothers me, because I *am* happy to live in Canada. My heritage is Canadian. I think this is a *great* country. We have some Issues, and that’s not surprising, because every country has Issues. I mean, we totally suck at environmental/ecological protection and preservation. We completely suck at renewable resource implementation. We sort of suck at a lot of other things, and we rock at a few things. At least, we did rock at a few things; I’m not sure we will with the current government, but there it is.
Hearing our Prime Minister say that Canada has “no history of colonialism” was just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, f’rinstance. It’d be like saying Canada has no history of apartheid. Now, I don’t know the exact date, but it’s been only in the last fifty or so years that Aboriginal peoples living in Canada were actually *included in the Canadian constitution*. Indians, in other words, were not “Canadians” for most of Canada’s history, even though we had treaties (and then when Aboriginal peoples were included in Canada’s legislation as “Canadians”, nobody actually thought to *ask* anyone if they actually *wanted* to be Canadians; in typical Canadian fashion, folks just assumed EVERYONE wants to be Canadian). Aboriginal peoples were not permitted to vote, at all, for most of the last 500 years.
There are many, many countries in the world with histories and track records worse than Canadas, and there are a few countries with better. Which isn’t the point, really. The point is, I *get* why there are some people for whom the idea of celebrating Canada Day is anathema. And I think that’s fine.
For me, I feel very fortunate indeed that my ancestors chose Canada to escape their own cultural decimation and forced starvation. I feel very fortunate indeed that I live in a country that works to protect and promote human rights. I think Canada has, at the very least, an incredibly interesting history (and it’s really unfortunate that Canadian history is presented as boring, or, worse yet, isn’t taught at all).
Anyway, for those of you who celebrate Canada Day, Happy Canada Day! And for those of you who don’t, Happy Day of celebrating your own Heritage!
I like July.