A Reflection on Patriotism

On this day, I choose to reflect upon what it means to navigate the increasingly muddied waters of patriotism and nationalism. I choose to reflect upon the idea that authentic patriotism ensures that it is our deep-rooted obligation to speak out against injustice. To do otherwise would be complacency and arrogance. Given the global political shift towards the right, those are things we just don’t have the capacity for.

So, I call on everyone to reject this misguided notion that constructive criticism of a nation’s inequitable systems is indicative of a lack of patriotism. It isn’t. In fact, it’s patriotism at its most foundational level. It is holding the land you hold dear to a higher standard.

This poem is an ode to the brave souls who tirelessly speak out against injustice. This is an ode to those who fight the good fight, in spite of being labelled unpatriotic. Because they understand that speaking out against abuse of power is not synonymous with hating the nation they call home.  They understand that which is so important: That authentic patriotism manifests itself when we speak truth to power.

I wave my colors,

Proud and free.


A trifecta of that blue, white, and red,

Under a cerulean ceiling so evergreen.


Wander wide and wander free,

As a noir abyss advances menacingly.


I hunt for dissent,

Sleek and sly.


Hunt for the non-compliant,

Voices that cry.


The abyss swallows us whole,

“I did not know!”


That as my neighbor cried,

He cried for truth.


That truth festered,

And swallowed us whole.


For we did not speak up,

And surely paid the toll.