Musings: Patriotism

I have been asked to write a song for an independent short film that deals with the notion of patriotism, through the filter of both America and Ireland. I am quite excited to contribute a song, and while it would have been easy to find some good old Irish ditty and then wrote my own melody, that never feels satisfying to me. I have to delve, to root in the notion of it and find my own way through the concept. It has been a haze in my mind for the last few weeks, I cannot seem to discern anything real, all feels vague, mountainous shapes that lack any detail. I am not particularly patriotic myself. I feel disconnected from government and feel no swell in my heart when I sing the national anthem. Yet, there is a simple pride in naming myself that way, so I know there is some identity that I wear. There is some need in me to unveil this pride, to understand its origin. What is it that makes a country? The land? The people? The culture? The religion? Of the land there is no question to me, it seems to have its own consciousness and shapes the people that live there. There is an interaction that occurs and it often feels that the creative output of any given place is infused with some indescribable presence that exhumes itself over and over. Of course I then have to ask, are we so shaped by where we live or do we choose to live where the forms the land presses upon us feel resonant? Are we drawn to where we fit? Of the culture, that is where I start to feel as if I am wading through mud. I am long bothered by wars that pit one way of being or thinking against another. There seems no end to such hate and fear that masks itself behind notions of love for country and love for god. I often think of patriotism as blind following, but perhaps there are other ways of decoding such a feeling. When a country values freedom in its laws and practices, does it not stand to reason that being free to choose one's course of action and taking such choice despite all manner of pressure could be seen as an act of patriotism? That is patriotism I could get behind. It is the following, the razor sharp oaths forced on unwilling tongues that have me shunning the idea of calling myself a patriot. The lyrics for this song do not come easily, so I write, and wait for the tumbling thoughts to settle into a pattern, like reading tea leaves ~laugh~

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