posted on Nov, 29 2004 @ 01:35 AM
An interesting option here is perhaps the concept of being authentically native to a place. This is an idea explored far more adequately by agrarian
and environmental writers than I could do justice.
Regardless, the idea is that we actually become rooted to a community and a landscape. Our culture of fluidity in labor demands that we be able to be
transferred from Washington to Chicago in the name of that job. So, we have no authentic commitment to the place we live(d) in. We fail to genuinely
live anywhere. Our towns in such a society are husks of actual communities. Becoming native means living downstream from one another. It means
buying locally. It means caring for the long-term of a place because your identity is genuinely intertwined with it's health and vivacity. If a
river is dammed in your fishing community, you will suffer as unemployment guts the town. If big-box stores come in and push out small businesses,
you feel the difference.
That is what I think a healthy form of nationalism. It's not just a commitment to a few nebulous ideas like freedom and democracy (though they are
certainly good things!). Nationalism means nativity, nativeness. You're not just in a public debate to protect your place' name and
reputation("America is a great country!" and all that...). You're in it because you care about that little corner of the land that you call your
own community. Your neighbors and coworkers. For example, maybe you side against a draft because it would mean those fine young men in your aging
community would leave. It means having your fingers always on the pulse of your neighbors and home land.
If we all lived like this in our own communities, the world would change. Thinking globally and acting locally is what real nationalism is. Seeing
the interconnectedness of the overall health of all communities of life -- human, political, economic, ecological, biological, spiritual -- is deep
and real nationalism.