This I Believe

Romain - Littleton, Colorado
Entered on May 7, 2007

Our Country’s World.

A Patriot is defined as “somebody who proudly supports or defends his or her country and its way of life.” Many people world wide today are proud to demonstrate their patriotism. Americans, for example display flags on their porch, they wear the fifty stars and thirteen stripes on their T-shirts, and they even have patriotic bumper stickers on their big American cars.

It is commendable to be proud of the group you belong to and to want the success of your society. Being patriotic also keeps unity, gathering all of the citizens under the same banner. Patriots are generous of themselves wanting to contribute to their society and are willing to go as far as giving their lives to protect and defend their beloved country.

I believe that when pride becomes too excessive, it turns into negative jingoism towards other nations who are seen as a competition or an opponent. Countries are not structured to work by themselves; there is a great amount of reliance, which countries all over the globe have for each other. If there was a little gust blowing over the Chinese stock market, it would become a storm on the New York stock market.

I first realized that patriotism has many quirks when I arrived at Peabody Elementary in 4th grade. I was introduced to a whole new level of patriotism that I had been completely oblivious to. The first day, I was surrounded by people reciting a poem to the American Flag! I was mocked when I did not know the words of “The Pledge of Allegiance”. Not long after as a class assignment, the teacher asked us to write a speech about “Being Patriotic.” We were going to present these speeches in an assembly along with classic American songs we had learned. My speech did not talk about Patriotism, but about the fact that we need to be ready to fight for our planet rather than our country. I called it “Being Planetotic.” I thought I had been very clever. I was honestly surprised to hear my teacher, Mrs. Lewis tell me “I am sorry Romain, we cannot let you present your speech. It doesn’t give the audience the right idea of what patriotism is all about.”

It made me ponder. I didn’t know why culture had to be so self absorbed. I did not know why all the things other countries had done for the United States were given no credit. I believe we need to celebrate diversity of humanity. What you do in your sheltered world has consequences all over the planet. Borders are obsolete.

I believe it is indispensable in today’s world for people to be aware of the world outside their native realm. Countries cannot be successful by themselves. I believe many countries need to start living on a global scale because it is important to keep not only one country, but the world in tune.

Patriotism is obsolete. It is time to be planetotic. And this, I believe.