One of my professors was telling an interesting story the other day. He said that while travelling abroad in Europe, a student approached him wondering about national pride in America. His question was how we, as Americans, could feel more allegiance and brotherhood with someone living, say, 3,000 miles away in California, than with someone only 200 miles north in Canada. It’s an interesting question, don’t you think? The way the student perceived it, it made more sense that we should feel a stronger sense of attachment to the persons closer to us, because in all likelihood, those are the people with which we have the most in common.
It’s a fair argument to make.
Of course, me being me (with the attention span of a goldfish), I started to wonder if I could think up a way–a metaphor–for explaining the sense of comradery with strangers that exists between Americans, or citizens of any country for that matter. Basically, the best I could come up with is this:
You’re driving down a busy highway and some turd cuts you off. You want to shout super mean things at them, but then you realize they drive a Chevrolet Silverado. And hey, YOU drive a Chevy Silverado! You might be more willing to let them off because you have similar taste.
Or maybe you’re at the mall and some brat cuts you off before you can buy that freaking Mrs. Fields cookie that has been on your mind for the last half an hour while you were trying on homecoming dresses (ugh, bad memories!). You’re going to say something to her, like “um, excuse me, Miss,” followed by a string of words that aren’t so nice, but then you realize that you really like her bag. It’s super cute and has Big Bang Theory jokes written on it. And who could possibly own that bag and be a horrible person? (Bad argument, but it’s two in the morning, try and stay with me).
I guess my point is that we tend to feel a bond toward people we have something in common with (no duh), but even if that “thing” is simply the fact that we live together in America, we would still be more likely to come to their aid in a time of war than the person who doesn’t live in our country, right? But then it begs the question: “what if, outside of the countries you live in, you have more in common with the person you’re fighting against? Maybe (s)he likes the Big Bang Theory AND Batman”.
I did mention it is two A.M. right? It is way too early/late to have such deep thoughts. I don’t know what it is about this time of night but it always makes me want to ponder the world. But then I realize that I’m too tired to ponder anything for very long because before I know it, I’m thinking about ice cream and the case of Vanilla Coke in my fridge, and how much I have to pee but don’t really want to move from my spot on the couch because I’m super comfortable right now. Except for the part where my bladder might explode if I don’t actually get up.
Don’t you dare judge me, you know you’ve had this inner conflict at least once before in your life. Admit it! Comfortable positions are not that easy to find, the struggle is real!