Researchers at the University of Unceded Territory say they have made a discovery that could turn a deeply nuanced world on its binary head: an entirely new type of patriotism. One in which, rather than unquestioningly paying allegiance to a national entity that has caused, and continues to cause, suffering and distress, citizens are able to both celebrate their homeland and want to improve it at the same time.
“Our study shows that it is in fact possible for people to sing a national anthem while also asking for national answers to hard questions,” said Dr. D. Collenisser, lead researcher on the team that discovered the new strain of national loyalty, which they have provisionally called: Never-too-latriotism.
“Or to take a break from singing entirely, so as to better listen.”
The findings were immediately called into question by people who prefer their world painted in simplistic national colours, and have hung the hats of their identity on hooks that are still bedded in the heads of others.
“What’s done is done and it’s time to move on,” said Belleville, Ontario resident Tim Newman, taking a break from weeding his garden to discuss the importance of not tending his nation.
“We can’t go revisiting the past. Except selectively, as in when it plays into a narrative that we are somehow better than other countries and thus have no work to do here.”
Asked to respond to these, and the many other complaints from people who will spend Canada Day listening to The Tragically Hip while ignoring Gord Downie’s work on reconciliation with Canada’s First Peoples, Dr. D. Collenisser was firm.
“If your house was turning 153 you would, while enjoying the shelter it provides, still ask yourself what needs fixing,” the researcher said, rolling up his sleeves.
“And if the foundations themselves were found to be shaky, or worse, built on ill-gotten land, you would have to reckon with that as well. Perhaps your home will need new underpinnings. Perhaps it will require restitution. Or perhaps you will need to be very brave, and take it down, so that you can raise something truly equitable, and just, in its place.”