How Do We Love Country?

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with patriotism; it feels embedded in my DNA. My father fought in World War I and uncles and cousins in every war since. Memorial Day was an important holiday in my small community in the Dakotas in the 50s. My father marched in the parade in his uniform, and I was the little girl who read “In Flanders Field” in the program in the city park. Love of country

And than came the 60’s. A move to a liberal urban center. The war in Viet Nam. The women’s movement. Anti-war marches and women’s rights protests. And, later, 10 years with the Confederation of Somali Community and its East African Women’s Center. I saw through the eyes of refugee women and children—the survivors who were primarily Somali but also Oromo, Ethiopian, Iraqi, and Afghani—what catastrophic affects war has on families all around the world.

So what now? We have Muslim bans, hate crimes, and proposed increases in military spending—telling me to take another look at work I did after 9/11 when I did a piece on Learning Peace (Current Work). Are my experiences since 9/11—particularly the current political situation—influencing how I define patriotism now? What is the best way for me to love my country when I disagree with so much of what is going on here? When is love of country resistance? And how can making art bring us together?

How is art helping you define and express your views? Please share!

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