Anyway: This thing called patriotism. I think we liberals are way too prone to letting the conservatives tell us we don't have any, without even making them define the term. When it comes to slavish devotion to whoever's in charge, unquestioningly following orders like "Go invade that country, it's pissing me off" and agreeing not to ask the uncomfortable questions, then yeah. They're right. We're a bunch of unpatriotic cowards. But when it comes to honoring the place where you were born, wanting it to succeed against impossible odds, and loving the people and the land that raised you up, then we've got just as much of it as anybody, thankewverymuch.
I kind of found this out the hard way. Not too long ago, there existed for a brief time period the possibility that Joan might get a job in another country. The particular country was Western European, friendly, kind of cold in the winter but otherwise hospitable. Our marriage would have been legal there, which was really cool, and I could have come with as a spouse instead of having to prove my way across the border on my own wildly overeducated two feet. Naturally the subject arose; if this worked out, would we want to remain citizens of the U.S, or become citizens of the new place? For Joan this was a no-brainer; become a citizen of where you are. For me this was also a no-brainer; stay a U.S. citizen and vote absentee. Otherwise there'd be one less vote against Vice-President Palin.
Both perfectly valid points of view, yet it was amazing how much we argued about them. At one point, the question was raised: What's your country done for you, lately, anyway? It's run by idiots, a good number of your fellow citizens want to kill you, another bunch will only tolerate you if you promise not to breathe their air, the smallest corporation in Texas has more human rights than you do and the only reason to even vote in an election is to see what kind of jingoistic bullshit they come up with next. All of which is true, to some extent. Yet, again, to me it's a no-brainer. You just don't bail on your country when it's having a hard time, even if you happen to live on the other side of the world. You sit with it and hold its hand and hope it gets better.
Anyway, Joan didn't get the job, which rendered the argument moot. But I had no idea she felt that way and I don't think she had any idea that I felt the other way. Fifteen years of marriage and we still surprise each other. (And it would have been legal in--oh, never mind.)