On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism - that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder - one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking - cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on - have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power. National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours - huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction - what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy. That self-deception started early.
Howard Zinn, “Put away the flags,” The Progressive, July 3, 2006