a confused patriot
For me, A Patriot’s Journal was Williams’s most compelling essay. I’ve been thinking about patriotism this week because I have strong and contradictory sentiments about the current escalating military conflict in Gaza/Israel. The images from this most recent iteration of the war are disturbing--they always have been. As usual, these pictures have prompted me to think about the images we don’t have from this country’s similar military conflict. My country’s war which resulted in European control of this land. This land which I feel so lucky to call my home. This land that I love.
Connection to place may be erotic, but it it is not unadulterated. It can’t be, and that’s OK. What’s not OK is to deny this fact. Through her writing, Williams demonstrates that she can think. Like me, she must have strong and contradictory sentiments on home and homeland. I wish she had grappled with them in her writing.
The complexity that accompanies loving this land is scary. Perhaps this is why Williams constructed categorical distinction between peace and war, violence and non-violence, what is good and what is bad. To protect myself, I often do this too. Sometimes it feels like this is the only way I can love this country. But I need my writers to set an example for me--I need role models.
I would have liked to know more about her uncle and his “hobbies” (p.98). I would have liked to know more about the delivery men and their willingness to die for this country (p. 108). I would have liked to know more about her nieces and the American flag on their porch (p. 112). I would have liked to know more about what it is to be a patriot.