Nationalism is a term that may cause a lot of people to beam with pride. People shouting “‘Merica!” or proudly waving the American flag on their front lawn only scratch at the surface of true nationalism. This behavior does not just appear at football stadiums when a celebrity sings that National Anthem. Nationalism should not be limited to celebrating the Fourth of July at your best friend’s lake house. Don’t forget that the French celebrate Bastille Day. Although this holiday is still somewhat new, the Germans celebrate Tag der Deutschen Einheit. The Russians celebrate Victory Day, which is akin to Veterans Day in America. The list goes on and on. These examples prove why people automatically think of their country or ethnicity whenever nationalism is discussed. We use nationalism to make all about ourselves. People will defend their values because of their country. This attitude should not alarm anyone since pride has become synonymous with nationalism over time, and this effect is not completely wrong either. To me, I am starting to notice that nationalism can also constitute as an extreme case of enthusiasm. People should not be ashamed of where they are from or how they were raised. However, some of the enthusiasm in nationalism can filter into an appreciation for other cultures, which I consider to be post-nationalism. My respect for my country should never turn into self-absorption. This term does not mean that I’m degrading my country or another country across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. My goal is not to thoroughly discuss geopolitics and how it can shift the identity of a country and its constitution. Instead, I am looking for other ways to connect with other people who were not raised the same way that I was or who do not live in the United States of America. In fact, one overlooked example of post-nationalism is St. Patrick’s Day. Americans are just as enthusiastic about wearing green and drinking a pint of Guinness as much as the Irish are, even though the Americans and the Irish may some differing attitudes about religion or politics. These issues do not hinder how everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Might I add that many Americans also celebrate Cinco de Mayo with much gusto. We have taken this victory and turned into an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture in America. Millennials especially have many more opportunities to practice post-nationalism other than celebrating a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo because of how convenient social media is.
I will be the first person to admit that technological advancements have shaped how a lot of people, who are around my age, communicate with each other. The expression of nationalism has changed due to how many millennials identify with each other. Social media can break down barriers between strangers, especially if they have different interests, goals, and talents. When communication changes, your attitude will change as well. Nationalism can now be seen as values versus just your background or nationality. I have many friends who are white male or female Caucasians like me. More specifically, some of my best friends grew up in a different environment than me or have a different ethnicity. These friendships have opened my eyes to how nationalism fares throughout the entire world. I attribute some of my friendships to social media because that’s how I stay in touch with most of them. Yet, I am cautious to not let technology erase any type of emotion because my incentive is to build a web from my home to various cities, especially places that I have not visited. I try not to be dependent on social media for my personal needs. Not matter how far away you are from loved ones, you should set aside time to call, text, or even skype with people that you care about. The same mindset applies to making new friendships. Millennials particularly need to look at their emotions since we are associated constantly with social media. Post-nationalism can be practiced through a healthy use of social media, not a sole dependency on apps. We all learn about someone’s story if we use the technology that has been provided to us for learning opportunities about what my peers truly want. This approach to social media has allowed nationalism to include your core values, not just your nationality. Post-nationalism and social media go hand in hand if we use our time to connect with other people all around the world. An obvious effect of social media is exposure. We all not only learn more about someone if we are exposed to their own idea of nationalism, but we also get a glimpse of their attitude. Attitude is the most important element in finding and understanding your core values.
Your reaction to your neighbor’s lifestyle speaks volumes about your reaction to nationalism. Social media can either distort or nourish your definition of post-nationalism. In fact, attitude can be seen as the bridge between nationalism and post-nationalism. I am also aware that culture shock exists. Sometimes, a negative reaction can be a part of developing post-nationalism because sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone when meeting new people. For every person that waves their flag at a soccer match, there is also a blue-collared worker who condemns Americans for how much they eat or how frequently they spend money. While some graduates are working several jobs to pay off student loans, other people complain about not having Wi-Fi just to waste time with social media. More importantly, we should be challenged to at least appreciate different cultures and how some countries have impacted the world, even if we do not agree with how others might live. The initial step of appreciation can lead to the friendships that we all desire, for being distant from others is not an excuse to ignore an opportunity to grow more This open-mindedness is one step forward to post-nationalism. Your values can contribute more to post-nationalism if we all have a willingness to share time with each other. Tensions between everyone go away when we discuss someone’s values, or personal opinion, and why these ideas matter instead of just being told about their background. The transition from nationalism to post-nationalism continues to progress because my interactions with my friends and acquaintances have been strengthened by how I use social media. One of my many goals in life is to be a dependable friend. I want to be known as that guy that my peers can count on, no matter the circumstances. This core value has sharpened how I use Facebook, Twitter or even just my email. If I am going to stay connected with the outside world, my desire for strong relationships must be a focal point for my generation’s idea of post-nationalism.