Nationalism: We think of waving the flag in the air, saluting the flag every morning, singing the national anthem. Being a patriot. There’s always a few, right?
Banal Nationalism: It’s the nationalism of the ordinary person. In the United States, this means – carrying US dollars in your pocket. Watching CNN, or Fox News, and keeping abreast of the Democrats or the Republicans. It’s caring about Black Lives Matters, or being opposed. It’s knowing who George Washington is, and Martin Luther King. It’s just the “ordinary” things of living in the United States. It’s also the curious ways in which world news is really American news, and American means the United States of America.
The Banal Nationalism isn’t the same thing as being a Nationalist. The Banal Nationalist doesn’t think, “Pax Americana.” The Banal Nationalist doesn’t wake up every morning and say, “I am proud to be an American.” Instead, the banal nationalist opens a web browser to CNN.com, and looks on Facebook and sees what other Americans are seeing, reads what other Americans are reading, and thinks about things in an American way.
This isn’t specifically about Americans; I just happen to be one.
Rather, it’s about how the nervous system of the person is linked to the nervous system of the state in who’s jurisdiction that nervous system lives. It’s about noticing the box of the nation, and how the box of the person and the box of the nation are linked.