New Yorker Pat Benatar was hard to not see on the early days of MTV. This song, from 1984, does use a children’s choir to manufacture emotion, but was a hit. Since then, it’s become a pop culture meme, in Will Farrell movies, on Saturday Night Live and has many covers.
We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder… Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better… We belong, we belong, we belong together… Have we become a habit, do we distort the facts … Now there’s no looking forward, now there’s no turning back, when you say…
The concept of belonging is an important one in politics and government. It is a way of describing what makes a nation a nation.
Ernest Renan was a French writer who way back in 1882 wrote “Qu’est-ce qu’une Nation?” and answered his own question. A nation is “a great solidarity, created by the sentiment of the sacrifices which have been made and of those which one is disposed to make in the future.”
Being part of a nation is belonging, like the song, together. It is a shared identity, an attachment to ourselves, if you will. It’s based on our ideas, attitudes, orientations, beliefs, whatever… that links us to the larger group.
This makes the notion of a nation a fluid, intangible concept based on a state of mind and what we think and feel, in our hearts, but is also based on things a great number of people might share, including race, language, traditions, faith and even government.
Pat Benatar wants to be all together, but let’s be clear: different nations have different conceptions of the world, and can disagree and clash. Often that has been because nations have been stuck together in single countries, and want to start their own.
Also by Benatar, reviewed here: Hit Me With Your Best Shot