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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Patriotism Via Attire vs. Patriotism Via Action


Recently, actually, it was on the 4th, I had the discussion about how much I detest the idea of wearing something red, white, and blue on Independence Day. It's not that I don't love my country, I do. And it's not that I don't like letting people know that I love my country. I do. It's just that I feel that wearing your red, white, and blue one day of the year does not make one a patriot.

To me what makes a patriot is one's actions and deeds throughout the year. I show my patriotism by standing up against oppression. I show it by standing for the rights of the minority and in supporting my neighbors and helping my community. I show it by looking for ways to improve this place for future generations. I don't think that I need to don an American flag broach one day a year in order to be a good American.

I was kind of ridiculed for this belief, and told that I was being "Un-American" by rejecting the idea that I needed a flag on my body to prove my good standing as an American citizen. I think the term, "Anti-American liberal" may have been thrown around, mostly in jest, but still, the eye rolls were there, the I-can't-believe-you-are-saying-this looks were being thrown about...It was obvious that I was the only one in that immediate vicinity that felt this way. And then a mini flag on a stick was shoved into my hand, almost as if to say, "Here! Now you are an American."

I reject everything about that. Does that make me a bad citizen? Does that make me unworthy of my country? How did a single day's attire come to trump a lifetime's actions? There is something inherently wrong with the notion that no matter what is done the rest of the year- you can cast your vote to oppress minorities, you can support policies that restrict the rights of good, law abiding, tax paying citizens, you can ignore constitutionally afforded rights, but if you put on some red, white, and blue on July 4th, you are a worthy American, tried and true.

Maybe I'm wrong. It has been known to happen. What are your thoughts on patriotism via attire vs. patriotism via action?

2 cookies cracked:

Heather Mae said...

Honestly, I think you kind of threw the baby out with the bath water. Wearing a gay pride shirt on gay pride day would not negate your support in that manner, so why the stand on this? Why is it a one vs the other? Personally, I don't like the actual flag used as clothing, but I wear say, a red shirt and a blue cap or whatever. It's a celebration of exactly what you practice, not entry into a "club". Just like a gay pride shirt would say," yeah, I feel that way too!".

Angie Schleicher said...

I don't wear gay pride shirts on gay pride day, either. And it's not that I refuse to wear something with a flag or that is red white and blue, it's just that I don't go out of my way to. I rarely wear any of those colors any other day of the year, so why would I wear them on this one? And not wearing them doesn't mean I'm not a patriot or not supportive of the ideals of my country.