Welcome to Things That Are Weird, Part III! Today’s issue will not likely be popular with people like some of my eldest relatives, especially my grandmother. Fortunately my geriatric reader base is reportedly still trying to figure out how the Internet works, so I doubt they’ll find me. I think they currently believe it to be a series of tubes (yes, it’s okay to joke at the elderly’s expense, I promise.)
Anyway, back to Part III: America the Strange!
I love my home country, but it’s less like actual love and more like kind of a general appreciation. The USA has a lot of different cultures and really stands out to me as proof that we really all could live together in harmony. America offers great opportunities to a lot of people, but it’s certainly not perfect.
My point being: We’re weird about patriotism.
Seriously, patriotism is weird. Everyone pretends to be 100% team America, like all the time. Some people literally never stop praising the United States and wearing flags.
That’s another thing: we put flags on everything. If you can wear it, there’s a star-spangled version of it. We have flags on barns, flags on cars, flags on every random thing. Our politicians lose face if they’re not wearing a flag pin on their lapel, and probably stars-and-stripes underwear too. It’s pervaded all aspects of our politics (Both parties are for Team America, but which is for the right Team America?)
And this isn’t just on Fourth of July or President’s day, this is any random day. There are people so decked out in American flags that it hurts to look at them. It’s flag-ception. Or maybe Xzibit came along and said “I heard you like flags, so I put flags on your flags so you can pledge while you pledge.” (Yes, I know that reference is old and no longer funny.)
Which reminds me: The Pledge of Allegiance is really weird.
I did the Pledge every day throughout all of my primary and secondary education. After a while we didn’t have to recite it, and eventually even putting your hand over your heart became optional. But you still must stand while the pledge is being said.
Oh, and there’s the fact that it’s inarguably creepy that everyone my age can recite It from memory.
This is some brainwashing-level patriotism. If you were told that every child in all of China could recite a pledge to of allegiance their country’s symbol, and did it every day, you would probably think it at least a little strange. We’re not any different. Every single one of us was not only taught to respect our traditional (and daily) ritual, but to feel proud of it just because we happened to be born here. You can’t do that on a voluntary basis, you have to force it into someone’s head.
So yes, we literally manufacture our own hardcore patriots. You either become decked out in flags, or incredibly cynical. Guess which one I am.