Daily Prompt I Pledge Allegiance Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?
That’s an INCREDIBLY personal question and one I find very, very, very offensive. I lived in China not long after the period in which one either loved the mother country (in a way others could understand) or they were thrown into a tiger pit until they “got the suicide.” EVERY teenager and adult I met during that time REMEMBERED the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (that ended only a few years before) as a reign of patriotic terror. I was privileged to learn piano from a man whose family fled the Nazis because they didn’t fit the “pattern” of TRUE Germans. In sixth grade, I had the chance to sing Spanish Christmas songs to a group of refugees from Franco’s Spain, old and young, who sat listening with tears rolling down their cheeks. My life has been filled with many stories of people displaced or broken as a result of “patriotism.”
One of the most noxious moments of my life was a week after 9/11/2001 when, at noon at my university, everyone was SUPPOSED TO stand in the quad, hand on heart and REMEMBER. Back in that time most people wore little flag pins. I didn’t. I know incipient totalitarianism when I see it.
One of my students walked out of class with me toward the quad. “Where’s your flag pin?” she asked.
“In here,” I said, pointing to my heart. “Where’s it supposed to be?”
She threw hers in the trash.
There’s nothing good about systematized hate, Xenophobia or any other “us vs. them” “mine is better” knee-jerking. It ultimately boils down to the deaths of children, someone’s baby or someone’s 19 year old.
No, I’m not a pacifist, nor am I without ethics or love for the landscape and people surrounding me. I also love the ideals on which this country was founded and they did not include a “Pledge of Allegiance.” If allegiance is deserved, does anyone need to pledge publicly? If you love something, you are engaged in loving it, caring for it, supporting it; you don’t have to go around saying so all five minutes.
Take that, NSA, TSA, CIA or who ever is behind the relentlessly personal questions posing as “prompts” here on WordPress. 🙂