All of you who have attended BYU know that twice daily when the flag is raised and lowered, the national anthem blasts over loudspeakers. Everyone stops dead in their tracks, faces the flag even if it is not in view, and puts their hands over their hearts until the song is over. It can be shocking, confusing, and even awe-inspiring to those who are unfamiliar with the ritual.
I play the role of conscientious objector daily by refusing to follow suit. It is not because I am unpatriotic or attempting to make a political stance about my dissatisfaction with the state of the nation, but because I feel a deep discomfort in my chest about joining in.
In my mind, it is reminiscent of other countries' rituals that Americans are so keen to criticize as being overly nationalistic.
In some ways, I feel very proudly patriotic for being the lone one on campus; the sore thumb, the liberal, the conscientious objector; because in this country and on BYU campus, I know I will receive no more than a few weird looks as a consequence.
this is a collage i made venting my frustration on this topic.


Tom said...

So, how do you define the difference between nationalism and patriotism? Do you think they are synonymous with merely different connotations? Does this post mean you aren't just recently proud of your country for the first time?

On military bases even the cars stop for the flag.


MiriamR said...

There is a big difference between nationalism and Patriotism. Nationalism is being apart of that nation doing those traditions acting the way they act speaking the way they speak. Patriotism is standing up for your country not just living in it. Random sorry studied that alot in differnt countries. Anyway I LOVE this post. I am not american but I respect the patriotism of americans. I never put my hand on my heart because well its not my flag but I would always stop what I was doing and try to figure out where the flag was and face that direction. However I shamefully admit that I would try my best to avoid being on campus at like 515 in the afternoon or try to be indoors. It just made me feel strange everyone staring if you don't have your hand on your heart. I am glad you can relate or at least you get it. Yay I always wondered about it but didn't want to offend anyone by asking what was appropriate. I always got alot of rude comments about why I wouldn't want to be an american (because I said I might not get citizenship)
Anyway I think there are a lot more democrats on that campus than most think.

Oh and with the stoping for the flag well sometimes if I saw someone else doing it I would keep walking, my freshman year I had to take a bus for an hour and I missed it once because of the anthem so yeah sometimes you just have to run through it.

Oh and I know that this annoyed alot of the international students. But I think if you chose to live or go to school in another country you need to conform to the respectful rituals, at least as long as you chose to reside there

laura said...

Okay, okay, some clarifications. I actually don't keep walking through the national anthem because that feels a little too disrespectful, but I don't put my hand over my heart.
And to answer you, Tom, I am not Michelle Obama and I am not going to start putting my hand over my heart because Obama has been elected. I think that this particular ritual can stir appropriate feelings of patriotism in others, but that for me it doesn't and actually feels really uncomfortable.

Ways that I would demonstrate patriotism:
serving on a jury
campaigning or protesting

I think that both of you have better experience to draw from than myself regarding this topic. Thanks for your comments.

And that is so funny that you missed your bus, Miriam! I would for sure run through it in that case...

Oh- and one last point. I don't object to BYU's practice of this tradition, I'm just happy that I don't have to participate.

Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

Yeah, that seems a bit like the Pharisees or Ramiumptum I suppose, but I still appreciate the fact that we said the Pledge of Allegiance daily at American Heritage. It instilled a deep respect within me for the Founding Fathers and for the principles which identified a very successful America. I still value those beliefs, and feel it a privilege, in general, to acknowledge those first ideals that made our country so successful.

Carroll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carroll said...

I decide to delete my first comment. I have left a response to Laura's blog on the Barloweblog site.