Well, today was an interesting day.
First period rolls around, so we get announcements and stuff which includes the 40 seconds of silence and the pledge to the flag. I was feeling a bit less than patriotic today, so I didn’t stand, and remained oblivious to my teacher commanding everyone in my class to stand for the flag. I refused to do so, not only because I didn’t hear her, and when she singled me out and asked me directly, I said that I didn’t have to. And I’m right - I know I am, but she decided to make a thing of this.
So she pulls me outside, and starts on me. “You were insubordinate and violated county policy, which states that everyone must stand to the flag.” Now, off the top of my head I know that’s bullshit. I am very familiar with my counties school policy, because I happen to know the people that wrote it. My mom’s boss is the former head of the state board of education, and plays a very active role in the state educational reform. She trys to threaten me with some bullshit like “Wanna go to the principal?” Knowing I’m fully in the right, I say yea, sure, lets go. She backs down almost immediatly and tells me to write a brief reason why I don’t stand for the flag. I most happily obliged.
Being pretty good with the written word, I got to work on something that would pull me out of this idiocy. 3 paragraphs totaling a page and a half, first paragraph briefly stated my reasons for why I didn’t stand for the flag, which included me blasting the recent Iraq war (not directly, I left that to her immagination). I said something like “recent events have indulged this country in a situation that, of my own opinion, deem to be unconstitutional, immoral, illogical, and pyhiscally unsound.” Second paragraph was about what I thought patriotisim was, and what I knew it wasn’t, which I happily said that eyeing a flag and reciting a statement that was older than everyone in the classroom put together was not patriotisim, and to think so was “foolishly materialistic”. Third paragraph said that I would happily run the race with her, and that if she wanted to turn this into a “ludacris, treasonus affair, then so be it”, and that being a true patriot was upholding the values of our country, which include being able to hold and maintain our own opinions about what goes on without the fear of persecution. I was proud of my little punishment. So I turned it in, watched her face distort with curiosity and distaste, and slide it into her desk drawer. The vice principal came in, asked if this was the class with the problem, and she said yes, but it had been rectified. Made me feel good that I had won, despite the fact that I knew I would regardless. I have my mom’s friend’s cell phone number in my cell phone phone book, which I assure you is not readily available to just anybody. (Not to make you think that I’m somehow a somebody, but when it comes to stuff like this, my mom makes me much more than just a regular student).
So while I was drafting out my “brief statement”, it donned on me that while her idea of patriotisim was obviously a bit different than mine, and that was fine because it was the entire point of what I was writing, I was curious as to what other people thought about nationalisim/patriotisim. What does it mean to you? What defines it, as far as actions go?