I didn’t think I was a particularly patriotic person, but America is defiantly bringing it out in me. Its nearly been two months since I was last on my slightly dysfunctional island of Britain, and I can really feel the withdrawal symptoms kicking in.
The American’s love of their flag, to the British seems a bit crazy. In the UK for some reason we don’t like to express a great amount of patriotism unless it’s in regards to some sporting event like the World Cup (although that was rather embarrassing) or the Olympics (WOOOO). It’s probably something to do with a refusal to show any kind of emotion. But the vast majority of Americans have great pride in their country which most clearly represents itself in the way the flag is draped from any available object, or seen towering above you on the Quad. It’s almost like they are littered across the nation so in the rare event that someone woke up with no memory of the day before they would at least be safe in the knowledge they were in the land of the free. Maybe I’ll get my flag out and confuse these people.
Although, if I was to parade my flag everywhere it could go two ways and neither them are particularly appealing. I may be bombarded with people asking ridiculous questions like “are you from the UK? (yes, of course) or “say something, I wanna hear your accent”. Â It makes me feel like a performing monkey. Maybe I should start charging.
The other response would probably refer in some way to the past “oppression” of the UK on other nations. For example Scotland decided to hold a referendum a few weeks ago over whether they wanted to remain in The UK. Obviously the result was a “Yes” vote, but it did cause unnecessary panic over the state of the pound in world exchange rates, sleepless nights over whether the flag would have to be changed and worry about the potential for endless sarcastic comments about how yet another country has managed to sever itself from British oppression. However, they bottled out of their quest for liberation at the last moment and took the correct decision, remaining a part of the UK. Thank goodness. The Union Flag (or Union-Jack if its mounted on a jackstaff on the back of a ship) is recognized everywhere – without the Scottish, Irish and Welsh we would be left with the cross of St George, which for some reason seems a bit nationalistic and just not as cool.
However I am currently taking a class on Chinese history which is seriously putting in to question any pride I may have in where I’m from. While I knew Britain was an imperial power, I just hadn’t been taught about it in great detail. Â This is perhaps not such a good sign as it does suggest that there is a low level of censorship in Britain’s school curriculum. For instance I discovered that it can be argued the British obsession with tea caused them to interfere in China leading to disastrous consequences for that country. (Research (or don’t) the Opium war). Due to this I may sit in my chair, pretending to be just another part of the wall.
I am so so glad I won’t be here during on the 4th of July. The humiliation would be unbearable. An entire holiday to celebrate the fact that America liberated themselves from the oppressive yoke of British rule? Please no. Â Although if the Halloween decorations are anything to go by, I really am disappointed I won’t get to see even more of the red white and blue splashed across the country.
While I might find it rather psychotic at times, it’s great that Americans have such pride in their nation. If you are proud of where you are from you are proud of who you are which is important for anyone. Accepting even the faults or putting aside differences (which I have to do constantly when talking to Americans) allows you to understand other peoples’ backgrounds as well as your own. I am proud of where I come from, I just don’t shout about it – but maybe I should.