Patriotism as performance art | Street Jazz

Patriotism as performance art

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Generally my feeling about standing for the National Anthem is the same as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or taking part in school prayer (yes, I’m that old) - if you aren’t enthusiastic about what you are doing, well, it just becomes something you do to please others.

And if it gets to that stage, well, what’s the point, really?

None of this is meant to diminish patriotism in any way, or love for one’s country. But patriotism, like love, is largely a personal thing, but over the years it has become something to beat folks over the head with.

In today’s world, one man’s patriotism is another man’s mattress sale.

Which is why the moral outcries and the Internet Outrage over NFL players kneeling when the National Anthem is played is such a tempest in a teapot. Well, it would be, if only the Golfer-in-Chief wasn’t so busy stirring up the passions of the Lost Souls who think they might be reading actual news on his Twitter page.

Interesting historical note: in the early 1970s there was a minor storm overseas when members of the US armed forces chose to remain in their seats when the National Anthem was played in base movie theaters. Thank God the Internet wasn’t around, or else folks whose daily vitamin intake includes moral outrage would have been screaming to the high heavens.

If you need proof of the above, check and see if issues of the Stars and Stripes newspaper from that period are online. I’m not going to do so myself, because I remember the news articles and letters to the editor, on both sides of the issue.

I love my country, and consider myself to be highly patriotic. I love our ideals and our nobler aspirations, which I think drives most people, no matter what political party they belong to. I love the Pledge of Allegiance, because I see it as an oath we all take to leave this country a little better than when we found it.

When I say “we” I am talking about each and every individual American. We want our posterity to inherit a nation that is fair, honest and tries to rise above its faults.

But that’s just me. I’m not going to indulge in Internet Outrage if you don’t feel as I do.

When we scream to the skies because people don’t exhibit the same level of patriotism as we do, patriotism becomes something dark and ugly. I mean, what if we all started calling the United States the “homeland” rather than simply our country . . . oops.

There are those who claim that protests against the anthem are an offense against those who died so that folks would have the right to protest in such a manner. I’m not sure that any amount of logic would reach these people, at least not until the Internet Outrage has died down, and rationality returns, as it eventually does to all of us.

Instead of making patriotism into a sort of performance art, designed to please those in power, the folks with red faces beating their keyboards into submission might take a minute or two to consider that protest is also a form of patriotism.

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Today’s Soundtrack?

I started off this morning listening to an album so bloody awful that the name of it shall never cross m y lips. Needless to say, I slipped the CD out and typed in contentment to the music I have already stored on the computer.

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Quote of the Day

I couldn’t hit a wall with a six-gun, but I can twirl one. It looks good. - John Wayne

rsdrake@cox.net




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