The pressure to be patriotic

Dianara Abarca & John Naranjo

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America has been the source of devout patriotism since the day it was established as a country. “Patriotism,” in and of itself, is an iconic word for America, right up there with “freedom,” “hamburgers” and “bald eagles.” To many people patriotism is a sense of pride for their country and a way of conveying their devotion to their nation. Some Americans even go to the lengths of voluntarily pledging their lives by going on to serve in the military. This courageous act still happens today but in general patriotic spirits have toned down a bit.

“I feel like there is a certain sense of respect that you should have for the flag [and our country] because people have fought so that we could have the option to sit or stand for the Pledge or national anthem. It all depends on the person but personally I feel like there is a respect that you should pay to the flag and what it symbolizes so I stand up whenever the Pledge is said or the national anthem is sung,” said senior Jose Sandoval.

Patriotism has been a subject of debate for a long time here in the United States. Many people understand the term and for the most part have an idea of what it means to them.

“Patriotism, to me, means representing your country and being proud of who you are and where you come from. What truly makes America unique are the many different cultures, people and races that are mushed together. Our [differences] are just something to be grateful and proud of,” said sophomore Angela Palacios.

Recently there has been discussion floating around social media regarding the topic of whether to stand or not during the Pledge of Allegiance. This topic is more common among people of color because of the recent cases of police brutality. Like other topics being addressed by online social media users, things tend to be a bit blown out of proportion.

A recent incident that sparked up quite a controversy was when Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall kneeled down during the national anthem before the football game against the Panthers on Sept. 8.

In an interview after the game, Marshall said, “I’m not against the military, the police or America at all. I’m against social injustice. I felt this was the right thing to do. This is our only platform to be heard. I think a lot of times people want us to just shut up and entertain them, shut up and play football. But we have issues as well. We’re educated individuals who went to college. When we have an opinion, I feel like a lot of people bash us for it.”

As an American, Marshall is flexing his right to freedom of expression but many seem to believe that he did it out of disrespect and hatred for this country when in reality he was simply protesting. In this he is not alone, but has joined Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid and Jeremy Lane as the fourth player to kneel or sit down during the national anthem in protest.

“I don’t think what [Marshall] did was necessarily wrong. He was just protesting. I mean, this is America, where we’re allowed to have our own [beliefs]. Everyone has the right to protest. I think people are only looking at it as a bad thing because he did it for Black Lives Matter, to be honest,” said junior Lucia Alviar.

People like Marshall are simply striving for a change but extremely patriotic Americans perceive their protests as an anti-American act.

It’s generally assumed that if someone chooses not to stand for the Pledge or national anthem it is simply a disrespectful act but it may also be for personal reasons not taken into account. The truth is that not everyone who protests hates the United States and the government. After all, if someone feels more comfortable not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance then that shouldn’t be a problem.

The United States is known for its diversity and mix of thousands of cultures and beliefs so it shouldn’t be shocking that not everyone perceives patriotism in the same manner.

Truthfully, Americans owe a lot to this country for all of the freedoms provided and it is important that people acknowledge that. It’s no secret that Americans have several rights and liberties, some of which are not available to the citizens of other nations. However that’s not to say that everyone is required to stand for the Pledge and national anthem in order to show their love and appreciation for this country.

Freshman Donna Nino said, “I stand up during the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance and I think people should but if people don’t then it’s their choice. I think everyone should have the freedom to do what they want.”

The action of not standing during the flag salute is by definition unpatriotic but this poses the question of what is even considered to be patriotic nowadays. Everyone has a different definition of patriotism to live by. Some may say it is standing up during the Pledge or plastering walls with the American flag on the Fourth of July. Others may simply show their appreciation by exercising their constitutional rights.

It has been the norm to go along with our country’s desires of saying the Pledge and standing up for an anthem. However these aren’t incredible acts of patriotism; they are just totally normal displays of devotion. Patriotism has a different meaning to every individual and just like many things in life people have the freedom to believe what they want. It’s one of the things that make this nation an amazing melting pot that has been known for its cultural diversity over the years.


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The pressure to be patriotic