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Patriotism And The American Flag Essay

1006 words - 4 pages

There is much controversy surrounding the idea of patriotism and the iconography of the American flag in today’s society. Some believe patriotism is simply the act of supporting the decisions of the leaders of the country. Others say, to be patriotic, people should be outspoken and voice their oppositions to what is going on in the government. Opinions also differ on the idea of what the American flag represents. One opinion of the flags representation is that the flag represents our history, and the formerly mentioned idea of patriotism. Others believe the flag also represents our history as a nation, but these beliefs focus much more heavily on the negative aspects of our history; such as slavery and other injustices carried out by our nation. These people often believe we should find a new iconography for our country’s ideas of patriotism. As Barbara Kingsolver states in “And Our Flag Was Still There,” “Patriotism seems to be falling to whoever claims it loudest, and we’re left struggling to find a definition in a clamor of reaction” (Pg. 1). Therefore, every American’s duty is to define patriotism amongst the clamor of reaction, recapture the American flag’s representation, and create a new icon for the flag.
     In times of war, such as these, the importance for everyone to know where they stand on the idea of patriotism so they can voice or enact their opinion to the government and the people around them in a more clear and fair fashion is multiplied. The idea of patriotism can often be an obscure one, and during times of heightened security patriotism is a more spoken upon subject. Discussing the many different views of what patriotism means is a key step in better defining patriotism for all people. Barbara Kingsolver says in her article, “My patriotic duty is to recapture my flag from the men now waving it in the name of jingoism and censorship” (Pg. 2). What she means by this is that the idea of patriotism is being morphed into something it is not. She believes patriotism should encourage free speech and criticism of our leaders in times of difficult decisions. Instead, what is happening is patriotism is suggesting more fascist ideals than democratic ideals. Barbara believes her duty is to recapture the true meaning of patriotism and let everyone know what that meaning is. She wants everyone to feel open towards voicing their opinion, even if that opinion does not match the one of the “angry mob”. The previously mentioned statement Barbara Kingsolver made is supposedly a controversial one, but I could not agree more. All Americans should find their opinion on patriotism and voice that opinion. There are many different views of patriotism and many will clash, but if we continue to talk and use our minds instead of our fists or guns, we can eventually come to a compromise of both ideas, which will best represent everyone’s opinions on patriotism. Through more clearly and fairly defined ideas of patriotism we can...

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