by Madelyn Carter| Co-editor-in-chief
I have a certain tendency for obsession. If I really like something, I want to know everything about it and become the number-one fan of it, and I want the world to know. I can cite a half-dozen examples of this phenomenon off the top of my head.
Harry Potter: read every book, sorted myself into Ravenclaw, got upset at the movies for leaving out important details.
Kristen Wiig: watched SNL religiously, mimicked her characters’ voices to an exhausting extent, aspired to become her best friend.
My obsessions go on and on. Recently, though, I have tapped in to a new fixation- The U.S. of A.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved being an American, but until a recent lecture in my US history class, I have never felt this patriotic. We’ve been discussing the WWI era and how US propaganda was everywhere- in movies, songs, posters, commercials- all publicizing how great America was and how each citizen was vital to the success of the nation.
However, my reaction to this information was a bit unusual. I immediately felt like we, as a nation, have a problem. Why don’t we have the same stuff going around today?!
There is not enough nationalism in America at this moment in time. It is apparent to me in every awkward silence during first period, as a host of students stare in apathetic silence while the pledge is recited. This is a major dilemma.
Okay, okay- let me simmer down for a moment here. I know you think I’m crazy, but just picture this: You’re back in the 1910s. Every woman in the neighborhood is planting a Victory Garden, posters of Uncle Sam claim building walls, and an American flag is raised in almost every front yard. It’s not exactly a fearful display. On the contrary- it almost seems beautiful.
Why shouldn’t we be this patriotic today? Our country faces domestic turmoil because we can’t decide if we want the government to control us or leave us alone altogether. It is often said in bipartisan corners of our capital that we must remember how much we as a nation have in common; but that’s easy to forget when our society seems so determined to dissociate from the single concrete thing that we share. A little boost of patriotism would rejoin the severed ties that politics in this nation are so apt to create.
I’ll go a step further. I wouldn’t mind being brainwashed with some American propaganda. Now- you think I’m crazy again. But I’m not talking about the ‘summer camps’ of the Third Reich here. When I went to a leadership seminar at Texas Tech last summer, they taught us the Tech fight song, complete with hand motions and a spirited jaunt on the football field. It was shameless self-promotion, butI soaked it all in; as though I actually went there. I felt like I was a part of a larger community, and even though I don’t necessarily want to go to Tech, I loved every minute of it.
And this is a college we’re talking about. Sure, there are people and ideas on that campus that I wouldn’t agree with, but it felt great to be unified by something larger than mere individuals. Furthermore, no one seems to be troubled by the passion that young people are apt to show for their alma mater; in fact, our society practically encourages it. Yet how can we care so much for something so trite? If we are encouraged to become rabid supporters of the small corner of the world that is ‘college’, it only seems fitting that every American should be America’s #1 fan. We don’t always support what America does in the wider world, but it’s a cause we’re dedicating ourselves to as up-and-coming citizens. We want to see it work. And we don’t come any closer to that goal by demonstrating perpetual distaste and apathy for the nation that we call home.
Whether that change comes through the inspiring content of editorials such as these (wink, nudge) or by an explosion of that good old-fashioned American propaganda, the truth of the matter remains. It’s time for America to get hyped up.