Patriotism and The American Flag Essay

This essay has a total of 1019 words and 4 pages.

Patriotism and The American Flag

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 better understand the actions of our fellow
Americans and avoid more unnecessary conflicts caused by extremist ideas being the only
ideas heard.

Another vague subject of patriotism brought up in times of war is the iconography. In
America the most commonly known icon of patriotism is the American flag. Unfortunately,
what the flag represents is ambiguous and unclear to most people. Kingsolver pleads, "We
desperately need a new iconography of patriotism" (Pg. 2). When examining why she says
this we should look at what other people believe the flag represents. Some, traditionally
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