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Posted by Petra on October 07, 1999 at 22:21:07:

In Reply to: Re: Whoa!!! posted by MMMMarcia on October 07, 1999 at 10:28:18:

Hello Marcia,

well, I had planned on just reading quietly for a while now, but can't resist explaining myself a little more (don't worry, no more issues.)

: Petra, it is not so much WHAT you say as HOW you say it.

>>> Hmmm .. okay... I see. I know I tend to be quite direct, maybe that's not so good. Maybe I should pause between thinking and saying. I don't know. I'm used to express what I love and what I dislike in an equally straight forward way. But I never use direct insults or name calling. Actually, I was explaining how sensitivities vary and used that as an example, so I thought I sounded pretty tame.

: Instead of saying, as Ilse did, that you don't understand the patriotism many Americans feel, you said it made you want to throw up.

>>> Slowly, dear Marcia, slowly: To be precise, I didn't say the patriotism itself made me throw up, I said that event that I attended and the things that were done there did. It comes pretty close, okay, but doesn't sound quite as categorical, does it? And it's not that I don't understand what I see, it's that I dislike what I see.
It was the whole thing, how shall I describe it, something that just made want to run away or to yell "No!" or something like that. Imagine a conference room full of people, business atmosphere, a panel of speakers waiting, the topic has nothing to do with god and country. And then the introductory speech, an emotional tribute to Arizona history, praising pioneers and those who were the first of them, mentioning locations and arrival dates from which at least I knew why those particular areas were free for farmers to move in during that year. Because it was the year after the local tribes had been rounded up and sent to the reservation. I wondered if anyone else knew that, or were they all just thinking proudly of those pioneers? Then came those teenagers in uniforms with the flag, a picture that to me is such a bad one. I thought "Why here? Why now? I'm just at a conference, am I not?" Then the Pledge. I don't have anything against the content of the Pledge, besides disliking public declarations and noticing the irony of the line "..and liberty for all." I have taken an oath on the constitions of two different countries and of one state at different times, not for citizenship reasons (I have a German passport and will keep it) but for my job. And I didn't take it as something to just get over with, I knew what it was for and it made sense to me. I have studied every sentence of these constitutions, I have compared them, have disected them, and I value all three of them. But this group recital of a public declaration of loyalty to a political entity, with rows of people placing their right hand above their heart, not questioning, going along with the group, moved with pride, so obviously convinced of their forefathers' righteousness, ... I felt anger moving up inside me, felt like shouting "You are so wrong!" I didn't say anything, just stood there silently to show the respect of a stranger (in my own country, I might show openly what I reject in such a situation), my arms down, and felt the stare of a few people nearby who probably wondered about that one person whose hand wasn't on her heart. All this was what I tried to say with my one sentence that I felt like throwing up.

: You cannot say things that bluntly without raising a few hackles of your own. I am surprised that you don't see that as being something others would take as an insult.

>>> Not really. They shouldn't.

: However, having stated my feelings about my own patriotism (and being sad that you don't feel that way apparently about either your home country or your newly adopted one)

>>> That's true. But I'm still a pretty happy person. I'm glad that I've been taught to be unpatriotic, and that's what I'm trying to teach to my child too. Like Ilse said: No flag, but happy to be who I am.

: I'm over being upset. Nothing anyone says on this board, whether I agree or not, has the power to keep me upset for very long.
: Marcia

That's good! The same is true for me. Actually, I've never been upset in the first place about anything here.

All the best to you!

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