Saturday, 10 July 2010

La bandera

When I returned to preschool for my first day of volunteering, the children were practicing for something with which I was already familiar from my work in Queseria: La ceremonia de la bandera, or the flag ceremony. One of my first impressions of Mexico, partly in response to attending the Ceremonia de la bandera in Queseria, was that patriotism here is relatively cooler, if you will, than in the US. A love for Mexico among Mexicans seems to base its unconditionality on the understanding that governments are far too transient to create cultural identity. In other words, there doesn´t seem to be a link between the red white and green and a love for the Mexican federal government. This contrasts, to say the least, with the general American notion that American pride and the identity of the 18 to 24 liberal sector are completely mutually exclusive.

That glorious thursday morning when Mexico beat France in a world cup game, I tried to imagine my roommates and I at home with american flags painted on our cheeks. The idea was, of course, ludicrous. I don´t genuinely believe that the flag is exclusively for republicans, but I´m sure enough people do that I wouldn´t want to go around dressed in the stars and stripes. But for my friends in Mexico, patriotism is pride in a culture more generally, something older than politics and with no set definition or antagonism toward diversity. Now, I find myself wondering if maybe it´s this way everywhere but the United States. What would it be like if I could say I was proud to be American and not feel like I was claiming superiority or support for the less proud moments of my country´s foreign policy?

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