I Pledge Allegiance

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

“Pledging allegiance” sounds a little more American than I would normally think when describing my patriotism, with not being American and everything. Still…

At the moment I don’t think I feel I can do the subject justice without writing a 5000 word essay after doing a full and complete examination of immigration figures etc. I will, however, share a brief story…

When I was working primarily in the US, I was doing so with a range of nationalities – Dutch, Indian, American, New Zealand, Canadian, English, Scottish, Welsh and both Northern and Republican Irish. The number of accents used to be a great way of confusing people working in restaurants! As a way of learning about different cultures, we did “Lunch and Learn” sessions where a group of individuals would give a presentation about their country over food.

It got to the turn of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Our CIO at the time did a general overview of the Union and the difference between GB and UK. Then came presentations on Scotland (by a man wearing a kilt), Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Then the presentation was wrapped up and we all went back to our desks, mostly discussing the man wearing a dress and its effect on his baggage allowance entering the country.

There was no mention of England, other than that it was part of the Great Britain and therefore the UK. England did not get a specific section of the presentation like the the other countries. Someone in the office did indicate to me that the Union is synonymous with England to the rest of the world, which I thought neither fair to us English or the rest of the countries involved.

I happen to think that national identities are important. I love the stereotypes of other countries, such as the Germans I worked with when the first thing they told us was “We’re not real Germans, we have a sense of humour!” I’m proud of my country’s history and most of its present, while not so happy about things. I support my national teams and was made up when England beat the Australians in the Ashes recently. For me, that’s what patriotism is – being proud of your national identity and your country’s achievements.

I pledge allegiance to the underworld.
One nation underdog
There of which I stand alone –
A face in the crowd,
Unsung, against the mold
Without a doubt,
Singled out.
The only way I know.

Minority by Green Day

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