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Down and Out on Patriotic Soil

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Oh the pleasures of being a foreigner in this fine country are plentiful and assorted. But there are certain days when those not brainwashed by this great democracy should just stay inside and ignore our senseless, patriotic ramblings. Ruth (a new blogger, by the way), a Brit, feels just this way:

Now I am approaching my fifth Independence Day stateside, and quite frankly, I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know that the safest thing for me to do is to lock myself in my apartment with enough milk for my tea, enough tonic for my gin, and a good supply of Inspector Morse videos. I say safest, because experience has taught me that if I step out of my door and attempt to interact with most people [although with some exceptions] this Friday, I will be met with “Oh no! The British are coming!” at least 17 times, “Don’t worry, hon, you can’t win them all,” about 11 times, and “so tell me, in, like, Britain, is 4th of July, like, a day of mourning?” more than 6 times. These are just a few choice examples, and although a little baffling at first, I coped the first couple of years. However, in my old age, my patience has declined, along with my willingness to explain to people why in Britain we do not spend three years worth of history lessons learning about the war of Independence in school. [Just for the record, we don’t pledge allegiance to the American Flag either, but that may change if Tony has his way.]

This reminds me of an incident where, upon introducing my new girlfriend (a German and now my wife) to a friend, he ignorantly asked, “So, are you like down with Hitler?” I kid you not.

Interestingly enough, I’ve never had a German citizen ask me, “Hey, so are you into the KKK?” However, I have been asked why we are so patriotic and I simply shrug as my response. It’s not that I don’t know why we’re so patriotic, it’s just that I would rather not talk about it. I try to use the opportunity to give the person different perspective on Americans and our American Way of Life. I consider it my small crusade. I’m an evangelist for the New America.

So, my fellow citizens of this fine country of ours, please do your part to not scare any foreigners and maybe just for one day turn your head side-to-side and realize that North America is not the only continent on this planet.

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