Thursday, April 29, 2004


Received a note from Toni, a longtime reader of CPT Patti's site, and her observations on one difference between Americans and non-Americans.

In part, here is what she says.

What I noticed was that people from other countries don't ever have anything which indicates a nationalistic spirit. Here I am with a flag lapel pin, probably a t-shirt or cap with some sort of flag or troop support on it and I'm not unusual. At least in the South.

I even had a tour guide at the Jack Daniels Distillery compliment me on my tshirt. I chuckled at that one and there were 6 guys from Germany on that tour and not ONE had anything to indicate their country of origin on their being. I just found it interesting and once noticed I made a point of looking for it with non-Americans.

Pretty consistent if you ask me. For people who seem to think we Americans are such cretins it's amazing how they like to visit here.
I too have noticed it is generally true that Americans seem to display symbols to demonstrate a patriotic spirit while others I've encountered don't.

On any particular day, be it the 4th of July, or not, how many Stars & Stripes might you see around your neighborhood or on your drive to work. My experience in the USA is mostly in the South (as is Toni's) and I can tell you down there you will ride past plenty. Several in the residential areas, plus quite a few at churchs or businesses. Auto dealers, I've found, seem to love having the tallest flag pole with the largest flag on it.

I drive 26 miles one way to work here in the German state of Hessen. I do not pass a single German flag on display.

I don't know if there are laws against Sarah recently pointed out, they have laws about everything here including what you can name your baby. But I doubt there is a law...because one will see enthusiastic displays of the German flag during international soccer matches when it is Germany against somebody else.

(Interestingly, during that same drive to work I pass no less than 3 rainbow flags overprinted with the word PACE ("Peace") on them.)

But I've yet to see a German flag displayed at a private home, nor at a business, nor attached to the car antenna or as a window decal.

Now, I'll grant you that Americans invented the T-shirt culture and nobody else lives it like we do (some, doubtless, prefer it that way.) can't actually say that lack of display of patriotic symbols indicates a lack of pride...for it might only indicate a lack of inclination to display symbols at all.

On the other hand (I enjoy arguing with myself) I note the British and the Irish are pretty darn happy to display national and cultural symbols. In fact, it seems most of the Anglosphere are so inclined. And the Italians love plastering their green, white and red tricolor over their major explorts (pizza and Italian ice.) So...there isn't a total European aversion to patriotic symbol display.

What about you...have you also witnessed that which Toni observes? How do you account for it? Are we just more patriotic?

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