Every year at the beginning of July, everyone’s sense of patriotism seems to come out of the woodwork as we celebrate the independence of our nation. Amongst the hamburgers, Bud Light and fireworks, an ever-increasing micro-culture sports their bro-tanks emblazoned with what is becoming a pseudo-anthem to their movement. You know the shirts I mean — the ever-increasingly popular garments with the words “’Merica F*** Ya” tattooed on the front.
And borrowing from this recent trend, last week the student government of Fort Collins High School established “’Merica Monday” as part of their “Spread the Love Week,” which was intended to foster school spirit and unity in an effort to raise money for Fort Collins Respite Care, which gives short-term care to children with disabilities.
It is truly unfortunate that what was intended to be a day dedicated to the pride and passion that some feel for our nation has transformed into such a vicious debate. But the bottom line is that terminology like “’Merica” is divisive and only works to further proliferate a pre-existing sense of the “us versus them” mentality. And quite frankly, those opposed to the name-change, for any reason, represent an antiquated “nationalism” that is really just intolerance with a better name.
Depending on who you ask, the day was so named from a place of benevolence; no malice or disrespect was meant by it. And while I believe that the spirit day was named as such in innocence, it truly displayed nothing but naïveté. To posit that the word “’Merica” carries with it no stigma is absolutely ignorant. School administrators asked for the name of the day to be changed to “My Country Monday” or “America Monday” due to the negative connotations that are associated with the slang, “’Merica.”
But some community members are arguing that this debate speaks to a larger issue. Some feel that the administration is too concerned with being politically correct. The general argument seems to be that they are putting the feelings of a few in front of the ideal of patriotism. On this note, I personally feel that the day was named in extremely poor taste, regardless of the intent behind it and that the administration had every right to request a name change. Regardless of whether or not you think the administration was being “too” politically correct, more than likely they were just acting in hopes of avoiding the PR mess that this event has since created.
Some community members took it upon themselves to stand in front of the high school in protest of the ban on “’Merica Monday.” These folks feel that the request from the administration to change the name of the spirit day is an attempt to stifle patriotism and that their bureaucratic proceedings have smothered the notion of freedom to express oneself.
Any way you look at it, this situation is a really slippery slope and any potential resolution will leave a significant portion of the constituents dissatisfied. But the fact of the matter is that when in the view of the hyper-critical eye of the public, you should probably think at least one step past “hey, this sounds cool.” And furthermore, it’s impossible to genuinely believe that the word “’Merica” carries with it no stigma whatsoever — be it a patriotic, anti-immigrant or a downright nationalistic sentiment.
Geneva Mueller is still waiting for tolerance. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
“‘Merica” isn’t nationalism, just intolerance with a better name
This slang can no longer be used to define our country; we have to end the divisiveness
There are other ways to express patriotism without making yourself seem naive