While Surfing on the internet, specifically on Facebook, I saw a picture that caught my attention. This picture shows smiling people clapping their hands while a police car was passing through them. It happened April 20 when the cops captured one of the bombers of the Boston Marathon. However, it was not just this image that made me reflect, the phrase that followed the picture made it too. The phrase says something like ¨the United States of Americans clap their hands when cops capture/kill bombers¨. If this had happen in Brazil people would throw things on them, defenders of the human rights would condemn them, people would say that they were just citizens, people would say that they did not deserve that end. So where is your patriotism Brazilians? After read it I ask myself the same question.
The Boston Marathon is known for being one of the most famous marathon in the world, and it is open to professional and amateur runners. However, after 2013, the Boston Marathon will be known for the bombs that exploded during the marathon and killed 3 people, nonmilitary, and let hundreds of others injured. The bombers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in gunfire with the police, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, arrested in April 20, were both from Chechnya. This accident contributed to make the nation become together, caring for each other and the national community because since 2001 the Americans forced the frustration of failing to hunt down the terrorist that rocked their national pride (Moreira, Memélia. “A outra história do atentado em Boston: espetáculo em cinco atos”. Pragmatismopolitico.com.br 22 April 2013. http://www.pragmatismopolitico.com.br/2013/04/a-outra-historia-do-atentado-em-boston-espetaculo-em-cinco-atos.html).
In the United States of America, the patriotism is a strong feeling. It can be seen in Andy Warhol book America when he says, “We’re the states who thought of uniting into the best country in the world, and we’re the only country that thought of making the word part of our name” (p.17). The Boston Marathon bombings brought people together, because the people that died could be the ones that are alive today. Another example is the lyric of the song Elbow Room by The Schoolhouse Rock! (ABC television) that says: “The way was opened up for folks with bravery. There were plenty of fights. To win land rights. But the West was meant to be. It was our Manifest Destiny!” (Lyric by Lynn Ahrens performed by Sue Manchester, 1975). A link between the image and the Elbow Room can be made by the relation that exists between the territorial possession and the national community/union. After the conquest of the West, Americans developed a strong feeling for their land and this feeling made people work hard to make the USA one of the best places in the world. Nowadays, Americans´ patriotism is known in the entire world. For the crowd that were clapping their hands, the police men were bravery and fought hard to arrest the bombers, this time they won the war against the terrorism and protected their land.
While this is an extreme example that is too much patriotism, Manifest Destiny is one of the most patriotic concepts that I can think of. According to the Manifest Destiny, americans must conquer new lands, in the ground and in the space, there are no limits for them because they are blessed people and because they have God’s blessing they need to win the war against the terrorism, it is their destiny. However, their destiny goes beyond wars and lands, it is not restricted only to physical things. The USA influences the world with their economy, their food and lifestyle. Who is not affected by the biggest economy in world? Who have never eaten a McDonald’s hamburger or drank a coke before? Or who have never wanted to buy something from the Apple company before? Those things show that the American followed their Manifest destiny very closed and expanded their lands beyond the oceans. With the same relation that the Elbow Room has with the picture, the Manifest Destiny has too. Both are about territorial possession, but the Manifest Destiny is more focused on the territorial expansion. The relationship that the Manifest Destiny has with the image focuses on the war against terrorism, not only within their own territory, but also around the world, because ¨Americans are blessed by God and have the mission of redemption around the entire world¨.
Maybe Brazil can find a concept like this that is not so problematic or one that doesn’t erase a history of violence, like the Manifest Destiny did, one like Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg describe in their news article that can make people vote, volunteer, pay their fees, work hard and think that it is one way to be patriotic. (Bowman ,Karlyn; Rugg, Andrew. “The Deep Roots of American Patriotism”. Foxnews.com 29 June 2012. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/06/29/deep-roots-american-patriotism/).
Being a patriot is to work hard to make your country the best, fight hard to make your country win every kind of war, make the country evolves. All these characteristics is easy to see in the United States of America, here almost all cars have a United States flag attached on it and it is hard to walk around and do not see a United States flag in front of a house. Everywhere you look, you will see a flag. For these and other reasons, today is common refer to the USA when it comes to patriotism.
The USA nation is composed of many ethnicities. Since the Independence in 1776, Americans found feelings of identity and unity, besides the differences. It helps the country became a huge economy. Personally, it was the beginning of the American patriotism. There is a solid relation between patriotism and government, it is a direct proportional relation, if the economy is up thus, the patriotism will be in the maximum level, however if the economy is not so good the patriotism is down. In 2001, the American patriotism started to make a relationship with the terrorism. In that time, Americans and the government raise up the patriotism and Manifest Destiny, and the result of this were the war against the terrorism. Here the bad part of the patriotism starts to show itself up. Influenced by the Manifest Destiny Americans think that they are God’s chosen people and they have the mission of redemption, not just here in the USA, they have this mission around the whole world. Here the patriotism starts to paint itself in red.
The United States of America’s soldiers are claimed heroes, it is represented in movies, books, songs and comic books. In this last one item, Captain America is the best example. He wears a uniform that has all the USA flag’s colors, he is a soldier that fight against everything to protect the country. This comic book character may have some influence in why young people join the army here, in the USA, and are so proud of it. In Brazil, we do not have movies, books or even comic books characters that influence our youth to join the army and be proud of it. We just have a law that forces young boys at age 18 to join the army for at least one year. If this law not exists, we probably would not have an army.
With a close history, Europeans colonization, independence, racial diversity, Brazil has a lot to learn with the USA when the subject is patriotism. Our patriotism can be seen only in Soccer Word Cups, when all nation stops and get together to cheer for the soccer time. Besides, it is too hard to find another patriotism expression. The results of this absences of patriotism in the Brazilian nation is the non-union that surrounds the people, we are a nation that just thinks about the individual, not the collective and the consequences are shown in our economy. Brazil should learn with the USA how to love and be proud of their country, how to fight with the entire nation for a better country instead of giving up and moving to a high lifestyle quality country and how to apply the best part of the patriotism in everyday life so maybe we could win the challenges of everyday, making our country better, instead of just watching soccer matches.
The American patriotism is in everywhere, cars, houses, around the population and in the sports. In the Olympics, the American times are, in most of the editions, in the first three positions. Why it happens? It happens because they work hard to make this ¨tradition¨ continues through the Olympics editions and make their country one of the best. It is amazing see how Americans cheer for all kinds of sports and not just for one, how all these sports are important in certain way and how they really invest on them. American parents encourage their kids to do sports and do their best. I know that the concept of being the best has a good and a bad part, however do your best to make your country be better is a concept that I will take back to Brazil. In Brazil we do not have structures or incentives, except for men´s soccer, so it is hard to make a ¨tradition¨ in Olympics. Sometimes we have athletes that make history and won medals, although without structure and incentive we cannot replace them and make the ¨tradition¨ continues. Women´s soccer time, swimming time and gymnastics time are examples of the lack of infrastructure and support. Living here showed me that I want to do my best to make my country a better place, like Americans do to make USA a better place.