To most Americans, the flag is a symbol that deserves display. However, when that theory is tested with the professors at the College, it does not hold.
Last semester, the College Republicans, of which I am a member, held an American flag audit toward the end of the year. The purpose of the audit was to promote Americanism on campus by dispersing free American flags to any professor who was willing to showcase one in his or her office.
Often, at colleges and universities across the country our flag is difficult to find, which is why we took the liberty of doing this. Even in the most typical spots where one would expect to see a flag, such as in the classroom, they are often absent. Take a look inside most of the classrooms of the College and a student will find only wall and chalkboard, and trust me, it has nothing to do with budget cuts; they are not present for a reason.
The College Republicans sent out e-mails (or directly spoke to the professor) to most of the departments on campus, asking every professor whether they were interested in one or not. Needless to say, the results were dismal; only 20 professors were interested.
This exercise helped identify supporters and definite opponents to the American way. My favorite e-mail came from one professor who showed his utter disdain for America. He declined our offer because his office already had a flag, the one of Puerto Rico, and he could never wave an American flag since it would represent imperialism. What a patriot!
I am not making this up, nor is this hyperbole. This is the pathetic truth and there were a couple other clear-cut, anti-American responses.
Most professors simply did not get back to our club’s requests. Now, there could be a host of reasons why one would not respond, such as being too busy, forgetting to write back or already having an American flag, but to me that just seems unlikely.
Perhaps most of our emails were ignored because the professors ultimately dislike America. While I know that to be true with a few professors, I highly doubt this is the dominant trend.
It is possible that the way we worded our e-mails could lead one to believe that by accepting these flags, they are subtly endorsing tenets of conservatism, even though they were carefully worded to include no such suggestions.
Regardless, maybe by displaying an American flag, that professor could be showing his or her approval for the Iraqi war, a foreign policy decision that “conservatives” (a true conservative would not be in favor of such an unnecessary war) still support more than any other political group. Or maybe it would signal support for President George W. Bush.
It could be even more elementary. Since the flags were being offered by a group of Republicans, it is possible that through accepting them it would give tacit support to the whole Republican Party. These were actual concerns from some professors who eventually accepted the flags.
Both of these possibilities bring to light an interesting idea: is waving the American flag a symbol of conservatism? And to take it further, does that mean conservatives love their country more than liberals?
I would really like to think the contrary, but unfortunately, it is hard to think otherwise. Those professors that loved our initiative were much more sympathetic to the conservative point of view through some of their e-mails and inperson dialogues, while some of those that declined were certainly in favor of liberalism (some were radical leftists who put down the nation).
Being proud to be an American should not be something an abnormal amount of conservatives and Republicans cherish over liberals.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the majority of policies being implemented with the current presidential administration or the stances of one’s local representatives, there is still a lot worth honoring about America, and the very least one could do is wave Old Glory.