Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's In A Name?

Students at Fort Collins High School in Colorado yesterday proposed a day in their upcoming "Spirit Week" to celebrate our nation. They called it 'Merica Day.

Apparently school officials were not pleased with the students' choice of names because they denied the students' request stating it might offend non-American students. The school district issued a statement today which included the following:

When students first proposed 'Merica Monday, building administrators felt that it was against this unifying theme and disrespectful to our country. Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative, stereotypical way to describe life in the United States. This is what led administrators to discuss alternatives with students.

The City of Fort Collins, and many people around the country, apparently disagreed with the school's decision. Protests began in front of the school today and Facebook and Twitter buzzed last night with chatter about the "anti-American" sentiment displayed by school administrators.

Senior Christian Meyer told the local news the student council suggested the 'Merica Monday idea to kickoff "Spread the Love Week."

"Spirit day on Monday was to be called ‘Merica Monday -- playing fun on the whole 'Merica kind of tough America patriotism thing," said Meyer. "The administration didn't think it was inclusive to all students since we have a large amount of foreign exchange students … there's a big backlash."

He said it's really kind of gotten out of control.

"We have people out here protesting -- it's a little crazy. Most of my friends and I, we're mainly kind of sitting back and just watching this unfold. It's real interesting because we don't have too strong of an opinion on it. We think it's a little bit political correctness on one side, and a little bit out of control patriotism on the other," he said.

Sophomore Jason Dunn said he feels his First Amendment rights are being taken away.

"A win is them allowing us to celebrate the days that we want because that's what I call freedom of speech. If people want to celebrate 'Merica Day, they should. If people want to celebrate Britain Day, they should. If people want to celebrate gay marriage, then they should. I'm not saying I agree with all of them but if they want to, they should," said Dunn.

School officials apparently were surprised by the response and they had a change of heart. They have consented to allowing students to have "America Monday" instead of 'Merica Monday.

The Urban Dictionary defines 'Merica as "a "hick" phrase meaning "If you don't like the way things are here in Merica then you can git out." It's interesting because I have used that phrase, mostly channeling Larry The Cable Guy, and I never once meant it in that fashion. As a conservative American I do agree if you're not happy here in this country you can leave - but I've never used that particular word with that meaning in any conversation. To me it's simply a redneck word for America.

Citizens of Fort Collins plan to support the students in their day of recognition of their country. One Fort Collins resident who was present for the protests told the TV news "We are here to support the kids and let them know we support them in 'Merica Monday," Jensen said. "They didn’t want to offend anyone with 'Merica Monday."

He said school officials offended a lot of people. He believes school officials awakened "a sleeping giant."

"Monday morning at 7, we’re going to be out here. Our goal is to surround the school with 5,000 flags and welcome these kids to school on 'Merica Monday -- to show them that it does mean something in this country to be a flag waving American. I think the decision that was made, the school's reasoning behind the decision, is absolutely ridiculous," he said.

The bottom line is that is has become politically incorrect to show patriotism in parts of our country. Kids are discouraged from expressing their patriotism in words, actions and even clothing yet they are required to recognize things like Cinco de Mayo and Muslim holidays and traditions. It's a sad state of affairs when 'Merica is put behind other cultures, religions and practices by our own officials. But what do I know? I'm just one of those "hicks".

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