Why We Shouldn’t Stand For Our National Anthem

I don’t think I really thought about this until the last few years. But lately, I just haven’t been able to stand when the national anthem is on. It just feels so, I don’t know, nationalistic. As a sea of people stand up for this song, for their country, I can’t help but see it as another exercise that we participate in to cover up the atrocities that our country has committed. Of course, people will be quick to point out that Canada has also been a very good country and done good in the world. Yet still, that doesn’t seem to make up for the horrible oppressive system that is our government.

Last night at an OHL game, I didn’t stand and a man probably in his thirties looked at me in disgust with his arm around his eight year old daughter and said “Do you have no respect?” I answered “No, I don’t.” Which I think threw him off a bit and he continued on with his standing. The strange part was that he said that at the beginning of the United States National Anthem. If I’m not standing for Canada, I’m most certainly not standing for our southern neighbours.

By standing, I feel like I’m accepting and and ignoring the atrocities that Canada has committed towards the aboriginal peoples whose land we are on. I feel like I’m approving of the wars and the bombs and the military force that Canada participates in. I feel like I’m singing to forget about all the missing indigenous women. I feel like I’m saying that my identity rests in my country.

Every morning in my private Christian elementary school we sang the national anthem and a pledge to the Christian flag. Every morning still, students everywhere stand while the national anthem is played over the intercom. Doesn’t this seem like a subtle indoctrination? Having these words repeated every single day for the duration of all childhoods everywhere in this country seems a bit much. It is a very subtle yet I’m sure effective form of propaganda that sways masses to give them meaning.

Is our ‘country’ just another king that we must worship? Are we bound to the nationalistic ideology of our country that we must ‘respect’ it by taking part in these religious ceremonies of nationalism?

Regardless, Borat is great.

Thanks to Rob Nickels for posting this one.

Also, how in the world can you stand for a country who uses it’s police force in the interests of corporations that are raping the land? This is happening right now!

I guess the better question is why am I at an OHL game and not protesting and stabbing the tires of these trucks.

Burnaby Mountain November 21 from BeyondBoarding on Vimeo.

One Comment

  • I get it, and I can’t help but feel the same, in a way. I don’t sing the national anthem anymore. I just stand there quitely, not for me, just not to give the middle finger to those around me who don’t necessarily understand me or me or my personal convictions.

    :Your sentiment,I get.

    Here’s where I think you veer into left field, however with how your intentions match your actions. If I follow your logic, you also should not participate in any church liturgies, or group prayers, or any sort of ceremony related to the Christian (or many other) religion, that has been an excellent displacer and subjugator of peoples in the exact same way as many nations, better even. There’s nothing as freeing as believing the atrocities you are committing are gods work, and are in service to him.

    I don’t suppose you plan to sush people singing in service from now on do you? Or try to shout down someone giving a prayer?

    Sure extreme patriotism can be off putting, and seems a bit monochromatic in it’s view of the world.

    But some (I would even argue most) people standing there, singing a national anthem are acknowledging and even reveling in the idea that they are part of something bigger and more complex than just them. This makes them feel proud, to be a part of a whole, standing side by side with others who share that feeling.

    If you feel the same about God, you might want to consider changing tactics.

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