The principal of Reagan High School in Houston hoisted the Mexican flag on the flag pole below the American and Texas flags, drawing a lot of criticism:
Reagan High School Principal Robert Pambello was ordered to remove a Mexican flag Wednesday morning that he had hoisted below the U.S. and Texas flags that typically fly in front of his school — a symbol he agreed to fly to show support for his predominantly Hispanic student body…
…The Mexican flag has become a lightning rod in the immigration debate that’s consumed the city and the nation this week. Students say the flag represents their pride in the contributions Mexicans make to this country. Critics, though, said watching young Hispanics in the streets with the red, green and white flags is more than they can stand. These youngsters are in the United States and should — at the least — carry the U.S. flag, they argue.
“The whole thing just makes my blood boil,” said Bruce R. Wing, a 52-year-old Missouri City resident. “I want them all out of here.”
Wing said the Houston Independent School District should fire Pambello.
HISD leaders said no decision has been made about possible discipline against the principal, who declined interview requests Wednesday.
“It is appropriate to fly the flags of the United States and Texas over schools in the Houston Independent School District, since we are a public entity of the state,” HISD spokesman Terry Abbott said. “It would not be appropriate for the school district to advocate allegiance to a country other than the United States. Therefore, it is not appropriate to permit use of school district flagpoles for the purpose of flying flags representing other countries.”
Even though the principal was required to remove the Mexican flag, some students are defiant:
Some Reagan students said they will try to raise a Mexican flag again today. They said they want it to fly at least above the Texas flag on the pole.
“Just because you’re in the country doesn’t mean you can’t show your culture,” said Lewis Ramirez, 16, a sophomore at Reagan High.
It’s interesting that this student believes that the Mexican flag is a symbol of Mexican culture. It isn’t. It’s a symbol of Mexican patriotism. So, where’s his American patriotism? After all, he is living in and being educated in America.
Peggy Noonan has an article out today in which she says that many immigrants are not assimilating patriotically, an issue we are now seeing in the recent protests:
It’s the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don’t do that, you’ll lose it all.
We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways–in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That’s how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans…
…But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.
What is the legend, the myth? That God made this a special place. That they’re joining something special. That the streets are paved with more than gold–they’re paved with the greatest thoughts man ever had, the greatest decisions he ever made, about how to live. We have free thought, free speech, freedom of worship. Look at the literature of the Republic: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist papers. Look at the great rich history, the courage and sacrifice, the house-raisings, the stubbornness. The Puritans, the Indians, the City on a Hill.
Peggy has an interesting point. Lewis Ramirez, the student mentioned above who wants the Mexican flag on the flag pole in front of his American school, doesn’t seem to have any patriotism for America. At least it appears he is confusing pride in his Mexican culture, meaning the food, the language, the music, and the history, with Mexican patriotism, hence his allegiance to the Mexican flag over the American flag.
No one is saying that young Lewis Ramirez must forgo his Mexican culture. Quite the opposite. It’s the variety of cultures, the melting pot, that makes this country so interesting. However, if Lewis Ramirez plans to live in America and prosper off the freedoms and opportunities that America offers, and Mexico obviously does not, then Mr. Ramirez should be showing patriotism to America, not Mexico.