Seeing my neighbors’ children frolic on their front lawns this past Sunday morning brought a recurrent thought to mind: Americans have lost the point. In long list of examples, popular culture has clouded the truth of several of our greatest traditions.
The Easter Bunny is one great example. Somewhere along the line, Americans transitioned from remembering the resurrection of the Christian savior to focusing on a happy-go-lucky bunny rabbit who drops brightly colored eggs.
Another holiday whose Christian traditions have been shed by many Americans is Christmas. Despite the holiday’s true meaning, many believers and non-believers prefer a season of cheer over a day spent remembering the birth of Jesus. Consider the 2006 holiday season, when The Nativity Story received only $37 million at the box office, while The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause got $84 million, according to
Americans have replaced Jesus Christ with Peter Cottontail and Kriss Kringle.
These are not the only two examples, however. Our society misses the point of many traditions, and not just religious holidays.
Anyone who has been to a USF sporting event has seen one of those examples. At the end of the national anthem, the USF faithful proudly shout, “and the home of the BULLS!”
Don’t get me wrong — I’m all about school spirit, and I’ll never be found wearing another university’s T-shirt. However, there is a point where school spirit and patriotism must be differentiated. My grandfather jumped out of a boat on the beaches of Normandy to preserve our right to sing the national anthem, not so that people could bastardize it.
I concede that not all the changes to our country’s traditions have been negative. Argentine pro golfer Angel Cabrera won the Masters championship at Augusta on Sunday. According to USA Today, Cabrera is the first Argentine to win the world-famous tournament. While golf’s fan base remains predominantly white, recent years have seen the rise of stars including Tiger Woods, Shingo Katayama of Japan and now Cabrera. The added diversity likely makes the tradition-rich sport more appealing to more people than ever before.
It would be irrational to say that variations in our traditions have changed our moral fiber or that they are all potentially damning to our continued prosperity. However, as we move toward the future, we must remember who we are as citizens of the greatest nation in the world. Patriotic and religious traditions, holidays and more have defined us for the past 200 years. The image of what is truly American has evolved, and that’s fine — just as long as Americans don’t forget what makes them who they are.
Alex Cobb is a freshman majoring in mass communications.