7 Babes On What Makes Them Feel Patriotic
Amidst our current political climate and the endless newsreel of not-so-positive information, patriotism can seem like a distant, fading feeling. To attempt to change that narrative, we asked our babes to reflect on what makes them feel most patriotic. Their responses were filled with unwavering hope, admirable resiliency and courageous determination to both honor what makes America incredibly beautiful while relishing in the freedom of demanding for change. No two answers are the same, or right or wrong, but they do offer some hopeful insight into what it means to be an American.
Whether you’re a born and raised or immigrated American, we encourage you to think about what makes you feel most patriotic, especially today, and especially when it doesn’t seem so easy. Because at the end of the day, it’s through our patriotism that we can band together and work towards an equitable America for all.
The most proud I’ve ever felt of my country—and the most patriotic I’ve ever felt as an American—was in 2017 when I marched in the Women’s March. It was my first time in Washington, D.C., and somehow very fitting that I was there to exercise my rights and stand up for what I believe in. After the devastation of the previous presidential election, the abundant feeling of pride and triumph was welcomed with open arms and seemed to throb throughout the city. More than 500,000 of us filled the streets of the capitol as the sun came up, as the steps of the Smithsonian became crowded, and we looked around with awe when we heard our first cheers echoing streets away.
Our pain, pride, tears and triumphs were all palpable that day. I was so proud of my country; I could feel my story and the stories of everyone around blending and strengthening as one. I can’t wait to feel that again.
—MARA STROBEL-LANKA, BWH CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Defending the First Amendment when it's hard makes me feel patriotic. Standing up for someone you agree with is easy, but defending the right of someone you vehemently disagree with to express himself or herself is challenging. I love that we are guaranteed the right to speak up and speak out, regardless of how unpopular it may be. I love the fact that as an American woman, I can speak out against my government without fear of being jailed.
Also, the media are frequently targeted by both sides of the political spectrum, but I firmly believe that we need journalists more than ever before. A free press is critical to democracy, and an adversarial press is good for ensuring our leaders are accountable to the citizens. I'm proud to work with local and state journalists who are out telling important stories every day, and I'm proud to defend their work every chance I get.
—AMANDA HANDLEY, CONTRIBUTOR
Growing up, I never really felt like I was an American. I moved here from Canada when I was young, and always felt my roots were elsewhere. Then, later in life, I no longer felt like I was Canadian—outlawed, a bit, by family back home. There I was “the American cousin,” and here I was “that Canadian friend.”
But, as time went on, I began to focus instead on what I loved about all of my heritage. I love the scrappy side of me that came from being American, and the liberal worldview that came from being Canadian. I love the Fourth of July parades as much as I love the Winter Classic hockey games. Suddenly, I was no longer a woman with no country, but rather a woman with two; two passports, two Thanksgivings, two places I could call home.
Over the past few years, as our country has become as divided I felt all those years ago, it’s pained me to see all the suffering that comes from being torn apart. The beauty of this country is that we can all be more than one thing. You can be a “liberal” and still fiscally conservative. You can attend church every week and still believe in a woman’s right to choose. And I’m proud to be a part of a place that works every day to protect my rights to be more than one thing—even if those two things are American and Canadian.
It can be tough to look outside of the struggles we face as a country, but I have little moments that make me oh-so-grateful to be an American. It can be something as simple as enjoying the luxury of having friends over to sip wine in my backyard, or something bigger like being a part of an empowering community like Babes Who Hustle. We have a beautiful power in our freedom of speech that allows us to speak up and challenge long-held beliefs and systems, without the constant fear of persecution or oppression.
–MORGAN PURVIS, BWH INTERN
I don’t want to confuse things like growing up in the South and attending rodeos as a kid, lots of Gulf Coast boat rides with an American flag in tow and singing along to country songs while tailgating for FSU football games with the things that make me feel patriotic. What comes to mind first, of course, is pridefully exercising my right to vote and becoming more politically active and engaged over the past few years. I’ve also found myself feeling especially patriotic when reflecting on ways we as a people come together in support and assistance for one another in times of crisis. There will never be a shortage of inspiring stories from our servicemen and women who assisted on 9/11, to the March for Our Lives organization after the Parkland tragedy, and the candlelight vigil I attended after a school shooting on my campus in 2014. Our freedom to put differences aside and come together to express love and support for one another in these moments is what makes me feel most proud.
—CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH CEO + FOUNDER
Too often I watch or read the news in shock about some of the things happening in America. Then, I call my dad to complain about it or compose a Tweet about it or just shut it off for a bit and cry. Then, I take a step back and have to remind myself how lucky I am to live in a country where I am free to report, respond, react and resist.
I think I’m learning more and more that things don’t have to be perfect for you to be patriotic. It’s because of, not in spite of, my pride in being an American that I won’t give up on demanding better progress for us and for our children. Ever since moving to the Washington, D.C. area, I can’t help but feel especially patriotic anytime I venture into the city. Especially for the protests like the Women’s March and March for Our Lives, where the unity and hope is palpable, even in so much anger and hurt.
No matter how many times I climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and read The Gettysburg Address, it still gives me chills. Every time I walk the winding lanes of Arlington National Cemetery and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I choke up. In a divisive and tumultuous time in our political climate, going back to our nation’s capitol and revisiting all of its history to be reminded of why our founding fathers (and founding mothers!) started this country reignites my passion for making it better for future generations. I feel so blessed to live in the United States, and I only pray we will never settle at “good enough.”
—MOLLY SLICKER, CONTRIBUTOR
When my mom told me we’d won the visa lottery and would be moving from Albania to America, I was too young to comprehend how much this single decision would impact the course of my entire life. There are a lot of things I would change about America, but I am so damn thankful to live here. I feel patriotic because I get to choose. I get to choose to speak up (and not risk jail or worse for it) about issues I feel passionately about, about our government, about our rights and about countless topics that many in other countries don’t have a bit of say in. I get to choose who I want to marry, where I want to live, if I want to believe in a religion, if I want kids—in short, I get to choose my life, not have it chosen for me.
I feel patriotic when I look around and see crowds of different faces, some speaking different languages, some adhering to different cultures, some believing in different religions, but all with one common thread: America. I feel so lucky to live in a country whose citizens bring many different stories to the table, and I feel most patriotic when we band together, embracing and celebrating the differences that make us all so beautifully human and make America a beacon of hope for so many.
–INA MEZINI, BWH ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT