Evanston displays true patriotism


What is patriotism?

At first, patriotism may seem like simply plastering the American flag on the porch of your classic suburban white picket fence two-story and going to the ballot box once every few years. That kind of patriotism, Evanston surely has. Or maybe it’s to have an unwavering love for your community without question. Or maybe it’s something more complicated than that.

Evanston has a reputation of a liberal, progressive college town with a highly educated, often intellectual community, one that is vocally critical of politics, beckoning reform from every which way. We are constantly trying to stop gun violence, recover from a code red, shut down a crack house, or simply get students out of the halls of the high school during their free periods. It seems like there is always a problem we are trying to fix; it’s always time for change. Maybe this is not disapproval, but local patriotism in its pure form.

Patriotism can be inherently simple. At ETHS, the age-old rivalry with New Trier prompts us to paint our torsos orange and blue on freezing nights just to scream our lungs out to maybe half-watch a football game (sorry). Maybe this yelling will really prove an idea we hold as the ultimate truth- that Evanston really is the best school, regardless of athletic or academic standing (which is pretty much flawless anyway).

This loyalty isn’t limited to sports and pep rallies, or even high school- Evanston youth is constantly working on politics too. Clubs like Youth for Student Action, Students for Change, and S.O.A.R. extend beyond the school and work to better the community, fighting inequality, violence, and smaller scale problems through youth.

Even paying the extra dollar to support local businesses and staples like the Unicorn Cafe and Edzo’s, as opposed to Starbucks and McDonald’s, demonstrate Evanston’s grass roots.

And some of us don’t even want to leave. Over 150 members of the ETHS Class of 2015 stayed in Illinois for college, and 14 didn’t even leave Evanston, committing to Northwestern University.

In Evanston, patriotism is defined by working to improve a place we care about. Though some might say that the community is too interested in reform to be local patriots, we only have the city’s best interests in mind. We’re proud to be Evanstonians.