Call for Submissions: Redefining Patriotism


Raised in Texas, I was taught to hold my hand over my heart when the flag was raised, to thank everyone in uniform, and to organize my life in this order; God, Country, Family. Even now, tears spring to my eyes in some sort of Pavlovian response when I hear Lee Greenwood warble, “I’m proud to be an American.” God made America, I was told. God blesses America, I believed.

I am thirty-four now and my patriotism looks different.  These days its a battle of grief and rage. I am fighting for my country not on a battlefield where men die, but with words and votes and phone calls and marches. And while some see these actions as impotent, I see them as hopeful. Fighting means you believe something can be better. And that’s what patriotism is: the enduring fight to make the place you live and the place you love better.

During the month of July the Rumpus will be running pieces related to redefining and reclaiming “patriotism,” American or otherwise. We want your essays. We want to know why you fight for your country, and why you don’t. What does it mean to be a citizen right now, in this moment? Be inventive. Be earnest. Be funny. Be sad. Be angry. We are here for all of it. Word count between 1500-4000. Email completed submissions to [email protected] (pitches will not be considered). Submissions close June 15.

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →