Why chant “USA!”?

At a recent campaign meeting in which Rick Santorum was speaking, two men stood up and started kissing each other.

The video in the link seems to indicate that they were asked to leave, which they did peacefully, accompanied by two other people.

What interested me is that the crowd, clearly not sympathetic to this bit of guerilla theater to demonstrate opposition to Santorum’s anti-gay message, started chanting “USA! USA!” as they left.

This does not make any sense to me. After all, this was not some sort of international competition. Nor was it an occasion that dealt with any issue that might have connotations with patriotism. It was just a humdrum campaign event.

So why this chant? For that matter, why the need for any chant at all? What’s wrong with good old fashioned booing to show disapproval?

We need to maintain the grand traditions.


  1. says

    One chants “USA” at gay couples kissing for the same reason because they are not “real” Americans and therefore do not deserve the same rights. See also: undocumented immigrants and their children, women seeking reproductive medical care of any kind, poor people, non-whites, etc.

  2. OverlappingMagisteria says

    I doubt this was the intention, but it may have had this effect:

    Chanting USA while gays were being kicked out associates the action with patriotism. They have attempted to brand homophobia as an American thing. “Yeee haw! Kickin out the gays like we do in the US of A!”

  3. Chiroptera says

    Because, as usual, they are merely chanting a formula according to the ritual; they aren’t thinking about what the words they use actually mean.

    Sort of like the speeches their preferred political candidates mouth on the stump; just a bunch of disconnected and often mutually contradictory slogans. And the rabid crowd laps it up; they recognize the formula without thinking about the meaning of the words and applaud.

    In short, it’s all plus good duckspeaking.

  4. Mr.Kosta says

    Because their primitive and underdeveloped brains cannot put more than thre letters together.

  5. mnb0 says

    You got it all wrong. The crowd wanted to make clear that two men kissing each other in public is very American.
    Why don’t I believe this myself?!

  6. inflection says

    Chanting “USA! USA!” originally was meant to drown out other chanting protestors or shouting hecklers, with the implication that the “USA” chanters are patriots while the hecklers are not. I seem to recall it first gaining currency when the protestors were mostly antiwar protestors at theoretically nonpolitical speeches by President Bush, in which context it would make sense to imply that the protestors are failing to support the troops and their country.

    It has evolved from those roots into a typical response to disturbances at political rallies (more often Republican than Democratic, but it can be started in a Dem rally), and was probably triggered here by such a reflex. It doesn’t seem very useful for a visual disturbance, though — something the men may have counted on, and something good to remember! (At more organized political rallies, volunteers may crowd around protestors attempting a visual disturbance.)

    It has also become a go-to chant at international sporting events, where I understand the sheer gringoism annoys the bejesus out of other countries. It’s a bit less politicized under such circumstances, although I hope you never catch me doing it.

  7. Jeff Johnson says

    Because cleansing the arena of impurities excited there ultra-nationalist spirit. It was a patriotic victory chant, similar to “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!”

  8. Sigmund says

    Inflection said: “It has also become a go-to chant at international sporting events, where I understand the sheer gringoism annoys the bejesus out of other countries.”
    I’m not so sure that it annoys foreigners.
    I always associate it with ‘The Simpsons’ where it is used by Homer to cheer on some piece of silliness. Now whenever I see a real crowd chanting ‘USA’ I automatically start laughing!

  9. Mr Ed says

    Like the sheep in Animal Farm chanting “Four legs good, two legs bad!” some on the right know they support something even if they don’t know why. Here the crowd lacked the ability to articulate why they like two men being kicked out so the fell back on their default chant.

  10. Scott says

    Perhaps they were celebrating the freedom we enjoy that allows two men to kiss in public without fear of prosecution or persecution.

    Then again, maybe not.


  1. […] At a recent campaign meeting in which Rick Santorum was speaking, two men stood up and started kissing each other. They were asked to leave, and did. And, as they did, the crowd repeatedly roared USA!, USA! The only implication I can draw from this is that Santorum’s supporters think gay people are not real Americans. […]

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