Presidential debates are stressful for a lot of people: the candidates, the candidates' staff, the journalists moderating, and the person singing the National Anthem. It can even be a bit nerve-racking for first-time debate audience members, and one girl stood out as a hero for awkward people everywhere during the fifth GOP debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday. As Ayla Brown sang "God Bless America" during the JV event, an unidentified woman in the audience was caught on camera with her hand over her heart, which she quickly removed after realizing her mistake. Honestly, this could happen to anyone — who can keep up with which patriotic songs are hand-over-the-heart songs and which aren't?
Her rapid side-eye glances made it obvious that she was embarrassed about her mistake, but she was really just being extra patriotic. When faced with the confusing question of whether or not to place your hand over your heart, it's safest to err on the side of caution and put that hand on your chest. If you make the opposite mistake and don't participate in this gesture when it's expected, you give off a very un-American vibe. You definitely don't want to come off as un-American in an auditorium full of conservatives rooting on the GOP presidential candidates on stage — Donald Trump would probably tweet about you on the spot.
I'm glad someone publicly made this mistake, because I (and I'm sure a lot of other people) agonize over this for a few seconds every time a patriotic song is sung or played before an event. It's usually a good idea to do a quick scan of the room to gauge how other people are reacting, but in a dark, seating setting, it can be difficult.
This girl's reaction was super awkward, but it just proved that people are un-cool in every situation. It's nothing to be ashamed of — in fact, it makes things more entertaining for everyone. As a self-proclaimed awkward person, I appreciate her social snafu and hope she owns it. Some people always keep it together and know exactly how to act in every social situation; others are inherently awkward — who cares!