Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Equivocality of Patriotism

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

“In one of his first official acts upon taking office, President Trump designated the day of his inauguration a ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion.’ While it’s not unusual for incoming presidents to issue symbolic proclamations, Trump’s choice of words reflected the extreme nationalism of a White House that “seriously considered” an inaugural parade with military tanks rolling down the streets of Washington, D.C. ‘A new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart,’ he proclaimed.

“As George Orwell once wrote, however, ‘Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism.’ And nearly six months into Trump’s presidency, it seems especially fitting on this Fourth of July to reflect on the meaning of patriotism and to consider how one can be patriotic during such deeply troubling times for the country” -- Katrina vanden Heuvel

Furthermore, is patriotism Trump hugging the American Flag, a person wearing a flag lapel pin, driving a gas-guzzling truck with the flag on the antenna, or whether an American salutes the flag or not make he or she a patriot? Does saying one is not proud to be an American make one unpatriotic? Does military service or if one is a war veteran make one more patriotic than others? Does refusing to honor “my country right or wrong” make one unpatriotic? Does a desire to end wars and bring troops home from illegal, immoral, and misguided wars unpatriotic?

“We must never relinquish our sense of justice for a false sense of national pride. ‘My country right or wrong’ is neither moral nor intelligent. Patriotism is support for the highest ideals of the nation, not for whoever happens to be in the White House. As citizens we must continue to fight for justice and equality so that we might make a better nation and a better world.”

A patriot is one whose love and devotion to their country and its people are expressed by an unselfish pursuit of life, liberty, and justice for all people in consideration that “we are citizens of the world first.”

We hear a lot about patriotism around the Fourth of July. But in the era of Trump, “we’re hearing about two very different types of patriotism. One is an inclusive patriotism that binds us together. The other is an exclusive patriotism that keeps others out.” -- Robert Reich

We should not be proud of things we should be ashamed of. President Donald Trump comes to mind.

Patriotism in the Trump Era

By Katrina vanden Heuvel