What is Patriotism?

There are so many America-bashers abusing the word today, trying to misplace the definition of nationalism on it, that it’s time to clear up their sloppy thinking.

Patriotism is often defined as love of one’s country. That definition would be fine, if abuse of the word love hadn’t watered it down into meaning some vague mere sentiment. Like a tear coming to the eye during the National Anthem.

Patriotism does arouse sentiment at times, and the emotions evoked by sentiment. But getting teary-eyed during the National Anthem is no test for patriotism. Many who would flunk a real test for it will pass that one with flying colors.

Love is an action verb, not a feeling or emotion.  Literally it means “embracing” someone or something. Love is a drawing toward another. Like gravity, an attraction, a clinging to, and standing with or beside.

It is the opposite of distancing oneself from another, of abandonment, of separation and rejection.

Clarifying what love is clarifies what patriotism is. It’s a bond.

The old word for that is faith. And faith is yet another word bastardized by those who abuse language to manipulate minds en masse. Today the word faith means “a list of things you believe no matter what.”

Its original meaning persists only in phrases like “good faith” and “marital fidelility.” The test for (true) faith is the same as the test for a fairweather friend. The “sunshine patriot.”

The moment it no longer pays to be your friend, you find out who your true friends are. They have faith, are faithful. And they prove it by being friends in need.

Indeed, they may be far away and not have thought about you in ages. But when they hear that you are in need, they fly to your side. They step up and stand at your side before the bully, when all the good little boys and girls run away and say that you “asked for it.” 

Hence faith is simply true reltionship, true love, not a con job. It proves true when tested.

Hey, who loves ya, baby? The one who stands at your side and fights for you? Or the ones who won’t? There is no greater act of love than to risk your life in a fight for someone else’s. That’s just awesome, humanity at its finest.

If only the do-nothings would just shut up. But they commit the outrage of trying to make out their cowardice as the act of love in this story! What? Is it because the heroes have put you to shame for your cowardice that you must smear (off on) them?

The lovers are the fighters. The peacemakers are the fighters who warn bullies that they will be dealing with a powerful enemy if they attack the defenseless. My profoundest gratitutude for this tremendous act of love and humanity being performed by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You can be faithful or unfaithful to many things. Your self, your word, the truth, your spouse, your friends, your country.

Faithfulness to your country is patriotism.

It lies dormant in the soul. It’s that kind of love so profound that it’s pure, unmixed with mere sentiment and emotion (which are transitory).

It is aroused at moments when there’s a tug on that bond, when it is being tested, and the question becomes “Be faithful? Or be a betrayor?”

Boom – THEN feeling evokes the powerful emotions that move us!

That’s when somebody pulls out a gigantic American flag in defiance atop the rubble at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. That’s when recruitment lines form. That’s when women answer the call to man the factories. Something greater than the sum of its parts emerges: a TEAM.

For example, I hate New Yorkers. Well, that’s exaggerating, but you know what I mean. But hey Osama Bin Wanton, what you do to New Yorkers, you do to me, you son of a bitch.

George Orwell pointed out this big difference between patriotism and nationalism in his essay on nationalism. Patriotism is aroused in people for defensive reasons and moves them solely to defend and protect. Nationalism is constantly “on” and moves people to aggrandize their kind at the expense of another kind, to attack and denigrate those others (so as to look good by comparisson).

So, when Europeans accuse Americans of being nationalistic, it is just yet another case of the pot calling the kettle “black.”

There. So, the next time you hear your countrymen described by hoity-toity Euros as a bunch of stupid, uneducated, violent, racist, warlike, backward, superstitious, unfeeling, totally duped and clueless Neanderthal brutes, and you say nothing, delivering your people up to this bigoted attack by failing to defend them from it, know what you are, betrayor.

The next time you spout lies about what your country is doing, recklessly fanning the flames of anti-Americanism that are getting your countrymen killed, just to smear a president of the other political party so yours can win the next election, know what you are traitor.

 The scum of the earth.

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