Defining Patriotism








Since the terrifying events of September 11, 2001 most Americans consider themselves patriotic or “patriots”. However, it is awful opportune for people all of a abruptly consider themselves patriotic. Are they patriotic because they sympathize for thousands of lives taken on September 11th ? Do they consider themselves patriots because they have a flag on the back of their car ? Maybe they believe they are true patriots because they simply love the “amber waves of grain” and the “purple mountains majesty”. There are so many meanings to what people consider patriotism that the true meaning is so ambiguous that it leaves itself open to many botched interpretations. What is true patriotism then?


To begin with, the definition of patriotism according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary states that patriotism is, “love for or devotion to one\'s country”. Obviously that definition is too open to interpretation. A soldier can say they went off to war because they love their country, and very well do love their country. However, that same soldier was also sent home for being inhumane and tormenting prisoners of war. That type of conduct is hardly patriotic. Many people cheat on their taxes, continually speed on their way to work or never vote. However, If you were to ask those people if they were patriotic they would vehemently agree they were. Patriotism clearly relies on peoples daily actions, and not emotions.


Continually, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that patriotism is, “founded to preserve, protect, and hand down the traditions and values of a nation”. Clearly, this definition has a wide variety of meanings as well. How do we protect our traditions and values? Everyone has their own values and personal traditions. Isn’t that why our country is so great because we are free to think, say and practice whatever we want? Many people are very pro-abortion rights while our president feverishly condemns it. Someone is not viewed less patriotic because they do not believe in every law or part of the constitution. While some stand against our nations current view of abortion it surely wouldn’t make them less patriotic. On the other hand, if someone makes a point to stand against the war in Iraq they, more then likely, are labeled unpatriotic. Understanding the core values of America requires appreciating and respecting the constitution, our past and others. Thus, handing those traditions and values down to future citizens.


Furthermore, after Sepetember 11th there has been an onslaught of people wanting to help and learn what it is to be a good American thus, showing their patriotism. There are many websites on the subject and how to get involved with our country. One in particular (www.sustainourfuture.org/Patriotism/) gives a very comprehensive meaning to the word patriotism. Basically, true patriotism consists of seven truths. First, we must support the values of America. Second, everyone should be informed and vote. Third, everyone should do their part to protect our civil liberties. These are most raw and valued laws that allow us to live and practice free will. Fourth, make sure we have a sustainable future. This guarantees that we have a healthy, safe, and beautiful environment for many generations to come without pollution and attacks on all of our natural environments. Fifth, that we should reduce our dependency on the Middle East. Our countries use of oil should be monitored by citizens by using less and conserving gas on a daily bases. This will prevent having to ruin natural recourses and our country having to make policies that are not actually in America’s best interest. Sixth, is that we as Americans should be willing to die for something noble and honorable. This is exceptionally personal because what people believe to be noble and honorable is always different. Maybe you consider dying for your country honorable or maybe your family. Either way it is noble to you.


Lastly, Americans should always show compassion and consideration to all people. This is “The Golden Rule”. Americans should always show compassion to the fellow many and allow themselves to empathize with the plight of every man. Clearly, these seven points are the most concise opinion of what patriotism is.


Although the definitions and feelings toward patriotism are all very different: at the