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Old 09-26-2017, 09:14 AM   #1
alohawhodat
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Patriotism vs. Nationalism

Obligatory TL;DR WARNING


It seems that the two terms have become increasingly conflated in this day and age in America, so I want to be able to discuss how the two are pretty markedly different by every observable measure and give examples. First, I'd like to give definitions of both(from Merriam-Webster):

Quote:
Patriotism

love for or devotion to one's country
Although poles apart ideologically, they are both unashamed of their patriotism. —Christopher Hemphill
Quote:
Nationalism

loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially :a sense of national consciousness (see consciousness 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups
Patriotism--at least to me, is not a flag or a bumper sticker or a song. It is a shared sense of pride amongst peoples for the country they live in and the rights that they have. And it IS dissent. Dissent that has gotten our country where it is today--how soon many forget...The reason we aren't a British colony, the reason we don't own people as property, the reason our African-American brothers and sisters gained the same rights afforded to white people, the reason women have the right to vote, the reason labor laws protecting children and keeping the everyday worker safe, the reason gay Americans have the right to wed just as straight Americans do, the list goes on and on and on---it is all from DISSENT. And dissent IS, undoubtedly, PATRIOTIC. It may not be what one thinks of when we think of the term because America has marketed our flag onto every piece of apparel imaginable and the de facto image of a "patriot" is a white guy with a musket, not a black woman escaping to freedom or a Native American family being marched across the country--but isn't that the irony to point out now? Of course it doesn't mean that the white guy with a musket is BAD. We know this! But it is our job to realize why we think a certain way and why we Americans as a general rule see certain things as "patriotic" and don't see or don't associate other things and peoples and movements as such. We MUST participate in careful introspection here. It is not optional for the future health, happiness and well being between diverse peoples of our nation.


Nationalism has, put simply, by the nature of humanity, a tendency to ride the line quite close to xenophobia and bigotry due to the almost religious fervor of being a "true" countryman. Folks with the same general beliefs in this area reverberate in their groups their disgust with anything other than their interpretation of what being a true "patriot" really is. The result is a closed feedback loop of very alarming close-mindedness and almost vitriolic attitude toward anyone who has a different view, a toxic mindset that stagnates the longer it is held. It starts to become a competition of who is the "most American" and trying to out those who one thinks aren't. Couple all of this with the reality of many white Americans having a difficult time seeing Latino-American, African-American, etc. peoples as "real Americans"---as evidenced by the prevalence of "go back to ---" comments we've seen and heard for as long as we all can remember, and it's become a perfect storm of hypocrisy.

Relating all of this to the anthem protests...We know WHY these players are doing this: Because they are trying to bring attention to the fact that African Americans have not been treated and are still not treated with the same dignity and respect as white citizens. We know that these players DO NOT want to be seen as anti-police, anti-military, or anti-fellow American. The players of this movement have said this over and over--it is really the person who does not want to see that will not notice this.

Of course the anthem is a great time to honor our military servicemen and those that keep the country safe--but the fact that it has been narrowed to ONLY mean "military" in the eyes of so many rabid fans is evidence that misunderstanding is more likely. I am grateful and proud of our veterans and those currently serving--but it is unfair that the national anthem has been sliced down to this narrow "Salute the flag and put your hand over your heart, or you hate America and it's veterans". It's silly. Outrageously so. First of all, patriots come in all forms apart from military/LEO's and secondly--we don't confine our patriotism to 30 SECONDS OF A SONG. That is not what my America is about, I'm sorry to tell you. It's not a Toby Keith song or fireworks or a kid dressed in American flag apparel either. Sorry. It is much more than that. Kneeling during a song widely introduced in the 20th century (1931, officially) if you feel like that song does not represent the fair treatment of your race, especially whenever there IS NO QUESTION that African-Americans have been and are subject to more discrimination from law enforcement to housing to education than whites IS PATRIOTIC. It's actually one of the most patriotic acts I can think of--and it goes back to that notion of DISSENT.

We have a president who is starting fights with athletes and suggesting that if they don't participate in an anthem, they should lose their jobs. Should an employee who has a boss that is religious be forced to participate in a prayer to a religion they don't relate to lose their job if they don't join in? There is one place particularly noteworthy locale where mandatory participation in a national anthem is mandatory--NORTH KOREA. Trump is suggesting we force people to be nationalist or their jobs should be disposed of--you'd expect us to hear that from a dictator like Kim Jung Il, not the president of the free world. But alas, here we are and we have a large portion of the country brainwashed into grasping onto authoritarian ideals so polar opposite from the "freedom" they claim to support. *****Side note here: They only support these freedoms whenever they align with their predisposed views of how the country should be, not when others with different views but 100% within their constitutional right want them.


Let me give you a little taste of what the beginnings of nationalist, authoritarian attacks on free speech look like. This protestor at LSU a few years back was going to use his constitutional right to burn a flag. "Patriotic", and I say that in a tone so facetious it'd melt your face--protestors mobbed up around him, pelting him with water bottles and death threats, only escaping because police were there. This is something you'd fully expect in Pakistan--not in America, and it should disgust EVERYONE . And it saddens me very deeply that our faux pas sense of patriotism has caused us to forget our beginnings and most of all--our own law of the land:





Where does the confusion and the deliberate spread of disinformation stop? When will American citizens realize that Freedom of Speech is not a one way street? It's very, very sad to me to watch my countrymen/women behaving in this way.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:15 AM   #2
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America first is clearly a nationalist slogan.

Nationalists are always on the wrong side of history.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:22 AM   #3
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The sad thing is, so many people claiming to be nationalists really are even though they don't know the difference between partiotism and nationalism. I'm sure most of them think it's the same thing and claim to be both since they're one and the same, when they couldn't be more different.

Patriotic = Proud

Nationalist = Better Than
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:27 AM   #4
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Nationalism = blind faith and jingoism
Patriotism = being proud of your country while admitting it has problems, then being willing to work constructively on those problems.

Unfortunately the work of being patriotic is made much more difficult by having a nationalist jingo-spouting dolt as POTUS.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:36 PM   #5
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Well said. What follows isn't based on anything empirical I've read; it's just based on my own experiences, observations, and understanding of history.

I've been on both sides of this issue. I grew up in a hyper-nationalist household, so I espoused the same views and feelings. I use "feelings" specifically because I can vividly remember how this worldview made me FEEL, nevermind how it effected my ability to reason.

Having escaped those chains (and I mean that quite literally), I'm able to reflect on my experience while simultaneously observing and analyzing the phenomena in other people. Over the last 4 years or so, my awareness of it has been sharpening, so these are my feelings in this moment.

I believe that hyper-nationalism, which is what I believe we're seeing, rots the brain, and it gets worse with time. Whatever it does (in a scientific sense) to the human brain is astonishingly powerful and frightening. It turns normally compassionate, thoughtful people into mindless lunatics at the drop of a hat. I find myself fluctuating between disbelief, shock, disgust, and just general hopelessness. In these moments I find it to be such an overwhelmingly powerful force when it's drummed up by whatever means, which bears on its usefulness. It isn't a new phenomena, but my understanding of it is still in its early stages and to see its devastating effects in real-time on people that I love and care about weighs heavily on me.

This may be an extreme view, but I can't help but feel that while people are suffering from its toxicity, it seems like a tangible disease of the mind. A real mental disorder. Now, I know a counter-argument can be easily made that a mental disorder isn't something you can just "unlearn". I'm evidence that people can break free of its grasp; however, while it grips the mind, it radically alters the way people think, and in an overwhelmingly negative way. People can't effectively understand and process the most elementary facts about our society, like the right of someone to protest extreme injustice, or the plight of a historically and presently oppressed group of people. The mental gymnastics that results in people supporting the idea of our "leader" forcing citizens to stand for the anthem really renders me speechless at times (and that's rare).

That said, I think it's important to realize that the very sport we all love so much reinforces these feelings to an alarming degree. This irrational sense of cheering for your "team" for no logical reason.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saintmdterps View Post
Nationalism = blind faith and jingoism
Patriotism = being proud of your country while admitting it has problems, then being willing to work constructively on those problems.

Unfortunately the work of being patriotic is made much more difficult by having a nationalist jingo-spouting dolt as POTUS.
I'd also add that in the context of American society, Nationalism is more exclusive and "me & my own" oriented, while Patriotism is more inclusive and "all of us" oriented. It's why they falsely equate socialist & communist ideas as being inherently totalitarian or authoritarian.

Last edited by StudioSaint; 09-27-2017 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by StudioSaint View Post
I'd also add that in the context of American society, Nationalism is more exclusive and "me & my own" oriented, while Patriotism is more inclusive and "all of us" oriented. It's why they falsely equate socialist & communist ideas as being inherently totalitarian or authoritarian.
I agree. Patriotism connotes "We're all in this together" vs nationalism "This country is for me and those who look, think, act and talk like me"
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