I love hearing this word. I think I love hearing it because people don’t know what it truly means. Both sides of the aisle use it, but they believe that the other side doesn’t have it locked down like they do. People who believe differently than they do couldn’t possibly be patriots, because their ideas are going to destroy America and everything it stands for. We have this deep-seated hatred for those who aren’t patriotic, but we all have our own specific definitions of what it means to be “patriotic” which we apply to just about everyone. Why can’t someone be patriotic in their own way?
My own generation of Americans is changing the way that patriotism is defined. We are not voting in the numbers that our parents and grandparents did, but we’re also much more involved in the overall process than they were. We’re working for campaigns, voicing our opinions and supporting candidates through different mediums and devices that aren’t traditional, but they’re effective nonetheless. Young people have the ability to communicate like no other age group at this point in time because of their immersion in social media and other forms of mass communication that can be used to spread ideas, messages, and other things. As much as I like to disparage social media for all the perversions that it has caused in society today in terms of the uniformity of thought and deterioration of the English language, I do love the fact that it allows for people to be politically active if they choose to be. Among those who choose to, there is a very clear divide amongst conflicting ideological platforms on what constitutes a true patriot. The Right tends to believe that patriotism is defined by love of country and its military (regardless of its actions abroad), a vehement passion for the Constitution, a general mistrust of government and an especial hatred of large government. The Conservative Patriot, as we might call them, also must have guns in their house and defend their right to bear these arms against all odds and to the death. At the very least, if they don’t own guns, they have to believe in the right to bear arms. On the other hand, The Liberal Patriot believes that minorities must be protected from the majority, whether it’s the poor from the rich (which seems to be a little backwards, but whatever) or certain ethnicities from racial discrimination. They must be an avid visitor of the ACLU webpage and frequenter of MSNBC talk shows that do nothing but bash every single Republican in Congress for being a baby-killer (never mind that the “baby-killers” are anti-abortion). The Liberal Patriot is also usually pro-abortion and pro-woman (which also makes little to no sense). However, both of these definitions make absolutely no sense to me.
I believe that true patriotism comes from activism. As long as you are working to better the world that you live in and move it forward, then you are a patriot. Military involvement, campaign management, social media activism; these are all forms of patriotism. We need more patriots in this country.