How Do You Define Patriotism?
There are those who think patriotism is a bombastic term. That its an overrated emotion, and quickly wanes and evaporates until the next red white and blue infused surge besieges us, and we begin again.
It’s impossible to define the term patriotism without looking at the heart of a patriot. Today’s patriotic American believes they live in the most blessed country in the world. Blessed because of the good we do on a global scale, because of the role we play in the world we live in. It is our goodness, not our power, that makes us proud to be Americans. Deep in the heart of the true patriot, we pray that we will be a blessing to others, not that we receive blessings for ourselves. Uninformed people would interpret that to show low self-esteem. But the truth be told, it actually shows the right balance of healthy esteem. Not prideful overindulgence, but the overflow of a grateful heart.
Patriotism is so much more than frantic outbursts of flag waving enthusiasm. It’s a deeply heartfelt emotion that inspires a sense of unity that is of vital importance to the strength of a nation.
The most widely recognized symbol of patriotism is the American flag.
Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice. We take pride in the values represented in the colors of our flag and THAT’S why we wave flags on patriotic holidays.
If patriotism can be described as “love of country”, then we must defend what we love from outside influences that cause us harm. Defense of country has to play a major roll in our definition of patriotism. Defenders of our freedom must have our respect and support to continue to feel the loyalty that we need from them when we call upon them to fight to preserve our freedom. We take pride in our armed forces, not because they are powerful, but because they are our sons and daughters.
Another important aspect of the definition of patriotism is care for our citizens. If we love our country and defend our freedom, the natural next step has to be care for the people who inhabit the country and enjoy the freedom that is so hard won and harder sustained. One of the most interesting aspects of the psychology of a society of peaceful, generous, and compassionate people, is that they inspire others to respond in kind. Its not demanded, caring for our people results in a nation of empathetic people who are, in turn, benevolent toward others. The generosity of the American people to those in need is not proportionate to the money in their bank account, its proportionate to the love in their heart.
These aspects of patriotism give us powerful insight into the heart of the American society that has found a way to be governed “by the people” and “for the people” with the U.S. Constitution as our guide, which is arguably the greatest blueprint for human survival in the world.
Click here to read “Is Patriotism Still Relevant In America“.