I am going to try and spark a little independent thought in you today.
For many years I had always thought of myself as a patriot. Looking back, I think I was practicing some form of nationalism rather than patriotism.
In fact, many of the patriot writers I see in blogger land are really practicing nationalism. They might not even be aware of the difference.
I am not going to call them out. Because I agree in part with their desire to be patriots. I love their lack of cowardice. In fact, it was a real patriot who took me over the knee and spanked me a few years back.
From wiki: Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy. In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and peoples, patriotism is a devotion to one's country.
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a nation.
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country. What patriotism is not- is nationalism. Nationalists think that everything their nation does is correct. The successful blurring of these two lines is the result of elite business interests and politicians convincing the hoi polloi that we need to go invade a bunch of foreign countries and "protect our interests." The elite and their politician lackeys are not going to send their own sons and daughters to these wars to get killed. They want the boys from the trailer park to go. They are disposable. And to grease that war machinery, and to get these kids to go, they convince them that some war somewhere is "patriotic."
This is an incredibly difficult subject to broach. It is beyond delicate. It embraces two gut wrenching subjects. First and foremost- who is going to be the world's policeman? Are we going to sit idly by while innocent people get slaughtered? Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, have our kids died in vain? Were they simply used to sell war machinery while greasing bankers with interest on enormous war costs and financing it with government issued debt?
Two of the most fantastic mistakes that this country has ever made- occurred only twenty years apart. The first was sticking American citizens in internment camps (1942) without due process. Essentially stripping Japanese Americans of any civil rights.
There is probably no better example of scared nationalism or perhaps even racism- than that little seedy episode in American history. Where were those freedom loving patriots then? We were practicing nationalism and cowardice. Those in the minority, those sticking up for Japanese Americans, would have been trampled to death by the nationalists.
Interestingly enough, I believe that the mistakes of 1942 may have influenced the American psyche- at least to the extent that Americans gained an awareness that government is not always right or just.
Our entry into the Vietnam conflict occurred some 20 years later. American citizens began to openly question government. Here is an excellent chronology of the events leading up to the Vietnam War with a few things you might not have been aware of. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War
What is an example of an unflinching patriot? First and foremost, it is someone who practices internal honesty rather than convenient honesty. He or she will generally be in the minority.
Patriots will have personal courage and thick skin because they know they will be labeled and marginalized. Patriots will always act in the best interests of their country which in our current state- will have them at odds with a government that desperately wants you to support actions which are contrary to your best interests. In it's current state- our government has turned into an oppressive tool of the financial elite. In short, government can no longer be trusted with any decision. They have left the rails.
We need patriots now- more than ever. Patriots love their country, they practice rigorous honesty and they do what is right. Nationalists pretend to be patriots, they often fail to practice honesty, and they do what the herd demands. Nationalists are almost always driven by cowardice- a feeling that they will be outsiders if they fail to support the herd agenda. That's why Japanese internment camps came to be.
Patriots know that.