During my humanities class this past year, we discussed patriotism and its role in literature. We read articles of various viewpoints on what patriotism means to different people (from 18th century farmers to a Stanford professor). As I reflect on this, I have been led to question:
What does patriotism mean to me?
To me, patriotism isn’t boasting how great our country is over others. It isn’t a way to say, “America is the greatest, it is the best!”
America is great in many ways, but we should not use such broad statements. America also has its fair share of flaws, and to me, patriotism means working on these flaws to create a more equitable country for ALL its citizens. To me, patriotism means that we recognize our great power; and we must also show sympathy for countries who are not in our same position.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”**
I believe that our responsibility as Americans is not to turn a blind eye. Not to be ignorant or apathetic to those who have less than us. With current political leaders who do not represent these sets of beliefs I (and many others) hold, it is our job as the people of this country to clearly redefine the true meaning of patriotism.
This means speaking up for black lives, Muslims, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups.
This means not letting America get away with things that leave lasting damage on people in other countries (such as the chemical attacks in Syria).
This means that healthcare is a RIGHT not a PRIVILEGE.
To me, patriotism means that we can celebrate this nation while at the same time recognizing its flaws. America is beautiful, and I am proud to be American. However, we have a lot of work to do to create a more equitable, aware country.
I implore you to think about how you can practice mindful patriotism.
What does patriotism mean to you?
(**note: I looked up various sources to find the author of this quote, but was unable to find this person. Some credit Voltaire, others say it was Spider-Man comics. Please comment below if you know the author. Do not quote me on this, it is not mine.$