According to a report by Gallup Politics, only 47% of adults in the U.S. are proud to be American and since 2013 that number has been on a decline. The expression and meaning of patriotism have failed to progress in order to reflect the current social inequalities, factor in the growing number of immigrants, and is too closely associated with the political climate, generating a need for a redefined word.
Merriam Webster defines patriotism as “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty” and because the old version of patriotism is based off of traditional ideals it fails to encompass support for those fighting against social inequalities that are being battled today. Author Howard Bryant stated that the double standards set “In a time of flag and flyovers, camouflage jerseys and a president calling his citizens un-American, authoritarianism as patriotism has become the abnormal normal” (Bryant). As the current use of the words continues to put aside the concerns of or views of other, it will remain a restrain towards progressive thinking. Instead of allowing peaceful protest and demonstrations for the alarming amounts of social inequalities to all sorts of people and groups, Americans use the word patriotism to try and negate their actions and movement. Patriotism should empower people to speak up against the injustices happening in the country and not be one of the factors that try and silence them.
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As more people immigrate to the U.S. patriotic feelings in some Americans can generate mistrust and hostility toward those from other countries or races because the history of patriotism has been mostly intertwined with nationalism. This creates an “us vs. them” and “favoritism toward a more prosperous nationally or discrimination against nationals from poor nations contributes to a morally objective inequality” (Gomberg). In some Americans this hostility and sense of superiority is mistaken for extreme pride for their country, in reality these feelings can resemble those of racism. The toxic culture created by patriotism towards those seeking new opportunities has led to immigrants facing a sense of persecution from some American citizens. The current definition of patriotism promotes an unhealthy view towards those coming from a different country.
America’s two-party system creates a sense of “us against them”, it inhibits the creation of division amongst republicans and democrats that then leads to differing views on patriotism. According to Gallup Politics, currently 32% of Democrats are extremely proud to be American, while 74% of Republicans are found to be extremely proud. This poll shows the split between the two main political ideologies in the U.S. and how patriotism shifts with the present administrations. Patriotism should represent core values that everyone as citizens respects and adhere to, in order to separate it from its current use in politics. Patriotism should be a commitment to the improvement and acceptance of the diversity of people and ideals in one’s country. It should not be used as something to create a division between two different viewpoints.
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