Letter: Patriotism isn’t the same as nationalism

To the editor:

Patriotism can have multiple meanings depending on different factors like time, place and situation. Patriotism in a time of war can have a different twist on the meaning and significance than in a time of peace. For example, being at a ballgame and standing with your hand on your heart is a patriotic way of showing respect to America.

In a situation like the Boston Bombing, a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, taking action to possibly save a life is a patriotic act. Endless possibilities can be made to show the endless meanings of patriotism.

The most important part of my research to me is the response our country had to Sept. 11. Passing the Patriot Act was a crucial step in stopping or at least slowing down terrorism. Having the ability to possibly identify a terrorist act before the act occurs can save numerous lives.

The most surprising part of my research was discovering how different the words “patriotism” and “nationalism” are. Igor Primoratz, professor and philosophical writer, said, “Nationality is our connection with the race that is merely natural or physical, while patriotism is the awareness of our moral duties to the political community.”

I have always heard the two words used interchangeably, so seeing how much they vary from one another was quite a surprise.

I would recommend to interest groups that they find their own definition of patriotism that best fits them. Each group will have a different use or situation for patriotism and definitions and meanings can vary.

Federal, state, city council and other lawmakers have always stood beside patriotism. Putting the Patriot Act into effect is a good example of this. They are looking out for American citizens and doing what they can to keep us safe. In my research, I found that this dates all the way back to our founding fathers who first started the idea of patriotism.

A call to action response to my research might include joining the military for some people. Soldiers are a huge part of patriotism and they allow us to show our patriotism in America by providing us with a safe, free home. Another call to action response may be running for a government position.

Members of our government create laws to try to perfect life in America and maintain a strong economy and strong relations with other countries. Both are very important to patriotism and the lasting effects of patriotism.

Bryce Haldeman