Like much of the world population, I am caught up in watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup on television. Definitely a beautiful game when played with such passion and skill for the glory of their country.
And since this is the 4th of July weekend, my thoughts as an American living in London quite naturally turn to the topic of “Patriotism”.
Just what is a Patriot?
There is a lot of activity on in the world today that may look like patriotism, sound like patriotism (especially in the social media and news channels) and pretend to be patriotism, but is it? It is quite easy to get Patriotism mixed up with Nationalism and Fanaticism, so this is my attempt to put things in order, at least in my own mind.
So here is how I see it:
A Nationalist focuses on their country, a Fanatic focuses on a cause, a Patriot focuses on principles!
A Nationalist is someone who blindly follows whatever his/her country’s government does and often lacks the ability to think and reason for himself. It’s not principles they follow, but people in power and loyalty to their country.
The Fanatic is driven by a cause that they believe in and is not loyal to any particular country, just a belief in the “righteousness” of their cause. The modern radical Jihadists that are currently tearing up the Middle East and trying to destroy the Western world are definitely fanatics. Their cause supersedes the rights and boarders of others. In their mind they have a mandate from “god” to destroy others. Tolerance and respect for others is definitely not in their vocabulary.
A Patriot is someone who loves their country and supports it, but won’t blindly follow whatever their country’s government does. I find it interesting that many of the early patriots during the US war of independence became statesmen for their new country. The same is true for the remarkable Patriot of modern Spain, Adolfo Suarez.
Some of my thoughts on Patriots and Patriotism:
- Politicians are self-serving, statesmen are patriots
- A Patriot is not an aggressor, but a committed defender of others
- They don’t exclude, they include
- They don’t hurt, they help
- The don’t watch, they protect
- They don’t take, they give
- They don’t blindly believe, they thoughtfully decide
- They don’t look the other way, they stand up
- They don’t preach, they teach by example
- They don’t hide, they stand tall and proud
- They don’t compromise, they commit
- They don’t sit in, they stand out
- They don’t put themselves first, they put others first
- They don’t put others down, they pull others up.
On this 4th of July, it’s great to be patriotic, just make certain it’s based on your county’s founding principles and not just flag waving at a parade. If you have forgotten what those founding principles are, it’s time to dig out the Declaration of Independence and reread it. Principles to live by, every day, not just on the 4th.
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” – Alexander Hamilton
See the review of LEVERAGE in The Economist (January 9, 2014).
John also writes thriller novels: novels.johnrchildress.com