Patriotism and Nationalism

As far as the readings went, I have always had a hard time distinguishing between nationalism and patriotism, and the reading did little to help me in that aspect.  To me, these ideas are held together by the joint idea of belonging to a single state and having a sense of pride or attachment to said state.  Patriotism tends to be thrown around more when it comes to the United States though, in my opinion.  Like, you cannot be a patriot if you do not do this or that.  Yet, I have never heard any talk about United States nationalism.  Always patriotism.  That is probably where my issue is.  There was also the mention of how one can be seen as an aggressive idea, and the other defensive, or one is good and the other is bad.  I do not agree with that, because I believe that regardless of which definition you use, either can be possible.  Extreme patriotism or nationalism can lead to things like xenophobia or becoming untrustworthy of those from another place or of another culture.  Yet, in times of trouble, these shared identities and sense of pride in one’s state can help bring people together in times of trouble.  So, it seems hard to say one is truly evil and one is truly good.  Either has the possibility of being seen as good or evil.  It is nationalism that makes Japan during World War Two look evil, and it is patriotism after 9/11 that made America stronger.

Another mention that got to me was the mention of flags as being a revered icon for states.  With a few flags, the United States included, the colour red tends to represent the blood spilled in war, usually in a war for their own independence or decisive battles to create an identity for themselves.  Lithuania is another state I have seen mentioned before where the red represents such, and I am positive it is not the only one.  The colour serves as a reminder of our past, how we achieved our goals, and how it brought us together.  The flag is an icon for all states and group identities to help create an idea of nationalism or patriotism.  It is not something we actively think of though–just something that has become a part of many people’s daily lives–forgotten in the bustle, yet serves as a constant reminder that we are connected and united.  Whenever bad may happen, we can pull together to conquer over whatever it may be.  Using a quote from the reading: “The unwaved flag, which is so forgettable, is at least as important as the memorable moments of flag waving.”

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