July 4th celebration

July 4th celebration

Patriotism often gets a bad name from its most bombastic exponents. Is it really patriotic to tell other people how to live their lives? Is it really patriotic to proclaim the universal greatness of everything American?

I consider myself a proud American patriot, but I disdain American self-centeredness. Patriotism, I believe, is an appreciation for the many accomplishments of our society and a commitment to improve those areas where we are not at our best. For other societies we can offer a model in our behavior, not in our bombast.

This is why I love the fourth of July. It is a perfect way to celebrate the kind of patriotism that I embrace. July 4 is a holiday for family and friends when we reflect on our nation’s past and look to learn from that past for the future.  We eat, drink, play, talk, and plan for the rest of the summer. Most of all, we appreciate our society’s environmental and consumer abundance, hoping that we can all work together to build on these blessings for ourselves, our children, and those who are less fortunate. July 4 encourages the good patriotism that would please our greatest predecessors.

5 Responses to “What is “Good Patriotism”?”

  • Brenna Mackin:

    Mia, you say that patriotism is “unconditional love for ones country” Brett you say “a good patriot would do anything for their nation even it it comes to fighting for what the nation believes in”
    Here are my questions about both those statements:
    1)What exactly is a country? Is it the land? is it the People? is it the government? is it the culture? Which of these aspects are we required to love and be loyal to in order to be patriotic and which can we disagree with or dislike?
    2)should our love for our country be unconditional? What might a country do that makes it unlovable? Should we always forgive our country and remain loyal to it no matter what?
    3) Brett you refer to fighting for “what the nation believes in” how do you determine what the nation believes in? In Nazi Germany the nation believed in purifying the German race, were the Germans who were unwilling to fight for that unpatriotic? Did the nation of the US believe in going to war in Iraq in 2003? If you disagreed or didn’t want to fight was that unpatriotic?

    I think that good patriotism is recognizing the good that people in your nation have done and the advantages living in your country has given you. It can also be being proud of your nation’s culture such as its food and language and lifestyle. It also means you should working to contribute to the good of the country. However being a good patriot does NOT mean you can not criticise your government or fight for things that need to be improved or enjoy the cultures of other places. It does not mean that you must think that all things American are best or that the American people are the most important. We must be careful that celebrating patriotism does not turn into putting down other nations, people and cultures. If we do this the nation will be stunted in its ability to see itself clearly, grow and improve.

  • Martin Hamilton:

    Patriotism is a complex subject. I believe in having pride in the accomplishments of our nation, acknowledging weak areas that we can improve upon and serving my country. These qualities are crucial in my understanding of patriotism.

    However, there is a fine line between feeling pride for ones country and possessing an over-zealous xenophobic attitude toward others. The events of 9/11 highlighted this point. Following the horrific events there were people who claimed to be ‘patriots’ as they discriminated against others who were not ‘American’.

    These sentiments are, in my opinion, the exact opposite of what a good patriot should be. Considering that America was built from an amalgamation of people from different backgrounds — being patriotic should involve acceptance of all people regardless of race or religion.

  • Mia Johnson:

    Patriotism is the unconditional love for one’s country along with the realization that one’s country has areas in which it needs to improve. And definitely, patriotism involves the willingness to serve one’s country. Service does not merely imply wartime affairs, but also one’s willingness to serve and assist during/after natural disasters, foreign attacks, etc.

    It is sad that, in my opinion, being patriotic for America transitively implies that you support the universal greatness of everything American. The two tend to go hand in hand if an individual does not discern their distaste for certain American actions.

    Overall, I believe that Richard put it best by using Adlai Stevenson’s quote. Being patriotic means loving one’s country during both the good times and the bad: an unconditional love.

  • I believe that patriotism involves the heartfelt love of and the loyalty and devotion to one’s country and implies one’s willingness to serve his/her country. Patriotism should be differentiated from nationalism. Patriotism means different things to different people,are expressed in a variety of ways,and varies according to the context of the time;the term represents a wide spectrum of defintions which should all be respected.

    There are some famous Americans, with whom I agree, who have expressed their opinion regarding patriotism: Theodore Roosevelt said “We have room for but one flag, the American flag”; Carl Schurz said “My Country Right or Wrong; if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right”;and Adlai Stevenson said “What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a life time.”

    • Brett Bennett:

      I believe that good patriotisim is a feeling of love and loyalty towards one owns country. A good patriot would do anything for their nation even if it comes to fighting for what that nation believes in.

      I feel that we celebrate the 4th of July to not only celebrate our countries freedom and independence, but also to pay respect to those who fought to keep this country safe and free. Americans take their freedom for granted, and this holiday gives all Americans the opportunity to celebrate this great nation.

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About Jeremi Suri
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Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University's Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Professor Suri is the author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy. Professor Suri's research and teaching have received numerous prizes. In 2007 Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the Arts and Sciences. His writings appear widely in blogs and print media. Professor Suri is also a frequent public lecturer and guest on radio and television programs.