The United States is the most powerful nation in the whole world. It`s an envy of many, with people all over the world seeking to have an opportunity to the land of `milk and honey`. But what makes America so united and attractive? Well America has its ups and downs just like many other countries in the world. However, the main reason why America stands tall amid tragedies and down times is one word patriotism. Patriotism to most people may just mean being loyal to one`s country. But patriotism means that one is ready to stand up for his country like during difficult times like war. It does not however mean that one should blindly follow the government for the decisions it is making. For instance, how many are in support of the alleged Syria invasion? What motivates the Arab uprising? Well, opposing or questioning government`s decision is patriotism. Patriotism means standing up for one`s nation, challenging government`s decision, voting and respecting one another.
Standing up for one`s country is patriotic. The United States have had a long and trying history. The past has not been easy, the present is challenging and the future is unpredictable. The milestones made by the United States could not be achieved if they did not have patriotic citizens. During the slavery days, life was unbearable for millions of immigrants and in particular African Americans (Bodnar 86). Martin Luther and the reformation movement was an act of patriotism (Bodnar 96-102). They stood up for what they believed was not right in the country that they loved. This brought about liberation and people today can enjoy freedom from the patriotism of over a century. Consequently, the development seen today in South Africa the most developed country in Africa could not be realized if the legendary Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid supporters were patriotic.
In addition, during the Vietnam War, Americans were fed up by the unnecessary spending and loss of their military. They compelled the government to pull out of the war that seemed impossible for America to win. This is an act of patriotism. Besides, women rights to vote were controversial for over 150 years. The relentless efforts for suffrage rights show how patriotic Americans have been all the years (Bodnar 67-76). In addition, one can be patriotic by supporting a good course. During September 11 terror attacks of 2001, Americans came together and condemned terror, supported each other financially, spiritually and morally and have ever since been united and patriotic to their nation. This was also extended by the overwhelming support of the American people for the government`s decision to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans were carrying their flag wherever in the streets on their car to show their support for the men in boots.
Voting is a patriotic act by itself. Majority of people extend their patriotism to campaigning for the candidates they believe are going to deliver or issues that they believe are of importance to the country`s development. The health care support is one such issue, that most patriots believed was for a good course. Patriots are people who work for the benefit of their country depending on what they believe to be good. So when Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Barrack Obama for his first time in office in 2008, they did it because they believed he was going to improve healthcare and more importantly deliver America from the economic crises and improve foreign policy (Nagourney N.P). Not only in America that patriotism has been shown. Egyptians are today on the streets fighting for democracy. They have grown tired of dictatorship. This has also happened in other countries in what is now popularly known as the Arab uprising which started with Libya.
Patriotism also means respecting other people. Over the years, the world have gone through a transformation with many countries battling racism, apartheid, prejudice, gender inequality and all forms of discrimination. A patriot respects others regardless of their gender, religion, social class, color, race, educational background, disability or sexual orientation. In America, affirmative action have made significant stride in ensuring a fair and just society. In addition, gay rights have been upheld in a way to show respect for other people.
Another important way that a person becomes patriotic is by engaging in national building. Paying taxes is the fists step of being patriotic (Philips N.P). Engaging in lawful activities that contribute to the development of one`s nation is patriotic. Many people dedicate themselves to serve their countries even when they feel they are not well compensated. In developing countries particularly in Africa, qualified physicians, teachers and other professionals continue working despite poor remunerations and poor working conditions in hope to serve their country.
Consequently being patriotic entail showing respect for other people`s cultures. We live in societies that are diverse in cultural beliefs. The American society for instance is comprised of almost people from all cultures in the world, due to globalization. Let`s take for instance the events that followed after the 9/11 attacks. There were reports of attacks against Muslims and people of Arab origin across the United States (Robinson N.P). A Pakistani store operator was murdered in Dallas a man turned an assault rifle on a U.S citizen born in Yemeni two Egyptian-Americans were killed in two different incidents in California. Worse still over 300 Americans took to the streets in an anti-Arab march (Robinson N.P). Similarly Kenya has seen the worst of terrorism with the recent attack in a shopping mall threatening its security. Kenyans have regardless lived peacefully with each other (Pearson, Verjee, and Damon N.P). That is patriotism. It is not attacking others or justifying one deed, it is about living with one another, respecting one another and fighting for the rights of others regardless. It is one thing to support military action in Iraq, Afghanistan or in Somali in the case of the Kenyan government, but is another to attack innocent people on basis of cultural differences.
In conclusion, patriotism is an act of standing up for one`s. In times of wrong action, one should stand against the government, and when the actions of the government are good, one should show patriotism by supporting it. In addition, when we engage in voting process, and even go an extra mile to campaign for candidates or issues that we believe are for the benefit of our country, it is patriotism. Finally, respecting others despite their culture, religion or any other affiliation is patriotism at its best. Thus patriotism is not being loyal to one`s country even when things are wrong.
Bodnar, John E. Remaking America: public memory, commemoration, and patriotism in the twentieth century. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1994. Print.
Nagourney, Adam. “Obama Wins Election McCain Loses as Bush Legacy Is Rejected”. 2008. New York Times. October 29, 2013. Web.
Pearson Michael, Verjee Zain and Damon Arwa. “Attackers defeated in mall siege, Kenya`s president says”. 2013. CNN. October 29, 2013. Web.
Philips Kelly. “As Taxes Edge Upwards, Leaders Question Taxpayer Patriotism”. 2012. Forbes. October 29, 2013. Web.
Robinson, B. A. “Aftermath of the 9-11 Terrorist Attack: Attacks on Muslims.” Religious Tolerance.org. 2001. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. October 29, 2013. Web.