In the last 18 months or so, the term patriotism has been used a lot. Often, it was used by nationalists who declare a monopoly on patriotism, just to cover up their nationalism and - let’s call it what it is - racism. The term patriotism got misused. The love for my country and my heritage has got nothing to do with my attitude towards other countries, people or cultures. In this week’s English Breakfast, I am going to reflect on the term patriotism.
Love excludes hate, doesn’t it?
People often say that they were patriots and therefore dislike other countries. In a quieter minute, many of them admit to hate other countries and justify it with their love for their own. First of all, if you love your country, you do not automatically need to hate other ones. In a sports event it is okay and a sign of a healthy patriotism to root for your home country. But it is never okay to belittle (to use a nice word) other people. We live in a „either-or-culture“. If you love something, you automatically hate the other thing. I love Austria but I also love the European Union. I feel like an Austrian and a European equally. I quickly feel at home in Paris, Stockholm, London or Barcelona, but I love Vienna and love living here. The one thing does not exclude the other.
The fine line between racism and patriotism!
Is a racist a patriot? I say: NO! To my mind, a racist could never be a patriot. A true patriot would know that there needs to be a collaboration on an international level in order for the home country to be better off. A true patriot would know that migration is a necessity in order for the social system to stay intact. A true patriot would never leave the European Union because within the EU we have a chance to act as a global economical player.
Racism excludes other people by definition. Patriotism includes everything that helps your country. Some racists believe that they are patriots because of their love for their country. When in fact racism is definitely going to harm your country because of the aspects mentioned above. Therefore racism goes never hand in hand with patriotism and nationalism, too.
The true definition of patriotism!
To sum up, nationalism should never be confused with patriotism. For years the terms patriotism and home country have been used by far right parties exclusively and worse, they claimed that everyone else who does not see the world like them cannot be a patriot. These terms need to be brought back to where they belong and they belong to everyone. Nobody owns patriotism. Nobody should abuse it in a political sense. I consider myself a patriot and love my home country. But I would think of myself as politically far away from right. I pay taxes, contribute to the social system and honestly care about the future - especially when it comes to the perspectives of our youth. To me, that sounds pretty patriotic …