Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th

With the previous post in mind, I would like to invite all to post comments on American civilization mindful of the upcoming July 4th holiday. Patriotism is an interesting cultural phenomenon. Responses to the previous most may shed some light on the intrinsic source of American patriotism. For most, national patriotism lies in the heart. It is a feeling: a warm feeling that connects us to the earth and people that gave us life, innocence, and youth. Is this the source of American patriotism? Is an immigrant with ties in youth to another land capable of loving America as intensely as one born in the United States? Is it possible to love the United States and a mother country with the same intensity? It has been argued that America is not a nation, but an idea. Can an idea be defended with the same fervor and voracity as one's mother? Is the mind more powerful than the heart?

4 comments:

Sep said...

Patriotism definitely lies in the heart. Unfortunately it doesn’t always come out of us in our daily lives. We rely on these rare holidays, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, to reflect on what our country has been founded on, and what some have sacrificed so that we can have the freedoms that we have today.

Nico said...

So the question is: Where does that love of country come from? The connection to the land and culture in youth? Would this not make it difficult for an immigrant to love the United States to the same extent as his or her mother country? If they love the United States based on the idea of freedom and the American dream, then their patriotism, I would argue, originates in the brain. Given the immigrants' vaunted status in U.S. history, a significant amount of American patriotism must come from the thought of American ideals, not the instinct of love for mother, that is, mother nation/culture. U.S. patriotism is unique in that much of the population does not possess a visceral love of country, but rather a love for the struggle to achieve the dream of the founding fathers.

Steve said...

Also, how much of patriotism in general, in all countries, comes from the fact that it's around us and, indeed, part of the very culture it promotes? The same way you talk about liking the Redskins because it's been programmed into you, I think I would say that a lot of patriotism is following the cultural lead that you have around you.

I also agree with Sep that we reflect on patriotism on holidays, and I think that's when it's most overt. However, I think it's reflected in many other ways in day-to-day life, whether rooting for an American swimmer in the Olympics or reading the news through an American lens and comparing others' situations in different countries to your own.

Nico said...

Indeed, patriotism begets patriotism.