Saturday, March 19, 2005

What is a Patriot?

Have you ever been blogging and have an urge to comment, but then find your comment actually might make a fine post on your own blog? This happened to me this evening. I was reading Ken Grandlund's Common Sense - which really do have to slice out some time to read as his posts are very well thought out and lengthy - not your usual blog fodder....

So, I came up with in interesting angle on his recent post as I found myself thinking about how to become a better Patriot.

First off, I know that there is a difference in how people define it and what it means to each person can vary. So, my first question naturally flows:

1) What's the definition of Patriot?

Here's one: One who loves, supports, and defends one's country.

But that is a fairly broad definition, so, as we have the www at our fingertips, I thought I would google it. "What is a patriot" provided numerous hits, and at the top of the list was the USA Patriot Act.

Now, for the life of me, I scanned the thing, and couldn't find any definition of the term patriot. There was a lot of talk about terrorists, and what is terrorism, but missing was a good, clean, definition of Patriot.

Unrequited, I copy and pasted it into word and did a search, and did you know that the word "patriot" only appears three times in the whole of the 132 pages? And each time, it was to name the act.

This left me empty on what it means to be a patriot, except to turn in suspicious individuals.

Looking further, I found references to football teams, and the movie the Patriot, and finally hit on an "official" White House page where you can actually register yourself as a Patriot. Did you know you could do that? I didn't. This is something like the "do-not-call list, but better (if you take a look at the page, it really is a satirical piece, as in funny, ha ha):

Looking further, I found a self proclaimed watch dog group called the Patriot Watch.Interesting.

Slice from their page:

"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." Justice William O. Douglas

Before my eyes blured over, I found the Fallen Patriot Fund, perhaps the most worthy of your review and spare cash/time to volunteer - interestingly, located right next to the Rightwing e-rag, the Federalist Patriot.

Still, I have not come away from my search with a fantastic definition of Patriot. So, I thought I would pitch it to the blogiverse - What are your thoughts about being a Patriot?

Before I leave this post, let me give you the preface - I was commenting on the environmental post on Common Sense and got to thinking how one could be Patriotic - read further if you like as here's the salient portion of my comment originally posted on Common Sense:

Anyway, I think the solution has to start with the individual. If we each pledge to go as green as we can and reduce consumption, we would do well.

Keep in mind, this simple thought - the most strategic reserve of oil sits parked in the driveways and parking spaces of America. Every time you make a decision to fire up the combustionable, you burn up another chance to save and increase our reliance on OPEC oil. So, perhaps the most Patriotic thing one can do is ride a bicycle, or walk or take public transit to work....or use only clean/efficient vehicles....

That's my idea on where to start. We can all do our part, now isn't that Patriotic?


SheaNC said...

I prefer definitions like yours. To me, patriotism has mostly involved striving to uphold ideals, but I also share in the practical approach by driving a small car instead of a big SUV, avoiding WalMart :) and things like that.

Ken Grandlund said...

Thanks for mentioning my essay and linking to it for others to read.

As to your question regarding patriotism, I think the definition is something like this:

A patriot is someone who is willing to set aside their own considerations when faced with a choice that impacts a group larger and possibly unconnected to themselves. A patriot is someone willing to sacrifice some of their time or money or happiness in the pursuit of time or money or happiness for others. A patriot is someone who will go that extra mile to defend the freedoms of others while adhering to the principals of common sense. A patriot is so much more than standing up and waving a flag.

Patry Francis said...

Totally agree with you about conservation. But why isn't the message getting out?

Anonymous said...

Just a question...but I thought that "Patriot" was a term used by the British that meant 'traitor'. Now the term has changed, but is this the correct origin of the word?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the word Patriot still have something to do with allegiance or support towards one's country? Without any reference to one's country, you would just be . . . a great humanitarian. One who cares about the world around you and your fellow human being without regards to what country the person resides in. Mother Theresa definitely fit your definition, but I don't think many would consider her a Patriot of India. Just a thought. Great blog though, and it really helped me think about being a Patriot. I agree that the definition from dictionaries is vague.

Anonymous said... defines Patriot as:

1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.

So, the first definition could be interpreted as a Patriot supports and defends their country and its interests AND a since country's interest changes a Patriot is thus someone who is as fickle in their beliefs and what they stand for as their own country's. I suppose one could debate this, however if you look at definition number two...

In regards to the statement "against presumed interference by the federal government"...

I would thus define Patriot as definition #1 so long definition #2, meaning that a Patriot defends the interest of his/her government so long as the federal government does not pervert those views by interfering in the interest of the people.

So I would contend that a Patriot is not fickle in his/her interest and devotion, but rather a defender in the interest of the country as originally laid out and especially keen in maintaining these interest EVEN, and I would go as far as to say ESPECIALLY, when it goes against the federal government's interference/intervention to the contrary of these interest.

I think it is important to say that a Patriot is a defender in the interest of the country as originally laid out, i.e. in reference to the Constitution, because it is difficult to take a snap shot of a Country’s policies and interest and say “yes, that is what I defend”, unless it is spelled out and explicitly stated, which our country has done over 200 years ago: The US Constitution.

Eric Nordstrom said...

Patriot: An individualist; one who defends liberty, typically against their own government, collectivists and standing armies.

Anonymous said...

when I was studying for the GRE I came across patriot in my studies. It was defined as an unquestioning devotion to ones cause or country.

Anonymous said...

All of the definitions I have seen have been helpful and different. As already stated, several times, it is usually defined as "one who loves and serves his country." But that is not what a patriot was defined as by the founding fathers. Unfortunately I have been unable to find this I was hoping someone could help me, but I do realize this is a very futile hope. Back to the new dictionary definition of a patriot. This is almost the definition of a nationalist, "a person with strong patriotic feelings, esp. one who believes in the." Does that mean i can be fighting a war, and killing people for my country and be a patriot? I wish I could find the actual definition but it is not to be found.

Dario Busch said...

PATRIOT: From the word "Patri" which means "Pope" and the word "ot" which is the old way of spelling "oath". A Patriot is one with an oath to the Pope.

Anonymous said...

if you cry at 4th 0f july fireworks shows AND the playing of the national anthem AND when athletes receive their gold medals AND when you see people giving/helping during crisis AND when coffins arrive at dover, YOU ARE A PATRIOT. think about it, there is no other reason for these events to make you cry. everything else involving patriotism fall in place if you fill the aforementioned cry-teria.