What exactly does it mean to be a patriot? – American Patriot Depot
Specialists say it’s difficult to specify
For many, being thought about a patriot is as American as it gets.
Of the millions of words in the English language, the word “patriot” has actually long instilled a sense of pride in Americans. By definition, it implies “one who enjoys and supports his or her nation,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One professional told CNN calling somebody a “patriot” brings with it a higher level of pride and respect, putting an individual on par with the founders of this country who are viewed as the initial patriots. American Patriot Depot.
It’s a word that’s supposed to bring unification and joy, however throughout history, it’s likewise divided and omitted people. American Patriot Depot.
American Patriot Depot
In modern-day times, conspiracy theorists and extremists – consisting of some members of the groups who participated in the Capitol riots on January 6 – have latched on to the word “patriot” as a method to explain individuals who are simply American and (usually) White. Those who are not patriotic protest the United States and whatever it means, making them the enemy. American Patriot Depot.
” It’s a rhetorical game with sometimes life and death repercussions,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and representative for the Southern Hardship Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based non-profit that tracks dislike groups and their activities.
At the same time, the word is still used in popular culture to highlight the heroes of America, who were by the way combating versus people who they deemed weren’t American. An innovative search on IMDb finds at least 94 popular movie and television show titles that belong to “patriot” or “patriotism.”.
What makes “patriots” such a unifying, yet divisive word at the very same time? Here’s a take a look at the history of it and its context. American Patriot Depot.
American Patriot Depot
Patriot is originated from a French word
Like the majority of words, patriot does not have English origins.
It’s stemmed from the Greek word “patrios,” which implies “of one’s father.” Patriot entered the English lexicon through the French word “patriote,” implying “fellow compatriot” or “compatriot,” according to Merriam-Webster.
There’s never been any arguments about patriot’s literal definition, however it’s context – usually political – is what has changed over time, according to Kristen Syrett, associate professor of linguistics at Rutgers University/New Brunswick. American Patriot Depot.
During the 17th century, a patriot in Europe was someone who loved their nation and agreed with the recognized federal government and/or religion, Merriam Webster’s essay on the word states.
The word then altered in meaning and connotation as infighting in Europe resulted in the formation of brand-new countries, like America.
” This word had actually kind of switched from an advocate of established federal government to someone who protests a recognized federal government,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. American Patriot Depot.
Throughout the American Transformation, patriot had a favorable connotation in America, but an unfavorable one in England, Sokolowski said. It’s because of this that the founding fathers are viewed as the epitome of patriotism.
” It sort of made them spiritual figures,” Sokolowski said.
The unabridged definition of patriot in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary likewise states it is somebody who belongs to a resistance group. That definition has not been upgraded in at least thirty years, Sokolowski said. American Patriot Depot.
In the Oxford English Dictionary, among the earliest in the world, an entry of patriot was revised in 2005 to state:.
” A challenger of assumed intervention by federal government in the affairs of people, esp. with respect to gun and tax laws. Often in the names of right-wing libertarian political and militia groups.”.
A representative for Oxford’s Languages group told CNN in an email the meaning was part of a routine series of updates in 2005.
” The definition in question belongs to vast array of nuanced uses of the word ‘patriot’ taped in the (Oxford English Dictionary) and modifications were made based upon proof of how the word is used in day-to-day life,” the declaration checked out.
The addition of conservative groups “traces the direction the language is going,” Sokolowski stated. American Patriot Depot.
American Patriot Depot
Hate groups use ‘patriot’ for propaganda
Patriot in nativist, nationalistic and hate speech returns to a minimum of the mid-1800s to the Know Nothing Party, according to Sam Jackson, an assistant professor at the University at Albany who studies patriotism and violence in reactionary groups.
” That movement was arranged around perception that external impacts – like non-White Europeans and others – were a hazard to American values,” Jackson stated. “By the 1850s, we’re seeing language of patriotism and signs being used in political ways and to mark individuals as ‘among us and one of them.'”.
The “us vs. them” mindset of patriotism would continue into the brand-new century and change into a concept that patriotism is American and anything not American is bad.
” If I say somebody is a real patriot, I have a clear concept of what that means and what it means to not be a patriot,” said Syrett, the Rutgers professor. “This is a word that is really conditioned by what our set of values is and what we think we’re fighting for.”.
The worths of being a patriot for those who had nativist and nationalist ideologies indicated that America came first and foremost. Anybody versus that specific set of values was seen as a danger, even if that risk was the US federal government.
The “America initially” conditions set the tone for the late 1980s and 90s when conspiracy theorists begin forming what is known as the Patriot Movement, an anti-government movement with White supremacist leanings, according to the SPLC. This motion culminated in the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995.
” The word patriot is regularly exploited by individuals that want to take advantage of this idea of a love for country,” stated Hayden, the SPLC senior investigative reporter. “There is nothing incorrect with wanting to do great for your country, but when that enthusiasm is corrupted … that is taking great intents and damaging them for the function of doing damage.”.
Some people who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 called themselves patriots. American Patriot Depot.
Former President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka have likewise used the word when referring to supporters.
Ivanka Trump attended to the rioters as “American Patriots” in tweet from January 6 that she later deleted.
Trump also called the rioters “terrific patriots” in a tweet on January 6. In July 2019, Trump defended guests of his Greenville, North Carolina, rally – where members of the crowd chanted “send her back” about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar – calling them “amazing patriots.”.
According to Jackson, the University at Albany professor, “When you say somebody is a patriot, you’re stating there’s some goodness in them. It validates them.”. American Patriot Depot.
Pop culture utilizes patriot to illustrate America.
In pop culture, patriot can produce many images.
For some it could be the founding fathers or the generation around the American Transformation, like in the 2000 film “The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson. Others may consider United States soldiers fighting for freedom, like those seen in 1998’s “Conserving Private Ryan.”.
Then there are those motion pictures where the characters embody America going against an adversarial force that represents a danger to American worths, much like 1985’s “Rocky IV” or the “Captain America” storyline in the Marvel Movies of the 2010s. American Patriot Depot.
Being a patriot is “a word that attends to identity,” Sokolowski, of Merriam-Webster, stated.
” Identity is an immensely personal and political part of language,” he said. “When it comes to identity, you’re getting to something that touches individuals deeply.”.
Syrett stated these motion pictures and TV programs depicting patriotism are a reflection of the times and reveal there is an audience for such content.
” Popular culture not just encourages a change in word meaning however it likewise takes advantage of a belief that exists on the wider public,” she stated.
However there are also popular culture disputes around what makes up a patriot. American Patriot Depot.
There are some, for example, who would call Colin Kaepernick a patriot. The previous NFL star triggered debate after he sat in demonstration throughout the nationwide anthem in 2016 for a pre-season game, saying he would not honor a tune nor “reveal pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Kaepernick’s protest became part of a continuing national debate about law enforcement’s unequal treatment of Black people.
American Patriot Depot
Still, others believe that in taking a knee, Kaepernick disrespected America.
In the same vein, Syrett and Sokolowski stated there are some who would say the rioters at the US Capitol were patriots, while others may have seen them as terrorists. American Patriot Depot.
Syrett said the inconsistency over who or what is a patriot is a fight of linguistics that has actually been battled given that the nation’s founding – when it wasn’t even agreed upon on what it indicated to be American.