Just what does it suggest to be a patriot? – American Patriot Foundation
Professionals say it’s not easy to specify
For numerous, being considered a patriot is as American as it gets.
Of the countless words in the English language, the word “patriot” has actually long instilled a sense of pride in Americans. By definition, it indicates “one who likes and supports his or her country,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One specialist informed CNN calling someone a “patriot” brings with it a greater level of pride and regard, putting a person on par with the founders of this nation who are seen as the original patriots. American Patriot Foundation.
It’s a word that’s supposed to bring unification and delight, but throughout history, it’s also divided and omitted individuals. American Patriot Foundation.
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In modern times, conspiracy theorists and extremists – consisting of some members of the groups who took part in the Capitol riots on January 6 – have actually latched on to the word “patriot” as a method to explain people who are simply American and (typically) White. Those who are not patriotic protest the United States and everything it represents, making them the enemy. American Patriot Foundation.
” It’s a rhetorical video game with sometimes life and death consequences,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and representative for the Southern Hardship Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based non-profit that tracks hate groups and their activities.
At the same time, the word is still utilized in pop culture to illustrate the heroes of America, who were by the way battling versus individuals who they deemed weren’t American. An advanced search on IMDb finds at least 94 popular film and TV show titles that relate to “patriot” or “patriotism.”.
What makes “patriots” such a unifying, yet divisive word at the very same time? Here’s a look at the history of it and its context. American Patriot Foundation.
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Patriot is stemmed from a French word
Like the majority of words, patriot does not have English origins.
It’s stemmed from the Greek word “patrios,” which means “of one’s dad.” Patriot got in the English lexicon through the French word “patriote,” implying “fellow countryman” or “compatriot,” according to Merriam-Webster.
There’s never been any arguments about patriot’s actual meaning, however it’s context – usually political – is what has actually changed in time, according to Kristen Syrett, associate professor of linguistics at Rutgers University/New Brunswick. American Patriot Foundation.
During the 17th century, a patriot in Europe was someone who enjoyed their country and agreed with the established federal government and/or religion, Merriam Webster’s essay on the word states.
The word then altered in significance and connotation as infighting in Europe caused the development of new countries, like America.
” This word had actually kind of switched from a fan of recognized government to somebody who is against an established government,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. American Patriot Foundation.
Throughout the American Revolution, patriot had a favorable undertone in America, however a negative one in England, Sokolowski said. It’s because of this that the founding fathers are seen as the epitome of patriotism.
” It type of made them religious figures,” Sokolowski stated.
The unabridged definition of patriot in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary also says it is somebody who is a member of a resistance group. That meaning has actually not been updated in at least thirty years, Sokolowski said. American Patriot Foundation.
In the Oxford English Dictionary, among the earliest worldwide, an entry of patriot was modified in 2005 to state:.
” A challenger of assumed intervention by federal government in the affairs of people, esp. with respect to weapon and tax laws. Often in the names of conservative libertarian political and militia groups.”.
A spokesperson for Oxford’s Languages group told CNN in an e-mail the meaning was part of a routine series of updates in 2005.
” The meaning in question belongs to wide range of nuanced uses of the word ‘patriot’ taped in the (Oxford English Dictionary) and changes were made based on proof of how the word is utilized in daily life,” the statement checked out.
The addition of right-wing groups “traces the direction the language is going,” Sokolowski said. American Patriot Foundation.
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Hate groups utilize ‘patriot’ for propaganda
Patriot in nativist, nationalistic and dislike speech goes back to a minimum of the mid-1800s to the Know Nothing Celebration, according to Sam Jackson, an assistant professor at the University at Albany who studies patriotism and violence in reactionary groups.
” That motion was arranged around perception that external influences – like non-White Europeans and others – were a risk to American worths,” Jackson stated. “By the 1850s, we’re seeing language of patriotism and signs being used in political ways and to mark individuals as ‘one of us and among them.'”.
The “us vs. them” attitude of patriotism would continue into the new century and morph into a concept that patriotism is American and anything not American is bad.
” If I say somebody is a true patriot, I have a clear concept of what that implies and what it implies to not be a patriot,” said Syrett, the Rutgers professor. “This is a word that is actually conditioned by what our set of values is and what we think we’re defending.”.
The values of being a patriot for those who had nativist and nationalist ideologies meant that America preceded and foremost. Anybody versus that specific set of values was viewed as a threat, even if that risk was the United States federal government.
The “America first” conditions set the tone for the late 1980s and 90s when conspiracy theorists start forming what is called the Patriot Motion, an anti-government motion with White supremacist leanings, according to the SPLC. This movement culminated in the Oklahoma City Battle on April 19, 1995.
” The word patriot is often made use of by individuals that wish to benefit from this idea of a love for country,” said Hayden, the SPLC senior investigative reporter. “There is nothing wrong with wishing to do great for your nation, but when that enthusiasm is damaged … that is taking good intentions and damaging them for the purpose of doing harm.”.
Some people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 called themselves patriots. American Patriot Foundation.
Former President Donald Trump and his child Ivanka have actually likewise utilized the word when describing supporters.
Ivanka Trump dealt with the rioters as “American Patriots” in tweet from January 6 that she later erased.
Trump also called the rioters “excellent patriots” in a tweet on January 6. In July 2019, Trump protected attendees of his Greenville, North Carolina, rally – where members of the crowd shouted “send her back” about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar – calling them “incredible patriots.”.
According to Jackson, the University at Albany teacher, “When you say someone is a patriot, you’re saying there’s some goodness in them. It confirms them.”. American Patriot Foundation.
Popular culture utilizes patriot to highlight America.
In pop culture, patriot can produce lots of images.
For some it could be the founding fathers or the generation around the American Revolution, like in the 2000 film “The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson. Others might think about United States soldiers defending flexibility, like those seen in 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.”.
There are those motion pictures where the characters embody America going versus an adversarial force that represents a danger to American values, much like 1985’s “Rocky IV” or the “Captain America” storyline in the Marvel Movies of the 2010s. American Patriot Foundation.
Being a patriot is “a word that addresses identity,” Sokolowski, of Merriam-Webster, said.
” Identity is an immensely individual and political part of language,” he said. “When it pertains to identity, you’re getting to something that touches individuals deeply.”.
Syrett said these films and TV shows portraying patriotism are a reflection of the times and reveal there is an audience for such material.
” Popular culture not only encourages a modification in word meaning however it also takes advantage of a sentiment that exists on the broader public,” she stated.
However there are likewise popular culture differences around what constitutes a patriot. American Patriot Foundation.
There are some, for example, who would call Colin Kaepernick a patriot. The previous NFL star triggered controversy after he beinged in protest during the national anthem in 2016 for a pre-season game, saying he would not honor a tune nor “reveal pride in a flag for a nation that oppresses black people and individuals of color.” Kaepernick’s demonstration was part of a continuing nationwide debate about law enforcement’s unequal treatment of Black people.
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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 might have seen them as terrorists. American Patriot Foundation.
Syrett stated the discrepancy over who or what is a patriot is a battle of linguistics that has actually been fought considering that the country’s founding – when it wasn’t even agreed upon on what it implied to be American.