Exactly what does it mean to be a patriot? – American Patriot Poster
Experts say it’s challenging to define
For lots of, being thought about a patriot is as American as it gets.
Of the countless words in the English language, the word “patriot” has long instilled a sense of pride in Americans. By definition, it means “one who enjoys and supports his or her nation,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One professional informed CNN calling somebody a “patriot” brings with it a higher level of pride and respect, putting a person on par with the creators of this nation who are seen as the initial patriots. American Patriot Poster.
It’s a word that’s supposed to bring marriage and joy, however throughout history, it’s likewise divided and left out individuals. American Patriot Poster.
American Patriot Poster
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 latched on to the word “patriot” as a way to describe individuals who are purely American and (generally) White. Those who are not patriotic are against the US and whatever it stands for, making them the opponent. American Patriot Poster.
” It’s a rhetorical game with sometimes life and death consequences,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative press reporter and spokesperson 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 utilized in pop culture to highlight the heroes of America, who were incidentally fighting against individuals who they considered weren’t American. A sophisticated search on IMDb finds a minimum of 94 popular motion picture and television reveal titles that relate to “patriot” or “patriotism.”.
So what makes “patriots” such a unifying, yet dissentious word at the same time? Here’s a look at the history of it and its context. American Patriot Poster.
American Patriot Poster
Patriot is stemmed from a French word
Like many words, patriot does not have English origins.
It’s derived from the Greek word “patrios,” which means “of one’s father.” Patriot went into the English lexicon through the French word “patriote,” meaning “fellow countryman” 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 in time, according to Kristen Syrett, associate professor of linguistics at Rutgers University/New Brunswick. American Patriot Poster.
During the 17th century, a patriot in Europe was somebody who enjoyed their nation and agreed with the recognized federal government and/or religion, Merriam Webster’s essay on the word states.
The word then changed in significance and undertone as infighting in Europe led to the formation of brand-new countries, like America.
” This word had kind of switched from an advocate of recognized government to someone who is against a recognized government,” stated Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. American Patriot Poster.
During the American Transformation, patriot had a positive undertone in America, however a negative one in England, Sokolowski said. It’s because of this that the founding fathers are viewed as the epitome of patriotism.
” It kind of made them spiritual figures,” Sokolowski stated.
The unabridged definition of patriot in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary also states it is somebody who belongs to a resistance group. That definition has not been updated in at least 30 years, Sokolowski said. American Patriot Poster.
In the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the oldest on the planet, an entry of patriot was modified in 2005 to state:.
” A challenger of presumed intervention by federal government in the affairs of individuals, esp. with respect to weapon and tax laws. Often in the names of right-wing libertarian political and militia groups.”.
A representative for Oxford’s Languages group informed CNN in an email the meaning belonged to a routine series of updates in 2005.
” The meaning in question is part of wide range of nuanced uses of the word ‘patriot’ recorded in the (Oxford English Dictionary) and modifications were made based on evidence of how the word is utilized in day-to-day life,” the declaration read.
The addition of right-wing groups “traces the instructions the language is going,” Sokolowski stated. American Patriot Poster.
American Patriot Poster
Dislike 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 teacher at the University at Albany who studies patriotism and violence in reactionary groups.
” That motion was arranged around perception that external impacts – like non-White Europeans and others – were a hazard to American worths,” Jackson said. “By the 1850s, we’re seeing language of patriotism and symbols being used in political ways and to mark individuals as ‘among us and among them.'”.
The “us vs. them” mindset 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 real patriot, I have a clear concept of what that indicates and what it suggests to not be a patriot,” said Syrett, the Rutgers teacher. “This is a word that is actually conditioned by what our set of values is and what we believe we’re fighting for.”.
The worths of being a patriot for those who had nativist and nationalist ideologies implied that America preceded and foremost. Anyone versus that particular set of values was seen as a threat, even if that threat was the US government.
The “America initially” 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 Bombing on April 19, 1995.
” The word patriot is often exploited by individuals that want to benefit from this concept of a love for country,” said Hayden, the SPLC senior investigative reporter. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do helpful for your country, but when that enthusiasm is damaged … that is taking good objectives and corrupting them for the function of doing harm.”.
Some people who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 called themselves patriots. American Patriot Poster.
Former President Donald Trump and his child Ivanka have actually likewise used the word when describing fans.
Ivanka Trump resolved 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 defended guests of his Greenville, North Carolina, rally – where members of the crowd shouted “send her back” about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar – calling them “extraordinary patriots.”.
According to Jackson, the University at Albany professor, “When you state someone is a patriot, you’re saying there’s some goodness in them. It validates them.”. American Patriot Poster.
Popular culture utilizes patriot to highlight America.
In popular culture, patriot can produce many 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 of United States soldiers defending flexibility, like those seen in 1998’s “Conserving Private Ryan.”.
Then there are those films where the characters embody America going against an adversarial force that represents a danger to American worths, similar to 1985’s “Rocky IV” or the “Captain America” storyline in the Marvel Movies of the 2010s. American Patriot Poster.
Being a patriot is “a word that addresses identity,” Sokolowski, of Merriam-Webster, said.
” Identity is an immensely personal and political part of language,” he said. “When it concerns identity, you’re getting to something that touches individuals deeply.”.
Syrett said these motion pictures and TV programs portraying patriotism are a reflection of the times and show there is an audience for such content.
” Popular culture not just encourages a modification in word meaning but it likewise profits from a belief that is there on the more comprehensive public,” she said.
There are likewise pop culture disputes around what makes up a patriot. American Patriot Poster.
There are some, for example, who would call Colin Kaepernick a patriot. The previous NFL star triggered controversy after he beinged in protest throughout the national anthem in 2016 for a pre-season game, stating he would not honor a tune nor “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and individuals of color.” Kaepernick’s demonstration belonged to a continuing national debate about police’s unequal treatment of Black people.
American Patriot Poster
Still, others believe that in taking a knee, Kaepernick disrespected America.
In the exact same vein, Syrett and Sokolowski said there are some who would say the rioters at the US Capitol were patriots, while others may have seen them as terrorists. American Patriot Poster.
Syrett said the discrepancy over who or what is a patriot is a battle of linguistics that has been battled given that the nation’s starting – when it wasn’t even agreed upon on what it indicated to be American.