Exactly what does it mean to be a patriot? – Jeff Kowalski American Patriot
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 suggests “one who enjoys and supports his or her country,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One specialist told CNN calling somebody a “patriot” brings with it a higher level of pride and respect, putting a person on par with the founders of this country who are seen as the initial patriots. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
It’s a word that’s expected to bring unification and delight, however throughout history, it’s also divided and excluded people. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Jeff Kowalski American Patriot
In contemporary times, conspiracy theorists and extremists – including 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 way to describe individuals who are purely American and (normally) White. Those who are not patriotic protest the United States and whatever it stands for, making them the opponent. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
” It’s a rhetorical video game with sometimes life and death repercussions,” 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 used in pop culture to highlight the heroes of America, who were by the way combating versus individuals who they deemed weren’t American. An advanced search on IMDb discovers a minimum of 94 popular movie 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. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Jeff Kowalski American Patriot
Patriot is derived from a French word
Like the majority of words, patriot does not have English origins.
It’s derived from the Greek word “patrios,” which means “of one’s dad.” Patriot went into the English lexicon through the French word “patriote,” suggesting “fellow compatriot” or “compatriot,” according to Merriam-Webster.
There’s never ever been any arguments about patriot’s actual definition, but it’s context – typically political – is what has changed over time, according to Kristen Syrett, associate professor of linguistics at Rutgers University/New Brunswick. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
During the 17th century, a patriot in Europe was somebody who loved their nation and agreed with the recognized government and/or religion, Merriam Webster’s essay on the word states.
The word then changed in significance and connotation as infighting in Europe resulted in the formation of new countries, like America.
” This word had kind of changed from an advocate of established government to someone who is against an established government,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Throughout the American Transformation, patriot had a positive connotation in America, but an unfavorable one in England, Sokolowski stated. 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 says it is somebody who is a member of a resistance group. That definition has not been updated in a minimum of thirty years, Sokolowski stated. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
In the Oxford English Dictionary, among the earliest in the world, an entry of patriot was revised in 2005 to say:.
” A challenger of assumed intervention by federal government in the affairs of people, esp. with respect to gun and tax laws. Frequently in the names of conservative libertarian political and militia groups.”.
A representative for Oxford’s Languages team informed CNN in an e-mail the definition belonged to a regular series of updates in 2005.
” The meaning in question is part of wide range of nuanced uses of the word ‘patriot’ taped in the (Oxford English Dictionary) and modifications were made based on proof of how the word is used in daily life,” the statement read.
The addition of conservative groups “traces the instructions the language is going,” Sokolowski stated. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Jeff Kowalski American Patriot
Hate groups use ‘patriot’ for propaganda
Patriot in nativist, nationalistic and hate speech returns to at least 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 far-right groups.
” That movement was arranged around understanding that external impacts – like non-White Europeans and others – were a threat to American values,” Jackson said. “By the 1850s, we’re seeing language of patriotism and symbols being utilized in political ways and to mark people as ‘among us and among them.'”.
The “us vs. them” attitude of patriotism would continue into the brand-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 implies 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 defending.”.
The worths of being a patriot for those who had nativist and nationalist ideologies indicated that America preceded and foremost. Anyone versus that particular set of values was viewed as a hazard, even if that threat was the US government.
The “America first” conditions set the tone for the late 1980s and 90s when conspiracy theorists start forming what is referred to 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 frequently exploited by individuals that wish to take advantage of this idea of a love for country,” stated Hayden, the SPLC senior investigative press reporter. “There is absolutely nothing incorrect with wanting to do good for your country, however when that passion is corrupted … that is taking excellent intents and damaging them for the function of doing damage.”.
Some individuals who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 called themselves patriots. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Former President Donald Trump and his child Ivanka have likewise used the word when describing fans.
Ivanka Trump addressed the rioters as “American Patriots” in tweet from January 6 that she later deleted.
Trump likewise called the rioters “excellent patriots” in a tweet on January 6. In July 2019, Trump protected participants of his Greenville, North Carolina, rally – where members of the crowd chanted “send her back” about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar – calling them “incredible patriots.”.
According to Jackson, the University at Albany professor, “When you state someone is a patriot, you’re stating there’s some goodness in them. It confirms them.”. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Pop culture utilizes patriot to highlight America.
In pop culture, patriot can bring forth 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 consider US soldiers fighting for flexibility, like those seen in 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.”.
Then there are those movies where the characters embody America breaking an adversarial force that represents a threat to American values, much like 1985’s “Rocky IV” or the “Captain America” story in the Marvel Movies of the 2010s. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Being a patriot is “a word that deals with identity,” Sokolowski, of Merriam-Webster, stated.
” Identity is a tremendously individual and political part of language,” he stated. “When it comes to identity, you’re getting to something that touches individuals deeply.”.
Syrett said these motion pictures and television programs depicting patriotism are a reflection of the times and reveal there is an audience for such content.
” Popular culture not only motivates a change in word meaning however it also profits from a sentiment that exists on the broader public,” she said.
There are also pop culture differences around what makes up a patriot. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
There are some, for example, who would call Colin Kaepernick a patriot. The former NFL star stimulated debate after he sat in protest during the nationwide anthem in 2016 for a pre-season game, stating he would not honor a song nor “reveal pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black individuals and individuals of color.” Kaepernick’s demonstration was part of a continuing national dispute about police’s unequal treatment of Black people.
Jeff Kowalski American Patriot
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. Jeff Kowalski American Patriot.
Syrett stated the disparity over who or what is a patriot is a fight of linguistics that has actually been fought given that the nation’s starting – when it wasn’t even agreed upon on what it suggested to be American.