We have a nationalism problem, which stems from the poison apple at the top. “America First” has become such a proud mentality for so many, but all that glitters is not gold. Nationalism shouldn’t be confused with patriotism. Patriotism, or pride in one’s country, is not the same as nationalism, the belief that one’s country is superior, with all else being inferior. Patriots want progress, but nationalists see progress as an insult to a country that could never do wrong. This tradeoff has caused other, very important values to be cast off as cumbersome.
Justice is unimportant with nationalism at the forefront. Evidence is routinely sidelined so as to promote the leader’s image as keeping America great and that all other countries are abominable. Intelligence is also unimportant; embracing science would contradict the narrative spun thus far regarding climate, COVID, and (windmill) cancer. We have no room for intelligence, if our nation might look inept. There’s a saying about ignorance...
Acceptance has taken a backseat. We don’t accept those that are different from us, but see them as a threat to disrupting the norm. When prioritizing values, nationalism dictates that acceptance becomes obsolete. Integrity and compassion are considered weaknesses. Keeping children in cages is regarded as national strength and putting America first. We have to separate families and sterilize women, to show how tenacious we are in refusing others’ needs and basic measures of humanity. We never give in to these drug-dealing kids’ cries!
If nationalism is our main tenet, everything and everyone else is evil. This toxic mentality has no place here. Nationalism focuses on the domain, but patriotism focuses on the people. I would hope we can refocus on what truly matters -- our fellow humans -- instead of ourselves. Be human first. Be American next. Be a nationalist never.
Ryan Hilmoe, Bismarck
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