Being a patriot doesn’t make you a nationalist

Celebrating all principles just because they are different is wrong, diverse thought is about more than ethnicity



The WSU Marching Band plays the national anthem while the military color guard protects the flags before the game against Utah on Saturday at Martin Stadium. Patriotism is more about values than it is about land and conflating the two is inaccurate.

KENDRICK RICHARDSON, Evergreen columnist

When someone makes the claim that Western culture is superior it often resonates in one of two ways. Many individuals may hear a strong tone of nationalism. Others might just see it as a normal patriotic statement, and I would agree with the latter.

Nowadays, many consider nationalism to be synonymous with patriotism. Most online thesauruses will support that statement. The difference between the two terms lies in the belief that your country is superior, according to Merriam-Webster.

That being said, would you be a patriot or nationalist if you believed your country was superior in culture specifically?

“We need to be proud of the ideals that have made the country special,” Young Democrats member Brent Nichols, said. “I mean, we were the original constitutional republic democracy. Those are the things we need to be proud of.”

The general point of view was that you fall in one of two categories depending on what you choose to take pride in. The members I met with agreed that nationalism lies in blood and soil, while patriotism lives in values. This is precisely why it should be deemed acceptable to say some cultures are paramount to others.

No one can justifiably say that some humans are simply better than others, but not all ideals are created equal.

Culture is born from values. Therefore, saying every culture is equal and should be celebrated is saying that principles hold different worth depending on where you come from. Having a set of solid principles is commendable, while a celebration of all principles is spineless.

This is why I say with full confidence that multiculturalism and its implicit notions need to be trashed.

Put down the pitchfork. I enjoy spicy curry and nesting dolls as much as the next person, but patriotism exists for a reason. Pursuing innovation, limited government and the protection of basic human rights are ideals coined by the West. They’re something to be proud of and they have been shaping the world for that reason.

According to Indian immigrant writer Dinesh D’Souza, “America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.”

Yes, there’s no denying we are a country of immigrants. That’s obvious. However, we are not a multicultural nation. We are a multiethnic nation. The U.S. is comprised of individuals with numerous backgrounds, but when it comes to our ideals, assimilation to an extent can’t be off the table.

Keep rocking the seashells in your hair or the turban on your head. No one cares if you like cheap espresso and Bruce Springsteen. So long as you believe in the American Dream and everyone’s right to the pursuit of happiness, you’re taking part in Western culture. If you are proud enough to defend that way of life, you’re a patriot.

Like the Young Democrats say, “patriotism is based upon our values — our set of ideas.”

With great principles comes a great country. We do not need to be modest about it. Pride has been rightfully earned. We have values worth defending; not because they are Western, but because they are good.