by Ada M. Palles
To me, Patriotism is more closely related to self-esteem than anything else — because your country is, in large part, your identity.
People have a deep sense of Patriotism when they are grateful for their way of life, the values their nation upholds, and what their country stands for in the world.
If you are not in alignment with these things, then you must either pursue its reformation or find a different country that is in alignment with your values. If you do not, then you cannot be a Patriot, because your self-esteem is compromised. You are not in a state of gratitude; instead, you are miserable.
My parents left their country because it had turned into something that was no longer in alignment with their values. They could no longer support it. They could no longer be Patriots. Their way of life, the things they valued, had been stolen from them.
A friend of mine told me he had to leave his country because, in his words, "I loved my country, but I hated my government." He lives in the U.S. now where on more than one occasion I have heard him exclaim with joy, "What a country!"
Gratefulness and appreciation are the cornerstones of Patriotism. We cannot love and value unless we have a deep feeling of gratitude for who we are and what we have created as a community. It is, once again, practically synonymous with self-esteem.
Because the U.S. has opened its arms to so many immigrants over the centuries, our gratitude is woven into the very fabric of our nation. In fact, it is so strong a concept that we celebrate our gratefulness, our Thanksgiving, every year. It is a National Holiday. And perhaps it is why this country is so blessed with abundance.
That is why we tend to be enthusiastic in our Patriotism. It is not Nationalism. It is love, plain and simple.
And it is why this daughter of immigrants considers herself a Patriot.