Happy Pre-4th of July (this being the 3rd - at least where I am).
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word patriot thusly: "one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests". Merriam-Webster likewise defines jingoism as: "extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy".
I love my country. While the USA is decidedly not perfect, I truly believe the opportunities offered here exceed those available anywhere else in the world. Do we need some work? Absolutely. We need a lot of work. And until those opportunities offered and guaranteed by our country's founding documents are enjoyed by everyone regardless of race, religion, belief, orientation, social and economic status we as a country will not be what we could be. That discussion is for another time, however.
In our current lexicon, patriotism and jingoism are often seen to be synonyms, or at the very least to be interchangeable. If we examine their definitions however, some differences become quite strikingly apparent. Look at the words in the definitions of each: patriot's uses words like "love" and "support"; jingoism's uses the words "belligerent", "extreme", and "chauvinism". (Chauvinism, incidentally, is defined by Merriam-Webster as "excessive or prejudiced support for one's own cause, group or gender"). One definition uses words generally considered positive, the other words connoting immoderate, exclusionary, combative behaviors. Hmmm. Patriots get the rap, jingoists make all the noise.
Not all Patriots are Jingoists, then. Certainly I am not. But are all Jingoists patriots?
Please enjoy this version of Little Steven Van Zandt's tune I AM A PATRIOT
Recorded in 1984, his opening speech resonates today.
And please enjoy this tune from my fireside CD Wills And Won'ts - "Our Flag Decals Still Won't Get Us Into Heaven"