Last year a non-American asked if I consider myself patriotic. After many ums and ahs and caveats, I said yes. I told him that I feel about America the way I feel about family: I didn’t choose it, I can’t control or endorse everything it does, but I do love it.
This is an important 4th of July distinction:
pa·tri·ot·ism: love that people feel for their country
na·tion·al·ism: a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries
jin·go·ism: the feelings and beliefs of people who think that their country is always right and who are in favor of aggressive acts against other countries
Patriotism doesn’t ask that you establish a hierarchy and rank your country above others. Patriotism doesn’t demand your pride or even your loyalty. Patriotism doesn’t require aggressive demonstrations of your power. Patriotism is just love. And that, for all of America’s flaws, is something I feel.
This piece by Ann Friedman made me think about all those who claim that they “love Taiwan” (愛台灣) and have used this proclamation to repeatedly imply that those who disagree with their beliefs (mostly on the “China issue”) to be, illogically, not loving Taiwan.
I wonder… if this is a form of patriotism? Nationalism? Jingoism? Or just plain political maneuvering?
For me, I remain deeply patriotic, even though my “country” isn’t officially recognized as one and my family and others like ours have been told, on more than one occasion, that we are “pigs from China” (外省豬) and should crawl back there.
Sorry to disappoint, but we aren’t going anywhere. The “Outsiders”, who came to Taiwan around 1949, were instrumental to the economic boom of the 80s and the prosperous society that we ALL enjoy today. And we have more than earned our right to call this land our home and to fight for our beliefs and hopes and dreams.