Are You Proud to Be An American?: Patriotism, Nationalism, Hatred, and Fear

This year has brought unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, trauma, depression, addiction, suicide, and hundreds of thousands dead, and millions infected with a disease that has no cure as of yet.

Our lives have been upended, having to accept this new reality for the foreseeable future.  While difficult, it is not insurmountable.  But we have to do it together.  The time for divisiveness is OVER.  It is not about us vs. them or me vs. you or blue vs. red.  We as a people, Americans, are wayyy better than this, and it is time we as a country recognized it and started acting like it.  It shouldn't have to take a traumatic event to bring us together, but after 9/11/2001, that's exactly what everyone did.  We were all Americans and treated each other kindly and with respect.  Now we are in the middle of multiple crises, and what are we doing?  Taking sides, pointing fingers, and spewing hate the likes we have never seen in decades, if not centuries.  Everyone must take responsibility for the role they play in perpetuating a problem...

That problem is HATRED...hatred for people who are different than you, hatred for those who disagree with you, hatred for your fellow neighbor, hatred for what it ACTUALLY means to be an American.  Unless you are indigenous to this land, we are ALL IMMIGRANTS!! We're ALL DIFFERENT.  We are not  NATIONALISTS, we are PATRIOTS.  We should love our country and everyone in it.  No one is better than anyone else.  

Patriot: a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government. 

"Patriotism means to stand by your country.  It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official" -Theodore Roosevelt

Nationalist: a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Inseparable from the desire for power.

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them" -George Orwell 

"The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war." -Sydney Harris 

Those who embraced this hatred aren't brave, or strong, or patriotic...they are lost and scared.  Instead of getting help with their anxieties, they become angry, and spread hatred, believing that will help make their fear go away.  NEWS FLASH!! It doesn't!  (And that's not fake news!)  They will just keep feeding their hatred as a way of life...until what?  To what end?  What is the benefit?   There is none...

Fortunately, there is help for everyone who is experiencing anxiety and fear.  Whether or not you espouse hatred, therapy can help you.  Explore the underlying reasons for your anxiety and fears, especially if you are one who has let it manifest itself into hatred.  Therapists and all helping professionals (doctors, nurses, police officers, firemen, etc.) ALL want to help people no matter who they are or where they come from or what they believe, or who they love.  EVERY AMERICAN should feel like they can do the same.  

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