I am always amazed at the level of patriotism demonstrated by US residents. Their show of patriotism doesn’t necessarily mean that they think their country is perfect – they just love it. It’s a bit like Sydney Harris’s description of a patriot as one who is proud of his/her country for what it does.
Too bad that patriotism and nationalism are often confused and frequently believed to mean the same thing. There is a vast difference. George Orwell saw patriotism as a feeling of admiration for a way of life while nationalism is a feeling that one’s country is superior to another in all respects. (Orwell regarded nationalism as dangerous and a threat to world peace.)
Surveys and associated studies that have been conducted conclude that, mostly, oldies are more patriotic than the younger generations. Oldies seem to value patriotism and hold on to the love and faith in, what they consider to be, their country. And they have the time and inclination to do so.
The main reasons for any difference comes down to social and economic attitudes. This finding/conclusion should, in no way, be confused with the young not being patriotic – their focus differs. The world is changing – faster paced, on the move, increasingly competitive, greater pressure than years gone by. It could be that the younger generation’s attitude derives from the fact that they are too busy doing other things to ‘worry’ about patriotism.
Oldies, it seems, want a quieter more tailored (predictable) life; to slow things down a little, hold on to a little of what they had, and to limit change – all for a good cause. This is a far different view from their younger counterparts who seem focussed on the future and how to compete and make a success of their lives. For Gens X, Y, and Z, patriotism might have to be put on hold.