I had a Twitter conversation with a Donald Trump supporter that has left me puzzled.
Donald Trump, she said, is a patriot.
I had been complaining that Trump is not civil; civility matters to me. She acknowledged that he was not so civil but that he was a patriot. The country was in tatters and he was going to make things right again.
So, I’m puzzled. Is patriotism the same thing as racism? Is patriotism the same thing as isolationism? Is it synonymous with Islamophobia? I have no doubt that Trump loves America, but it is the flavor of his love that is making me question the definition of patriotism. Is President Obama not a patriot? Are the non-native born American citizens, especially those who have fought for this country, not patriots?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines patriotism as, simply, love for one’s country.
Trump is, by definition, a patriot. I was combining my idea of patriotism with my idea of civility. They are not synonymous. Trump, to me, is an uncivil patriot.
Patriots do not have to care about how they treat fellow Americans. What they do have to do is be against “the enemy,” wherever and whomever that enemy might be.
Donald Trump is not a patriot merely because he wants to bomb ISIS and make NATO members pay what they’re supposed to pay for. I hope he or someone can get rid of ISIS and all terrorist groups, including the domestic ones like the Ku Klux Klan. And I hope that if he is elected, he will be able to get member nations of NATO to pay what they are supposed to pay.
Where I get confused is how he, as a patriot, can openly ask Russia, a long-time enemy of the United States, to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails. If they hack into her emails, can’t they and won’t they hack into other documents that are vital to American security? All this courting of Russia doesn’t feel patriotic to me. It feels troubling.
So, can one be a patriot and invite the enemy into its most private spaces? Isn’t Russia trying to regain its role as a top world power? Isn’t inviting Russia to hack an American politician’s email account kind of treasonous? Trump seems to trust Russia’s Vladimir Putin quite a bit. What is the basis of and for that trust? What has Putin done to show that Russia is America’s ally?
I am trying to understand. Someone help me. Because I am obviously missing something. What is a patriot? Donald Trump is a patriot because he loves his country, yet he questions the patriotism of President Obama and others whose foreign policy is different from his.
Patriotism seems to be a liquid concept if I go with the love for Trump as a patriot. It’s confusing.
A candid observation …