The Cougar Chronicle

What is Patriotism? The leading topic during discussion forum

Micaela Johansson, Assistant Opinion Editor

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Questioning Patriotism, that was the leading topic during a discussion forum on Thursday, May 4, in Markstein 106 during U-hour.

It’s the third and last topic of the series from “Speaking of Democracy,” sponsored by the American Democracy project at CSUSM.

Ruoxi Li, assistant professor in the political science department, facilitated the discussion and started out with asking the question, “What is patriotism?” Answers included, but were not limited to, a sense of community, love for one’s country and commercial consumerism.

Patriotism seemed to be defined differently from person to person as well as situation to situation.

From glorified love for the country to a means of selling a product. By the end of the discussion a consciousness of agreement arose that patriotism has become a tool to get what you want

“A sort of sense of use and abuse patriotism,” said Li.

It is a sensitive statement to make in the patriot strong America however, an important fact to take into account when talking about democracy and equality of people.

Students made comments about consumerism and the entertainment industry in the U.S.

As a mass media student I added to the discussion,

“Producers of movies probably knows that portraying Americans as heroes is an excellent marketing trade no matter what the movie is about,”said a student who chose to stay anonymous.

Trying to define patriotism, nationalism and its connection to consumerism and the country seemed harder than expected. Many students nodded in agreement  the discussion made them a little more aware of the differences of interpretations of one word.

The two previous discussion topics Equal Rights: legal & political on April 13, and Private Gains from Public Office on April 27, together with the last topic of Questioning Patriotism has all been set up to invite students for an open discussion and better understanding of democracy in the United States.

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