What Is Patriotic Behavior?

Patriotism means loving your country. But what, exactly, does that mean, and what patriotic behavior is acceptable? Are there some traditions of celebrating your country that are better than others?

Let’s take, for example, the national anthem being played prior to sporting events. The traditional patriotic behavior would be to stand, remove your hat, and look at a flag while the anthem plays.

There was some controversy recently, when some players chose to kneel, rather than to stand. That would seem to be disrespectful. But was it?

Let’s say you love your house. If you notice the roof is leaking, which is the greater act of love: ignoring the leak, or fixing the roof?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a tradition?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What are you optimistic about?’


If you wear a t-shirt made out of your country’s flag, some would see that a showing your love of country. Others, however, might see it as desecrating a symbol of your country. Is one right and the other wrong?

Are there some acts of patriotism that veer toward nationalism? If so, who decides what they are?

Similarly, are there some parts of your country’s history that one person may celebrate, while another is ashamed? How can you reconcile these two views?

Ultimately, can we agree on certain actions or behaviors that show love of country? Or is it, by definition, a subjective issue? What is patriotic behavior?

Related questions: What does it mean to be patriotic? How can you love someone who does something you hate? What role should government play in our lives? What are the most proud of?

How Can You Love Someone Who Does Something You Hate?

There is a common idea that love is more important than hate. When given an option, we should choose love over hate every time. But that’s easier said than done.

Are you familiar with the aphorism, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Or how about “Hate cannot be stopped with more hate. Only love can do that”? These are noble sentiments, but can you actually manage that in real life?

That means everyone, no matter what they do, or say, or how they treat you. The driver that cut you off in traffic. The partner who cheats on you with someone else. The rich jerk who refuses to leave a tip.

Republicans have to love Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Democrats have to love Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Pro-lifers must love women who get abortions; people who favor gun control have to love the guy who takes an assault rifle to get his morning coffee.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where we discuss the questions ‘How can we encourage debate?’ and ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’


Now it is true that loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do, or everything they stand for. But you can’t say you love someone and then hope that they die.

Sometimes it seems like there is an epidemic of hate in the U.S. (and throughout the world), hate based on differences between individuals. That might include gender, religious beliefs, skin color or ethnic origin, sexual preferences, and on and on.

It is easy to say that we should all love each other rather than hate each other, but how can that be accomplished? How do you love someone who is different from you? Or worse, how do you love someone who actually does something you hate?

Related questions: Why do we hate? How can we encourage debate? Why is love important?

How Do You Deal With Loss?

No matter the color of your skin, your socioeconomic background, or the country of your birth, one of the things we all have in common is loss. At some point, we all will have to struggle with grief over the loss of a friend or loved one.

Typically, you might experience the death of an elderly family member, like a grandparent or a great-grandparent. As you age, and the people you know also age, death becomes more frequent. There may also be an unexpected death from someone who dies earlier than expected.

Eventually, if you get old enough, loss may seem like a nearly-everyday occurrence.

The way that loss is dealt with varies by the individual. There are the publicized five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But there are other ways to feel grief, and the order and severity of symptoms of loss can vary drastically from person to person.

Loss is not something that typically has any sort of formal training or instruction. And yet it is something that each one of has to learn to deal with. We each will feel the sting of family members, friends, pets, neighbors, spouses, and sometimes even children.

Processing your feelings can lead to a healthier psyche, and a more fully-lived life.

How do you deal with loss?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose of life? What do we have in common? Why are people afraid of death? How can we turn sadness into constructive action?

Roses Or Chocolates?

Is there one you would rather get? One that you would rather give? Why are roses and chocolates associated with love?

Share why if you wish.

Roses Or Chocolates?