(JollofNews) – How do you measure patriotism in the wake of the unprecedented type of body politics exists in the Gambia? Is it about falling in line behind your preferred political leader? Or does it mean confronting what is wrong with our country as well as what is right? These questions are not only of our time.

They are timeless, and form key tensions at the heart of our system of government. I believe we should reconnect to some of the core values that have united us as a people in the past, and can unite us once more.

What is patriotism? It is question that occupies my mind recently as the nation I love dearly is beset by crises that threaten to overwhelm the basic tenets of our cherished democracy.

My hope is that let no one expect any monopoly on wisdom. But I do hope, we can start recognizing that patriotism must be as expansive and inclusive as our democracy should be. We hope to start a conversation about love of country to which you would like to lend your voice and thoughts. We need to hear from our wonderful, diverse, citizenry now more than ever.

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 while the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to a war.
Nationalism vs Patriotism
Nationalism and patriotism both show the relationship of an individual towards his or her nation. The two are often confused and frequently believed to mean the same thing. However, there is a vast difference between nationalism and ariotism.

Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.

When talking about nationalism and patriotism, one cannot avoid the famous quotation by George Orwell, who said that nationalism is ‘the worst enemy of peace’. According to him, nationalism is a feeling that one’s country is superior to another in all respects, while patriotism is merely a feeling of admiration for a way of life. These concepts show that patriotism is passive by nature and nationalism can be a little aggressive.

Patriotism is based on affection and nationalism is rooted in rivalry and resentment. One can say that nationalism is militant by nature and patriotism is based on peace.

Most nationalists assume that their country is better than any other, whereas patriots believe that their country is one of the best and can be improved in many ways. Patriots tend to believe in friendly relations with other countries while some nationalists don’t.

In patriotism, people all over the world are considered equal but nationalism implies that only the people belonging to one’s own country should be considered one’s equal.

A patriotic person tends to tolerate criticism and tries to learn something new from it, but a nationalist cannot tolerate any criticism and considers it an insult.

Nationalism makes one to think only of one’s country’s virtues and not its deficiencies. Nationalism can also make one contemptuous of the virtues of other nations. Patriotism, on the other hand, pertains to value responsibilities rather than just valuing loyalty towards one’s own country.

Nationalism makes one try to find justification for mistakes made in the past, while patriotism enables people to understand both the shortcomings and improvements made.
Patriot: Expresses the emotion of love towards his country in a passive way.
Nationalist: Strives for independence and the interests and domination of a nation and expresses his love or concern for the country in an active political way.
1…. while nationalism can unite people, it must be noted that it unites people against other people. It was nationalism driven by religious identity and political misgivings which caused the Partition of India in 1947. It was nationalism which was central to Hitler’s philosophy and which led the Japanese to invade China in 1937 and precipitate the Second World.
2. Nationalism focuses on the State while patriotism focuses on the people
3. It is better to love our country keeping in mind that democratic ideals are the most important. The term ‘national identity’ is difficult to define–it can mean a religious identity, an ethnic identity or even an ideological identity. The main shortcoming of nationalism lies in the fact that it can blind people. Love for one’s country is imperative and necessary, but if this love becomes more important than Constitutional values or democratic ideals, it is misplaced.
Additional Readings:
(The Huffington Post: There’s a World of difference Between Patriotism and Nationalism)
Read more: Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/…/difference-between-nat…/…

The author is founder and former managing editor of The Independent, the Gambia’s only private newspaper before it was banned by the government in 2005. He was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a 2007 Nieman fellow and is the author of Delayed Democracy: How Press Freedom Collapsed in Gambia published in 2013.