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This is my new most often used word I think. At least in the last couple of days. Nationalism, sounds like a nice little word. We are a Nation, being citizens of said Nation, we’re American Nationalists… right? What does it mean really?
Nationalism is in its simple definition is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one’s nation. I would argue that most people believe that Nationalism is simply a feeling of pride, loyalty or protectiveness for their own country. Many folks would say that they are Nationalists, or Patriots.

Not so bad. Or is it?

Nationalism can be a powerful means of achieving goals as a country. Nationalism can also be a tool of manipulation by the leadership of a group or nation and can lead to grave violence.

The dark side of nationalism.

What about all those Germans, good citizens who stood by and said nothing while Jews, Christians, Blacks, Asians, Romanis (aka erroneously known as “Gypsy”), Gay-Lesbian-and-Trans-gendered people, physically disabled individuals, those with opposing political views, other religious peoples, Soviets, Ukrainians, Poles, and I am sure others…were systematically murdered, are those Germans who said nothing partly to blame? (BTW, I would have been one of those who Hitler would have exterminated, would you?)

If you are a proud American and you move overseas, you see yourself as Patriotic and staying true to your roots. A good thing right? Yet, if you are say, from Mexico, and you move to say, America, you are less than loyal for keeping your Nationalism/Patriotism to your home country. You are an interloper at best, a traitor at worst. Someone to be exiled. Double standard much?

History tells us that Nationalism can lead you straight to the gas chamber. When people are in despair they look for something to believe in, often this is Patriotism or Nationalism and is often attached to or merged with a religious or philosophical ideal. The belief that we as a people will “Stand United”… or we will prevail over challenges and disaster and that “God is with us”. The German people needed such after the effects of the Great Depression. Hitler was all too willing to oblige with a system of promoting nationalism via propaganda to the ultimate end of vilifying entire people groups, down to exterminating them based upon a philosophy. An extreme example you say, not going to happen here.


Hitler used the media as his highly effective propaganda machine. We are greatly influenced by the media in our own country. There are two main camps, the conservative news sources and the liberal news sources, then there are the other sources such as social media. Both main outlets are suspect by the opposing view-point. Both have been shown to manipulate the news, reporting opinion over fact. Neither can be trusted in my opinion and are simply propaganda machines. One must really research anything reported these days to see what the real truth is. And many of us simply don’t have time for that.

Remember what happened September 11, 2001? Yeah, United we Stand, how can any of us forget. We remember what we were doing the minute that the news hit the airwaves. We were shocked. Time seemed to stand still. Toby Keith has a song entitled “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue/The Angry American” that the charts loved that embodies the common feeling of the day. We went to war with “extremists” yet if you get down to it, we went to war with Muslims. An entire ideology that spans several people groups. Ah but you say, this is different, they attacked us. “They” attacked us. Who is “they”? There were 19 Al-Qaeda extremists. Did we just vilify an entire group of people based upon the acts of these 19 men? But, but, there are a lot of “buts” with this example, and some I cannot argue with. So let’s try another…

For Nationalism to be successful we have to define that Nation… with borders. Cross my borders without permission and you are trespassing, breaking the law, an alien in my Nation. An illegal alien. Say illegal alien (or often just illegal) and you automatically envision a darker skinned Mexican National. Yet Mexican Nationals are not the only people crossing our borders without permission. People from over 75 countries around the world have been documented crossing our borders illegally, much more in number than those haling from Mexico. Have we not vilified an entire people group based on propaganda? (The propaganda being that *only* Mexicans are coming here to “mooch off” of our social benefit systems. Propaganda is defined as information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.) Many also despise these folks due to their own form of Nationalism, speaking their own language, being proud of and displaying their own flag(s) and insisting that we honor their heritage as well. Pushy aren’t they? But if you support your own Nationalism and don’t support another’s individual’s right to their own form of Nationalism, what does that make you?

I believe that Nationalism is a slippery slope which often leads to violence, dare I say evil? History is replete with such examples. This is the “dark side of Nationalism” which I speak of. I urge caution to unhindered Nationalism. It takes critical articles about America and its endeavors to keep this in check, including those aimed at our military. Actual journalism and not opinion. We as a vigilant people must check ourselves, check our Country’s actions. If we are viewed as aggressors, we should investigate the reason. We must be our own Internal Affairs force. If we don’t like negative press, perhaps we should clean up our collective act?



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