WHY is modern patriotism such a contradiction?
Why do nationalists hate their own countries so much?
To observe Irish nationalists, whether they be Covid rioting on the streets of Dublin or fulminating on social media, is to observe a seething hatred against the Irish people.
They especially seem to hate the country as it is now. The Ireland, that is, that actually exists.
They hate the 89 per cent of us who’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19.
They hate the 98 per cent of us who reject them at the voting booth.
They hate the 62 per cent of us who voted for same sex marriage as an inalienable right.
They hate the 66 per cent of us who voted for women to have rights over their own bodies.
They hate any of us who might welcome a more multicultural Ireland, who believe in a truly welcoming Ireland, who believe, in fact, in Ireland.
These nationalists hate, quite clearly, an awful lot of things about this country and an awful lot of the Irish people in it.
They drape themselves in the flag at any given opportunity, parade the Constitution of this State as if it were their bible, but they hate us.
What they say they love so much they openly despise.
Poor Ireland. What has she done to deserve patriots like this.
Ireland is not alone though is it? Look at the MAGA patriots of the USA.
Look at them storming their own parliament. Look at them storming their own democracy.
Who are their enemy, these American loving Americans?
Their enemy is other Americans. Did our patriots learn from them or did they learn from us?
Kyle Rittenhouse, after all, standing smilingly, no tears now, next to Donald Trump, shot and killed two Americans.
Not two enemy soldiers from other countries in the fields of far away places.
Two Americans on the streets of America.
That’s how much of a patriot he is.
That’s how much of a nationalist he is. That’s how much he loves his country.
So much he’s willing to kill for it. To kill his fellow citizens. His fellow Americans. Modern patriotism. It simply hates what it says it loves.
Take our neighbours over the water. Those Brexit Brits.
They hate the EU for sure but, my God, they hate their own too.
They hate those against Brexit. They hate those who didn’t vote for Brexit.
They hate those young men who represent England but have the audacity to miss a penalty in a shoot out.
They hate those imagined elites who look down on them and then choose ordinary, everyday, didn’t go to Eton, didn’t go to Dulwich, Johnson and Farage as their cheerleaders.
If modern nationalism didn’t have contradictions it would have nothing.
Take your country back. From whom?
Your fellow countrymen and women? Your fellow citizens?
Son of Irish immigrants Tommy Robinson’s English Defence League paraded, after all, through the streets of England.
Defending England from, well, England.
Modern nationalism. It parades against itself.
It hates, it kills, actually kills its fellow citizens, it despises.
The first dictionary definition of patriotism I came across just now says patriotism is ‘devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country’.
Modern patriotism, modern nationalism, is more like committed despising of one’s country and the citizens in it.
I love Ireland. I’ve loved it since I was a child of immigrant Irish parents growing up in England.
I loved it when I wrapped myself in the tricolour in Italy in 1990.
The first time I’d ever been abroad.
I’m a lot older now and I’ve lived here for well over twenty years.
Raised my family, my Irish-speaking kids here. Worked here for more than two decades.
I still love Ireland. But I’m not a nationalist. I’m not a patriot.
I always wish my country the best. I always wish the best for this country.
And when a football match starts that we are playing in I’m still that kid and it’s still 1990.
But I’m not a nationalist. I wouldn’t like my mind to be that small.
I wouldn’t like to despise my fellow citizens that much.