September 27, 2023

In a polarized US, how to define a patriot increasingly depends on who’s being asked

Millions of Americans will attend parades, fireworks, barbecues and other Independence Day events, celebrating the courage and sacrifices of the nation’s 18th century patriots who fought for the nation’s independence from England and what they considered an unjust government. But that is only one version of a “patriot.” Today the word “patriot” and its variants have morphed beyond the original meaning. “Patriot” has become infused in political rhetoric and school curriculums, with varying definitions, while being appropriated by white nationalist groups. Trying to define what a patriot is often depends on who is being asked.

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