The role of patriotism in America should be valued when it brings people together for a good cause; however, patriotism can be viciously corruptive when used for the wrong reasons.
“The Things They Carried” exploits one aspect of bad patriotism; the idea of America’s pointless actions in Vietnam, as said by the author Tim O’Brien “Certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons.” The way the government in the 1960’s proclaimed the sending of American troops to Vietnam as “patriotic” proves the way patriotism can be harmful with the wrong reasons. The consequences of bad patriotism are shown by O’Brien’s experience in the war, “Rat Kiley bent over the corpse. “Give me five,” he said. “A real honor.” Tim’s illustrations of the war’s after-effects show how baneful patriotism can change people into beastly individuals that cruel joke in order to keep up with all the bloodshed they see everyday.
Examples of this are widely spread through “The Things They Carried” The story of the girl that went to Vietnam to visit her boyfriend and ended up staying with the Green Berets and wearing a necklace with human tongues is good example of the effects bad patriotism can have. False patriotism used for unnecessary violence is definitely a negative aspect of patriotism
In Langston Hughes’s speech, “Let America Be America Again” he expresses true American patriotism, “O, let my land be a land where Liberty is crowned with no false patriotic wealth,” Langston composes his speech with a hunger for equality as the new American value of his time. Hughes shows his passion for patriotic equality and unity of the common men “The land that’s mine-the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME” they comparison with the majority makes his speech even more powerful for it uses true patriotism. Hughes being a slave did not affect his love for his country, for that reason he wrote this speech to deliberate the patriotic values he wants his country to have, which are equality and unity in America.
Undaunted Courage, the book titled of the Lewis and Clark expedition shows what the values our government is based on. Thomas Jefferson showed this by going against the constitution and accepting to buy all the land the French sold him all in the name of the common men, he baked up his actions by saying it meant more land for common men to use for farming, this in a way is a type of patriotism; going against something that might put you at jeopardy for the good of others is a good patriotic American value. The patriotic value stated in Undaunted Courage is “advance the information of the succeeding generation,” thinking about the majority before yourself is a very important role of being patriotic.
In the article “July 4th 2013: What It Means To Be Patriotic in 21st Century America” by Alexandra Cardinale, she explains that the American value of patriotism should not be “ I stand with my country – right or wrong.” Instead we should ask and criticize our form of government in order to have a fair and united country. A very positive value, for we as a country must not forget that we are humans and humans make mistakes, for this I find the need of criticism and questioning of our government a good patriotic value.
Patriotism shaped our country for the best. We must not forget the role patriotism should play in the American value system, as long as we remember the people and things that shaped our country we shall remain a patriotic country.