How is patriotism justified?

Unbroken American patriotism

While President Bush's popularity has declined after the Iraq war, 70 percent remain, according to a poll, "extremely proud" to be American

Independence Day is celebrated in the USA. The revolt of freedom fighters, possibly from British rule, had the word been used back then, called terrorists, is a day on which the USA celebrates itself. And since the US government still sees the nation at war and backs patriotism, the question of how proud Americans are of their country is also telling this year.

In this country, pride in one's own country is, thank God, a little broken or, apart from right-wing circles, at least quieter, even if the trend seems to be towards growing nationalism despite European integration. According to an Emnid survey from December 2002, 56% of 14 to 24 year olds said they were "proud of Germany". According to an ipos survey at the end of 2001, 71 percent of those questioned said they were proud to be German, and 85 percent said you could be just as proud of your country as an American, French or English person. 53 percent associated "something good" with patriotism. Significantly, however, it has never been asked whether Germans are extremely proud, very proud or moderately proud of being Germans.

In any case, a critical distance from patriotism or nationalism usually corresponds to a more reflective and sensible attitude. Patriotism and nationalism, as the Germans in particular have remembered, but which is generally valid, resulted in the horror of wars and human extermination in the last century. The "clash of civilizations", which some in Huntington's footsteps not only discover but also practice in world politics, is just a covert clash of ethnic groups on another level.

We also recognize the challenges that America now faces. We are winning the war against enemies of freedom, yet more work remains. We will prevail in this noble mission. Liberty has the power to turn hatred into hope.

America is a force for good in the world, and the compassionate spirit of America remains a living faith. Drawing on the courage of our Founding Fathers and the resolve of our citizens, we willingly embrace the challenges before us.

US President George Bush on Independence Day

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Awakened patriotism, which was systematically strengthened and used by the US government, not only supported global power politics and made war, preventive strikes or nuclear weapons acceptable again, but also restricted civil and human rights and in some cases led to arbitrary justice, especially among the so-called "enemy fighters". Patriotism, often accompanied by fear of the foreign, tends to cloud the view and make some things appear justified, which is highly questionable or dangerous for a democratic constitutional state.

The Bush administration has lost points with its war policy in view of the many problems and the lack of weapons of mass destruction after the quick victory. Forty-two percent of people in a recent Gallup poll say the situation today wasn't worth the war, but 56 percent still support the Bush administration on this issue. The mood is thus approaching that of January, when just as many people rejected the war. However, as the war became more concrete and then broke out and was finally won, approval had risen significantly as planned by the US government, while critics nearly fell silent. After the victory in April, even 76 percent found it right.

President Bush's popularity is also falling steadily. In September 2001, his reputation among the Americans soared from 51 to 90 percent and then gradually fell again. It was not until the war in Iraq that the figures rose again from 48 percent in February 2003, briefly in April, to 71 percent. But the effect of the war success apparently fizzled out quickly. Now 61 percent think he's doing his job as president well, 36 percent, almost as much as before 9/11. 2001 have a negative attitude. Bush's popularity is falling, especially among older Americans.

The wave of patriotism used and fueled by the Bush administration has remained high, however. In January 2001, 55 percent were "extremely proud" to be American. According to a Gallup poll carried out at the end of June, the figure is now 70 percent. Of course, there are also 20 percent who are "very proud", 6 percent who are moderately, and 2 percent who are a little proud. After all, that makes a proud 98 percent. The Conservatives, like the Republican supporters, stand out patriotically with 80 percent, while the Liberals are still 56 percent, and the Democrats are still two-thirds. For the conservatives this results in a "patriotism gap" between the political right and left.

The whites are prouder with 73 percent compared to the non-whites with 59 percent. The age group between 30 and 49 seems to be particularly Bush-friendly and patriotic. Here, 75 percent say they are "extremely proud," while 66 percent think Bush is good. At 50, Bush's popularity declines, but patriotism only declines among those over 65. Even the younger ones between 18 and 29 years are a little more skeptical with 60 percent of the extremely proud. When assessing the pride of their fellow citizens, most respondents are not so sure. Only 42 percent believe that most Americans are "extremely proud". (Florian Rötzer)

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