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What is a patriot?

The image of 21st century 'patriotism' - apparently
The image of 21st century 'patriotism' - apparently

According to Fox News Channel’s venerable editorialist Bill O’Reilly, a patriot is apparently anyone who
“…served their country,” motives and deeds be damned.

The longtime O’Reilly Factor host opined in an interview last week on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, that:

“… both President Bush the younger and Barack Obama are patriots because they served their country. You may not agree with them, alright? But I don’t think you say they’re not patriots unless you have, you know, evidence that is just through the roof. I think almost every president that’s ever served this nation has been a patriot, including Richard Nixon.”

“Patriot,” as it’s used today was not always understood as a “person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.”

(Of course in the case of Mr. Obama, the country to which he emigrated as a young boy, America, desperately needed fundamental transformation, the type of which only he and his radical liberal cohorts could bring about. To THAT imagined America one cannot dispute his loyalty.)

Perusing the etymological dictionary one finds some intriguing facts about the historical linguistic change manifested in the word “patriot.” For example one of its first uses comes from the early Latin term patriota, translating simply as “fellow countrymen.”

By the 1600s the definition of patriot had shifted to mean a “loyal and disinterested supporter of one’s country.” However in an ironic twist it later became a term of ridicule or abuse (in mid-18th century England) taking on the idea of “one whose ruling passion is the love of his country,” and was sometimes even used to describe a “factious disturber of the government.”

For a while the application had become so negative that, as the Online Etymology Dictionary states:

The name of patriot had become [c.1744] a by-word of derision. Horace Walpole [4th Earl of Orford] scarcely exaggerated when he said that ‘... the most popular declaration which a candidate could make on the hustings [the place where political campaign speeches were made] was that he had never been and never would be a patriot.’”

Based on a sober preponderance of the evidence one might be able to concur with Mr. O’Reilly’s remarks about Barack Obama’s “patriotism” – IF he were using the 18th century “factious disturber…” reference. Clearly he was not.

And it leaves a person with a sense of bewilderment to fathom how the man can paint such a picture of columbine American loyalism, i.e. true patriotism, when, to use his words, “the evidence IS just through the roof” to the contrary.

Anyone requiring an explanation of said evidence at this juncture, will never get it anyway, thus none shall be offered or expounded upon here.


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