How they confuse fighting for patriotism

Dan Lier talks with Peter Montoya about a section in his latest book about patriotism and they discuss common misconceptions that exist about the implications of identifying as a patriot in day-to-day life.

You wrote in the book The Second Civil War. You wrote a chapter which excuse me, I haven’t seen anybody else talk about because I read through it and I was fascinated because I didn’t think about it in that respect.


And you wrote it and you talked about meditations on patriotism. Can you tell me some more about that?


Yeah. So thank you for asking that. It was a kind of a courageous chapter for me to write in. The reason there is I don’t have any more of a right to talk about patriotism than anybody else. It’s really only my opinion.


So there is no definitive list of here’s what makes a patriot. And if you’re not it, you’re bad. So as I’m sharing my thoughts on patriotism, they really are just my thoughts. So I found most descriptions about patriotism to be vague, lofty and not particularly helpful.


Here’s one such definition. Hey, can I interrupt you for a minute, Peter, because here’s why I thought this chapter was so amazing. So right now, in the in the current state of affairs in our country, when you say that I’m a patriot.


Obviously, they think you have a red hat on and you have a gun in your back pocket. Right. And that’s because of the news cycle. Perception is reality. That’s that’s what I see. So I’m when I read your chapter, it actually gave me hope because there were some actually tangible, tangible things that people could think about.


Because if you if you read just like you said, when you when you when people poll about, what do they really think about defunding the police or things like that, most people are on the same place. And if people read your vows, I think most people and one is only one over half, that’s most.


But I think it would be like 75 percent of the people would agree with those things. Wow. Thank you. So anyway, go ahead.


Big step there, but it’s really, really helpful. All right. So here’s a definition that I’ve read about patriotism. Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and an alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment.


Yeah, I clearly understand what that means, but it doesn’t really help me all that much in telling me what I should do or how I should act. Right. What I think about patriotism and once again, this is my definition, completely subjective.


I think that that patriotism really is about love. So love is three different things. It is a decision. It is a feeling. But more importantly, I think its actions. Everyone who is a parent, at some point in time, maybe, maybe subconsciously, but makes a decision going.


I love my kid. I love my kid, and usually followed by some very, very powerful feelings which are actually hardwired into us that we go. You know, I’ve got such affection for these people for this this young life.


And I will do anything to protect them, even at the expense of my own. And that’s my own life, or it’s another place where we’re hard wired. We will sacrifice ourselves so our children survive. But more importantly, to me, love is really about behaviors.


So if I was a parent and I said, I love my kids, I got two kids, I love my kids, I had this warm feeling toward my kids. But then I didn’t back it up with the behaviors. I didn’t spend time with them.


I didn’t take them to school. I wouldn’t pay for their housing. I wouldn’t pay for their education. I wouldn’t pay for them their meals. And I didn’t have any of the actions that actually followed up this decision and this behavior.


Dan, as an outside observer, would you say that I really love my kids? No, no. And I would agree with you. So for a lot of people, this is just my observation. They say they love our country. And to me, that really is about pride.


Like they’re just so proud of the country. This national entity that rivals people who I’ve talked to who say they love the country is they usually hate half the people in it. And that doesn’t really make sense to me because we think about what the country really is ensure it’s this amazing piece of land.


Got that? It is our institutions and our constitutions and it is our troops. But the mass part of the country is the people in it. So how can we hate half the people in it and still love the country?


That doesn’t compute with me. Well, you might say, well, half the country isn’t behaving very well. Well, I will tell you the first lesson of any kind of therapy you might go to on any relationship, and that’s this.


You can’t change them. All you can do is change yourself.


If you are more committed to national unity than partisanship, please check out my book, The Second Civil War: A Citizen’s Guide to Healing Our Fractured Nation. My book will challenge you to improve your relationships with friends and family.


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