Fine Line Between Patriotism and Xenophobia

Jana Ismail

Senior Staff Writer

 

There is a fine line between love and hate. This is a famous saying that, believe it or not, is true. Scientists have proven that love and hate are in some way biologically intertwined.

Looking at that statement from a demonstrative perspective, if there is a thin line between love and hate, then, there seems to be a thin line between nationalism and xenophobia, where nationalism is an excessive love for one’s country, while xenophobia is a hatred towards those from different countries.

It is easy to cross the line. It often happens unconsciously. Some of those who intensely love their country often exhibit severe hatred towards others. They justify their hatred with their love. These individuals believe that the only way to appropriately love their country is to hate all those who aren’t like them. They believe that by rejecting those who are of different backgrounds, they are protecting their country.

In recent years, the world has witnessed the rise of nationalistic politicians. Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen are perfect examples of that. They built their entire campaigns on hate-filled rhetoric, constantly attacking immigrants. Le Pen is determined to deport all non-French residents, especially those of Muslim origin. Similarly, Trump spent his time vilifying Mexicans and Arabs. For him, the best way to ‘Make America great again’ is to deport Latinos and Arabs.

Now more than ever, the line between loving one’s country and hating others is blurred. It has almost become a duty to hate immigrants, and all those who are “different.”

However, not all those who love their country hate others. Nationalistic individuals are more likely to hate others, compared to patriotic people. The rise of nationalist movements – such as Le Pen’s Front Nationale – has led to a rise in xenophobia. Some individuals have taken this as a carte blanche to do whatever they want, to spread hate, and bully innocent people.

Still, some individuals actually notice how absurd it is to hate others just because you love your country. The two things are not related. You can hold an extreme love for your country without hating others. The problem with this hatred is that it’s often based on generalizations and stereotypes.

Loving one’s country shouldn’t have anything to do with hating others. Political figures have imposed their distorted notion of love on these innocent immigrants. Isn’t it better to embrace them than make everyone’s life harder for no valid reason whatsoever?

Even if it’s a fine line between nationalism and xenophobia, we should make sure to stay on the right side of the line, and even then, it’s preferable to be patriotic than nationalistic.

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