QUEZON City, Philippines (June 28) – Nationalism can translate to positive feelings, ideas and efforts for your nation. Nationalism is needed to make a nation great so it is generally a good thing. But like all good things, when taken a bit too far, nationalism can be bad. There is such a thing as too much nationalism. On the one hand, we must protect our nation and our people. On the other, it should not be to the extent that we do harm to people of other nations.
Being nationalistic means that one is loyal and proud of his or her country. Such loyalty and pride however should not make one a bigot. Especially nowadays, every nation is connected and any issue can affect many of them. Nations should more or less cooperate. Being bigoted or extremely nationalistic can harm such cooperation.
For such a lofty principle, nationalism is often associated with wars. Wartime is also the time of intense nationalism as the nation faces a common enemy. But more often than not, nationalism is only used as an excuse, as war is more often the result of greed or hatred. A country attacks another country because it wants to claim their territory, resources or power. Saddest of all are the wars caused by religious or ethnic hatred.
Nationalism can be used for evil purposes, especially during times when a country’s leader uses it to promote his or her own selfish agenda and not what is good for the nation and the people. Nationalism, after all, is the go-to of leaders who want to effectively persuade the public to pursue his or her own selfish goals.
There are many ways to spark nationalism and military and quasi-military activities are the narrow-minded and easy ways of achieving this. Good governance, leading to social order, better education, higher living standards and better economic performance – these factors can lead to a more positive kind of nationalism, one that is more aligned with the needs of the global community.
Nationalism makes a person believe that he or she belongs to something greater – creating bonds and connections because of shared language, culture and tradition. This is the kind of nationalism that we should foster – one that is inclusive and not one that is divisive.
On a personal note, we can avoid the negative side of nationalism by respecting the opinions and beliefs of other nationalities -especially if such opinions and beliefs are peacefully shared.
Overall, nationalism can both have a positive and a negative impact. We can choose to be a patriot or an extremist. It is our duty to choose which one is better.
(written by Arlyn Dungao, edited by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)