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The Blue & Gray Press | August 19, 2019

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Trump tweets cross line from ‘patriotism’ to ‘nationalism’

Trump tweets cross line from ‘patriotism’ to ‘nationalism’


Scrolling through Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account, he crafts tweet after tweet commenting on the condition of our country. Conservatives claim his positions on the country are patriotic, where liberals say he is too nationalistic, going as far as comparing Trump to Hitler. But, what is the difference between nationalism and patriotism and where is the line drawn? And do Trump and his administration fall underneath one of these categories?

Trump’s demeanor and social media presence changed over the course of his campaign and into the beginning of his presidency, so I looked to his Twitter account for more insight. During his campaign, his tweets were much more nationalistic and heavily influenced by the idea that born-and- raised Americans are superior to immigrants, refugees or aliens in the United States.

More recently and since becoming president, his comments and actions have walked the line between patriotism and nationalism. My understanding of these two concepts is that nationalism is the belief that those who share the same cultural background, language and heritage are superior to other groups, whereas patriotism is the values the nation holds as a whole and the love one has for their country.

I think Trump and his administration crossed the line into nationalistic territory when he passed policy against particular groups. Although his administration put these policies in place to insure the protection of the American people, many people, including myself, view these actions as nationalistic. One example of such is the so-called “Muslim-ban.”

While his purpose may have been to keep out radical Islamic terrorists, he crosses the line because many of the Muslims in these countries are looking to either work or take refuge in the United States. Some could see this as a way to protect our country from terrorists, and therefore see it as a patriotic action, I understand it to be a targeted effort to restrict a religious group from entering the country.

It targets an ethnic and religious group and because of this type of subjection, I think it crosses into being a nationalistic act. For myself, this ban seems similar to the way that Nixon and Reagan implemented the “War on Drugs,” as it was easy to target ethnic minorities, especially African-Americans. Trump has done the same, yet more explicitly, in his attempt to build a wall and keep out those from Central and South America.

The line between nationalism and patriotism is crossed when extreme measures, like building a wall or banning people from entering a country because of their religious views is discussed. The people from these countries who commit acts of terror in the United States are few and far between, and, I believe that the majority of the people come to the United States to make a good life for themselves.