Of “Patriots” and Citizens

In my childhood and adolescence, personalities from the war of independence were the ones they called patriots and, in its most general sense, all those who took part in it in one way or another. With the passing of years, the word fell into disuse, and was sometimes applied, rather ironically, to some politician at election time.

  1. From the beginning of the sixties it was taken up again, and started to be used with athletes, artists, professionals, et cetera, who experiencing some success abroad, chose not to stay there and returned to their homeland.
  2. Recently, different authorities in the field of education are proposing once again that the first job of education is to form ever more prepared patriots.
  3. I beg to differ: I believe that the principle job of the family, of education, and of society, is to form citizens. When I write citizens, I am referring to people with moral principles, ethics and civics, capable of fulfilling their duties and exercising their rights. These people, unfortunately, are now in the minority, an important cause of the deterioration of our social existence.
  4. In place of a country of patriots and heroes, I prefer one of citizens.
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