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Feature: Patriotism, The Missing Treasure In Our Development   
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Patriotism is love of and devotion to one's country. It is an attribute that is very crucial in the development of every nation. All the great nations are where they are in terms of progress and prosperity as a result of their fore fathers ďdying a littleĒ for their country. Patriotism is not the same as heroism.

It transcends heroism in that the patriot puts their nation above and beyond everything else whereas in most cases, the hero seeks to achieve a personal feat. It should be understood that itís not every hero who is a patriot, but all patriots are heroes. Savvy? They see their presence in their country as an opportunity to contribute to her prosperity and development. As already stated, the patriot doesnít play the hero; instead, they put their lives on the line to ensure that their country, others, posterity are put on the path of progress and success.

But most of our politicians and public office holders donít understand the language of patriotism. They misconstrue patriotism to be just a servant of oneís country. And this is where the problem lies because patriotism is more than serving oneís nation. What we forget to appreciate when we are trying to analyze the attributes of the servant is this: the genuine servant does not seek to take undue advantage of the master; rather, they seek the wholeness and betterment of him. And when a servant serves their master faithfully, they donít lose their reward.

In a way, they are heroes in the eyes of their masters. In the same vein, patriots are those who serve their countries faithfully and thus are held in high esteem by them. Their deeds are painted in gold; and posterity never forgets them because they are true heroes. Patriots possess certain unique characteristics that make them stand out. These exceptional characteristics which define the patriot I have named FON. FON is an acronym for nation thinker, othersí thinker, and future thinker. They are people who put their nation, others, and the future of the next generations on the front burner, and relegate all other things on the back burner. Let me expatiate on this beautiful acronym- FON.

First, nation thinker- The problem with Ghana and Africa is that we are dearth of folks who think about the betterment of their country; instead, we have a bunch of individuals who thinks only about themselves and how to take advantage of the country. These are people who donít think about the state of their nation years after they have popped off. They donít think about what they can contribute to help their country or the continent to move forward; rather, they are preoccupied with the benefits they must derive from the country or the continent. This group of individuals does not care about the goodness of the country; neither do they give a damn about the health of the economy. Their major preoccupation is to rip the economy apart. They milk the economy from all directions and angles- left, right, centre, top, bottom. They are the problem of our inability to turn our economies around. These people we donít need in our governance, public services, boards, etc. The ones we need are those who always have the progress and prosperity of the nation not only in their heads, but also in their thoughts.

They are those who donít allow their social, political, and religious affiliations to sear their conscience and injure their understanding. The love for their country has consumed them to the extent that they defend her against any government. They share the view of Edward Abbey who stated that "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." The nation thinkers understand that they succeed when the nation succeeds and fall when she falls. These are people who donít have sycophancy, bootlicking, etc. in their vocabulary.

The most important thing about a patriot is that it could be anybody- even you or me- if we change our mentality or thinking. Instead of fighting for our political parties even when it doesnít make sense, let us devote our energies and resources in fighting the true fight- for the country.

Second, others thinker- The selfish and greedy think that satisfaction is derived from having everything to themselves. But they are dead wrong. Those who enjoy real and true satisfaction are those who always put others first. These are the patriots. They are those individuals who feel down and low when they are enjoying whilst others are starving and suffering. They donít only help the destitute when they chance upon them; they seek them in order to put smile on their face.

They are folks who donít use their office- political, public, religious, etc. to enrich themselves at the expense of the third estate in the realm. They are people, who are prepared to pass over their privileges to the person who is destitute of daily living. I mean these people believe in justice, equity, and above all believe in the dignity of humans.

Donít let it cross your mind that I am being utopian and unrealistic: If civil society and especially politicians could change their mentality and begin doing the right things, the numerous vicissitudes of live confronting majority of the populace would be drastically reduced. What we need in order to bring a turnaround in our country, the economy, and smiles on the faces of the poor majority in our midst is this element of patriotism. The patriot fights for their country and the vulnerable.

Third, future thinker- Why is our country and continent still very poor in spite of all the resources we have? The answer is not far-fetched- our leaders time and again donít look into the future, but rather into their pockets, the wellbeing of their children, family, bootlickers, etc. etc.

This attitude is what the patriot abhors and frowns on. The patriot, instead of thinking about their pockets and the security of their families, always think about the future the next generation will inherit. They see the future, as indicated by Tim Flannery, one of the fiercest apologias of global warming as a long tomorrow. To the patriots, itís not about them; itís about posterity.

Itís not about political correctness, but rather political consciousness. Consciousness in the sense that any action or move they make is about the betterment of tomorrow. Because they think about making the future better, when a member of their political party embezzles stateís funds, they endorse and support their punishment. The patriot will never defend the indefensible when somebodyís actions and inactions injure the health of the country.

Folks, the reason why we have not been able to progress from poverty to prosperity as a nation is very simple: we are not prepared to die a little for our motherland; we are not willing to sacrifice a little for our beloved country. As long as we continue to put the radar on us and leave out the nation, others, and posterity, we should understand that the spirit of patriotism has been relegated to the background.

And we will be stationary as potential energy- we will continue to be where we are or even backslide to a worst state. But, I think mother Ghana deserves better. We need to have fun as humans to enjoy sound psychological wellbeing, but FON is what we need to be able to have fun. God bless Ghana!!
Source: Kingsley Nyarko ([email protected]) Statesman

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