I have always known that Ghanaians are exceptionally patriotic. Despite the many great things one can achieve with strong sense of patriotism, being ‘over patriotic’ without any room to criticize your own country/people, point out the wrongs within your country and being over sensitive when others (especially non-nationals) loudly bring to light unfortunate occurrences in your country is not patriotism, rather treacherous.
It is great that Ghanaians will defend Ghana and its people at all time. The duty to defend and uphold the good name of Ghana as a citizen is constitutionally imposed. Patriotism therefore does not only spring from our sense of belonging, it is also a citizenry requirement which must be respected.
However, I have realized many Ghanaians do not understand and appreciate that, patriotism is not only about singing praises, it is also about nailing the negatives, pointing out the illegal activities and unfortunate occurrences happening within your country and among your people.
Patriotism is about being sincere, being watchful and above all, being critical and embracing the true state of affairs in relation to your people and country.
It is the above mentioned attributes of patriotism that many of us Ghanaians lack. We hate it to the core when someone points out the obvious destructions, poverty, corruption and anti-developmental activities which have engulfed our country or being championed by our people.
In the name of patriotism, we jump to call people who point out our follies names and in a deadly rebuttal, we quickly point out the weakness of these people or their countries too. What happened to the all-important attribute of acceptance and being sincere with the real state of affairs of your nation when it comes to patriotism?
Ghanaians simply hate to be criticized (either constructively or non-constructively); we do not criticize our own people, leaders and country as much as we will do to that of others. The irony of this is that, we are always the first to cite the iniquities of others and their countries without a room for us to accept our own.
Countries like Nigeria have always suffered in the hands of Ghanaians. I wish we employ the same eyes and standard we use to judge these countries/people to judge and look at our own backyards too.
The moment someone states the obvious about Ghana or Ghanaians, we invoke the highest offence and in the name of patriotism, we ambush the person with counter claims without accepting the truth of their statement. This is not patriotism, it is surely treacherous.
Patriotism aims at making the country and people better. Covering up our debauched deeds would not in any way bring about the betterment we seek as a nation.
I do understand that it is morally corrupt for a person living in dirt to highlight your filth. However, the fact is; you have dirt and that is what you should appreciate the person for prompting you.
I know It is difficult to accept the hypocrisy of people who leave their backyards dirty to tell you about your dirty backyards (with our without malicious intent). But patriotism is not about failing to accept your failure or problems simply because the person pointing the finger is not blameless; it is about embracing such problems and working hard to rectify them (give relevance to the problems and not the person pointing them out).
Also, patriotism is not about seeking to justify the bad with the many good that your country has or its people have achieved. It is about making sure the bad is given more attention until it is remedied.
A true patriot is the one who embraces the problems of his people and country, contemplate on them and bring pressure to bear on those who can eradicate the problems.
The fact that you are a Ghanaian does not mean you should not highlight or accept publicly the problems of Ghana. Many Ghanaians hardly do this and this has come to affect our internal politics and dealings. Everything done by an NDC government or member is right in the eyes of all NDC members, even if what is done is vividly wrong (the vice versa holds).
Defending the dirty dealings and covering up the bad of your people and country by any sort of unnecessary comparison, deceit and cunningness is not a hallmark of patriotism.
Currently, Ghana has power problems (fact). Nigeria has worse power problem than Ghana (fact). A patriotic Ghanaian will not be bothered and throw into the face of a Nigerian his own power problems when the person points out the power problem of Ghana, he/she will rather fight to make sure the problem in Ghana is solved and would accept the true state of the power issue in Ghana.
Patriotism is undeniably a great attribute we must all have. However, we must know where patriotism ends else we will unknowingly branch into becoming treacherous. For how long can we deny and cover our woes?