Rise of Patriotism on the Internet (download)When I entered the term Patriotic into the Google search engine I was met with 14,200,000 patriotic web site results and 140,000 patriotic images. To my surprise, most of these results were decidedly American. With the World Wide Web being just that - world wide, why is it then that there is so much content on the Internet related to American Patriotism?
Even before the horrors of September 11th, Americans were a vocal force on the Web; promoting national pride in many and varied ways. This broad-based army of poets, politicians, artists, spiritual leaders, business people and average citizens has redoubled itself in the time since 911 with tens of thousands of blogs, forums, webrings, personal, community, church and commercial patriotic Web sites only a keyboard away.
Upon closer inspection, I see a vast array of individuals, groups and companies out on the Internet trying their best to express pride in American. The most notable of the range are the average everyday American putting their thoughts and images out on the Internet for the world to consume. Just go to www.blogspot.com or www.journalspace.com and do a search for "Patriotic" and see what I mean.
I went back to Google.com and dug a little deeper into some of the top Patriotic sites of today. As of the day that this article was written, the number one Patriotic site on Google.com, in a testament to free speech, is a Web site that parody's the Whitehouse site. The www.whitehouse.org link leads to a page selling t-shirts that make fun of the Bush Whitehouse. Number two is Patriotic Music Online, a USAF band site featuring patriotic music. Further down the results is www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/4601/patriotic.html. This site provides patriotic graphics for use by others building patriotic Web sites. It is a site that is unique partly because of how it is hosted. Geocities is Yahoo's offering for free hosted websites. Geocities and hosts like it offer the opportunity for anyone from anywhere to build their own webpage. This level of accessibility to the Web was unheard of only a few years ago. It has helped the cause of the patriotic Web page enormously.
There are many other examples of patriotic personal statements in the form of communities or forums: p211.ezboard.com/bpatrioticamerica, www.pro-american.com/forums/ and www.network54.com/Forum/193764. For a collection of patriotic sites, I found www.usa-patriotism.com/, www.thefreedompage.org/ and www.usflag.org/ to be outstanding.
If you would like to make your own patriotic Web site, you can sign-up for free at one of the many free hosts like www.geocities.com, www.tripod.com or www.bravenet.com to name only a few.
Individuals are not alone on the patriotic World Wide Web. Many businesses have taken to the Web to offer a wide variety of patriotic American gifts and products. Everything from patriotic t-shirts to home decorations is available online today. I have sampled a few online patriotic stores and here are my top picks: www.patriot-mall.com - This appropriately titled site offers a bit of everything including clothes, jewelry, decorations and party supplies. James Mindor, the sites owner had this to say: "We have seen a steady increase in traffic and sales since our opening ten months ago. The appetite for American patriotic merchandise is strong and very active online. The response to our site has been fantastic!" Second was www.politicalgifts.com. This site has a much more political feel than www.patriot-mall.com but it has some very cool merchandise. Last in my top three is www.promowebsite.com/usa-items.htm. They sell more promotional items but they are unmistakably patriotic.
To quote James Mindor from www.patriot-mall.com: "Americans are extremely proud and vocal about patriotism. Some of us come from oppressive backgrounds. The Internet is the perfect venue for patriotism and patriotic gestures. It is free of oppression and loves freedom"
To answer my own question: "With the World Wide Web being just that - world wide, why is it then that there is so much content on the Internet related to American Patriotism?" We as Americans have always been vocal in our defence of our liberties and values. The Internet is an especially fertile place for the planting of personal ideals and the expressing of personal pride in country. I believe that as a direct result of our democratic ideals, we have been blessed with the tools, time and freedom to put our hearts and minds on the Internet for all to read.
Author: Jim Wilkson