Patriotism can be made to breathe in many ways, some positive some negative.
It is easy to argue that the patriotism, if that’s what it is, driving Brexit and US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is of the malign kind, one that leads to disharmony and conflict.
The other kind, the uplifting, generous, and supportive kind can be decisive.
Current events remembering Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney are reminders of what can be achieved by such a focused commitment.
A different kind of patriotism is required today. Covid-19 has challenged businesses and families in unprecedented ways.
That situation was made worse for some Cork businesses yesterday when floods once again threatened their existence.
Like all local businesses across the country, they are part of the fabric of our lives.
They also sustain a circle of life far wider than that represented by the faces behind one counter or another.
We are all part of that circle and unless every one of us makes a conscious effort to defend it, it will be broken.
Over the coming lockdown weeks, many of us will use a keyboard to do our Christmas shopping.
If we turn to international monopolies we will exacerbate already grim circumstances. More businesses will fail and jobs will be lost.
This need not happen. It is tempting to say it’s time to wear the green jersey but it’s much, much, more important than that.
Our Christmas spend is the lifeline all Irish businesses need to ride out these storms.
That should inform the purchasing decisions we make over the coming weeks.
One of the ways we can make patriotism practical right now is to keep our eye on the bigger prize by shopping locally, by proudly and exclusively buying Irish goods or goods from Irish suppliers.
Our short-term decisions today will have a long-term impact as never before.
Let’s do the wiser, far more patriotic thing. Buy Irish this Christmas.