HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!
Poll: U.S. patriotism continues to soar
The survey found that "eight in 10 Americans of all ages and income groups,
from all regions of the country, say patriotism is in."
The poll also found that, African Americans and Hispanics are among those most inclined to have patriotic feelings. The survey found "virtually no difference Between blacks' views and those of the nation as a whole." Eighty percent of black Americans and 78 percent of Hispanics strongly identify themselves as patriotic, as well as 81 percent of white Americans, the poll found.
Some 87 percent of baby boomers - the bloc of Americans demographers generally consider born between 1946 and 1964 - said patriotism is a central
identifying fact of their lives. Seventy-eight percent of Generation Xers, born Between 1965 and 1980, felt the same way.
Some of today's patriotism also appears to be driven by the Iraq conflict and the memory of the nation's experience in Vietnam. "This country had a huge reckoning with the days of Vietnam and attitudes toward our soldiers. Every baby boomer internally promises never to let something like that happen again," Silvers said.
He noted how respondents to the poll made a distinction between those sent to fight the war and those who sent them. "We have a tremendous dichotomy today where there will be unmatched support for our troops but a questioning of our
leaders," he said.
For Silvers, the overall findings point to a stronger, almost obstinate sense of the collective American identity. "Now you've got a new world order where America is the bad guy, and if anything fuels patriotism, that's it," he said.
"It goes to the adage that we can say something about our family, but outsiders can't," he said.
This is, indeed, good news and is totally consistant with what I have experienced in my everyday interactions with people all over this country. The attacks of 9/11 were supposed to disillusion us, to highlight our weaknesses and capitalize upon them. I am not surprised that the effect was just the opposite. That day was a galvanizing experience for all of us and the result is that it has just made us stronger as a nation and even more resolute in our purpose; to be "the last, best hope for mankind."
That is what distinguishes us from every other nation on Earth - an actual purpose. This purpose was not part of our founding, rather it was realized over time. It has been realized with the blood of Americans that still stains the soil of nations all over the world, blood that has been shed not for empire building or enslavement, but for the liberation of the people of those nations from tyranny and enslavement.
Happy Birthday America! May we celebrate this day in the knowledge that this world is a far better place for our having been here and may it continue to be so for countless generations to come.