A week in America | 08 July 2022

As the U.S. celebrated July 4th, Martin Liptrot takes a look at how proud American's are of being American.

Martin Liptrot

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July 4th is all about Fireworks, Hot Dog Eating Contests, Cookouts and Tax-Free Shopping.

After celebrating her holiday weekend, America is trying to return to normal.

Another deadly gun attack.

A couple of shark attacks on both the Florida and California coasts.

An outbreak of deadly norovirus in The Grand Canyon.

Cruise Ships returning to port after gang-related battles breakout on the dancefloor.

And yet another slump in the Dow Jones Index wiping billions off the value of the nation’s savings and pensions.

No wonder only fewer than half of those who call ‘The Land of the Free’ home report they are “extremely proud” to be Americans, according to a new poll from Gallup.

While the whole country has hit historic lows of national pride, my little piece, Florida, was ranked the 47th most patriotic state in the union.

Or, put another way, the fourth least patriotic.

The poll reported the lowest level of American adults with pride in their citizenship of the United States since the poll started in 2001.

Overall, Gallup reported just 65% of American adults “express pride” in the country and for those most ardent fans of the Red, White and Blue, who declare themselves “extremely proud”, the numbers are at near record lows.

In another similar survey run by WalletHub, a personal finance website, it found that patriotic feelings were “dampened” due to what the company called “startling statistics” such as a 44% increase in hate crimes, and a “similarly high” increase of homicides.

Getting shot at and called names will do that to your feeling of patriotism, I guess.

Again, Florida ranked 47th in the ‘Most Patriotic’ poll.

WalletHub’s study ranked states by different factors, including number of veterans, number of military enlistees, volunteerism, and civic engagement.

While Florida was well above average for military participation, the Sunshine State was almost dead last on volunteerism and civic engagement.

Civic engagement was determined by number of adults who voted in the 2020 presidential election, how many voted in the 2020 primaries, in addition to jury participation and those who are members of civic organizations.

Gender matters too it appears, men are more likely to express “extreme pride in being American”.

Party allegiances count also. Even Republicans – the most flag-waving happy sort – have only 38% declaring themselves “extremely proud”.

That number, unsurprisingly, falls to 34% for Independents and plummets to 26% for Democrats.

“National pride is notably higher among groups that are more likely to identify as Republicans — White men, older Americans and those without a college degree,” Gallup reported.

According to both polls, the states whose citizens declared themselves most patriotic were Alaska, Montana and Virginia. Hardly surprising given Alaska has the highest number of active and veteran military per capita, and Virginia is only behind Hawaii in having the largest number of people employed or supported by the defense industry.

Montana had the highest ranking for Civic Engagement so good for all those jury serving, volunteering, election-loving cowboys.

At the dirty unpatriotic end, it is probably no surprise to see New York and Massachusetts hanging around the bottom. Neither has a large military presence, and third-last Rhode Island has such a small population it shouldn’t really count.

But rock bottom was Arkansas.

This was a bit of a surprise as the Southern states typically seem to have a leg up when it comes to patriotic fanatics. But it seems the good people of Arkansas don’t give a flying flip when it comes to civic engagement, ranking last for getting involved, voting or volunteering.

These surveys did get me thinking about what similar polls might reveal about Brits and their pride in being from the UK.

Do the Welsh and Scottish even consider themselves British anymore let alone express pride in it?

And what about Northern Ireland? It’s true that after years of demographic change, those from Republican-leaning communities are now in the majority there, and it is unlikely they record much pride in being British.

And fans of the red half of Merseyside were blasted for not singing along to the national anthem on a recent day out at Wembley – though with an overwhelming number of Malaysian and Norwegian ‘superfans’ in their midst that might be a language issue.

National Pride is a difficult thing to define.

I think we are all proud to some extent of our national origin, it is part of what makes us who we are after all, and self-loathing is never a pretty sight.

As Brits we love our NHS, our sense of right and wrong, democracy and our rule of law.

We participate in the camaraderie of big events like the Jubilee, and share national moments of reflection like Remembrance Sunday and come together to defeat the pain of tragedies and outrages.

Though others decry it, our food is wonderful – curries, roast dinners, thermo-nuclear cheese and onion pasties in a paper bag from a high street bakery. And our pubs are the stuff of legend still – warm beer and all.

We may be less convinced about the prowess of our sporting teams and the performances of our royals, star athletes and celebrities. And our politicians and those in power repeatedly disappoint and leave us with our heads in our hands wondering – How? Why?

So, America, you shouldn’t feel too bad about these latest polls.

I don’t think there is another nation on Earth who would find 65% of their citizens were proud to say they belonged.

Continue to express your attachment and allegiance to the traditions, institutions, and ideals of the United States, just avoid letting it spill over into the ugly side of ‘exceptionalism’.

Remember, for the hundreds of millions who can only dream of the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy, the words on the Statue of Liberty are still an inspiration to all.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …”

That’s something we can all be proud of.

Martin Liptrot

Martin Liptrot is a Public Affairs, PR and Marketing consultant working with UK, US and Global clients to try and ‘make good ideas happen’.

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