Take one look at the tone of all of the political commercials broadcast in the past month during local and state primaries, and you’d easily think that we’re a country torn apart by petty bickering.
Yet a new poll says that nearly a third of Americans describe themselves as “extremely patriotic,” a number that’s actually on the rise.
Thirty-two percent of Americans now consider themselves extreme patriots. In 2005, only twenty-six percent made that claim. And back in 1999, only nineteen percent — not even one in five — described themselves that way.
The biggest gains, according to the USA Today/Gallup poll, are among Republicans, conservatives and seniors. The latter actually had to fight for their right to continued freedom; us younger folk have not faced the same threats that the Greatest Generation dealt with so competently.
The Republicans and/or conservatives have certainly united themselves against the Obama administration: I’ll sure give them that much. Nearly every campaign commercial for every Republican began with the phrase, “Since Washington is taking us in the wrong direction…”. Perhaps ignoring the fact that a Democratic president was actually elected by the people and claiming instead that the “will of the people” is to do everything the Obama administration isn’t doing is enough to make a conservative feel patriotic.
I tend to consider patriotism to be more about working together to solve problems rather than constantly arguing and producing no measurable results toward a solution to our problems. If my definition seems reasonable, then maybe the results aren’t so surprising: after all, that would mean that sixty-eight percent don’t consider themselves “extremely patriotic.”