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7/10/2004


American Patriotism

Definition of Patriotism: To love your country.

What percentage of Americans do you consider patriotic? 50%? 60%? How about almost 90%?

    A Pew Research survey conducted in August 2003 found that 91 percent of Americans either "completely agree" or "mostly agree" that they are very patriotic, a percentage that has held relatively steady since 1987. When the study focused on young Americans (college undergraduates), a Harvard University survey conducted in March 2004 found that 87 percent considered themselves either "very patriotic" or "somewhat patriotic."

    Asked about their pride in being an American by Gallup in 2003, 91 percent of Americans either were "extremely proud" or "very proud." When given the choice whether to live in the United States or some other country, a March 2004 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 93 percent of Americans would prefer to live in the United States
For me this brought clarity on how most people living in the U.S. feel about America. You might not have needed the clarity but I did.

By looking at this you would have to believe that we are truly unified in our love for this land. And in part you would be right. But what this poll is hiding is the descriptive definition of patriotism. If both sides agree that patriotism is the love of country, do we both agree on what that expression of love is? Absolutely not! Here for example, in the same research poll, is an indication of what I mean.

    Other interesting findings included the majority of Americans (52 percent) agree that Americans should be willing to fight and die for their country whether or not they feel the cause is right.
I tend to believe that defeneding our country from terrorism is one of the purist forms of patriotism. But 48% don’t believe we should defend this country even if they agree with the cause. That’s nearly half of America! Does that percentage sound familiar? It is apparent that our political parties have vastly different ideas of what patriotism means.

posted by: Brian Scott


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