Patriotism In The Trump Era

Recent polling finds that Americans aren't feeling quite so patriotic right now. It's understandable, but we shouldn't give up hope.

As we mark the 242nd birthday of the United States, the number of people who say they’re ‘extremely proud’ to be Americans has hit a record low:

A record-low number of people in the U.S. consider themselves  either extremely proud or very proud to be Americans, a poll released Monday found.

Gallup found that 47 percent of citizens are “extremely proud” to be Americans, while 25 percent are “very proud.” Both numbers mark new low points since Gallup started polling on the question in 2001.

The number of people who are “extremely proud” has slowly been declining in recent years, according to Gallup. The number peaked at 70 percent in 2003, but was down to 52 percent in 2016 and 51 percent in 2017.

This year, 7 percent of people said they are “only a little” proud of being American, and just 3 percent said they are “not at all” proud, according to Gallup.

Democrats in particular are less proud to be American, the poll found. Thirty-two percent of Democrats are “extremely proud,” down 11 percentage points from last year.

Among Republicans, 74 percent say they are “extremely proud,” according to the poll.

More details from Gallup:

This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003.

The latest results are based on a June 1-13 poll. When Gallup first asked the question in 2001, 55% of Americans said they were extremely proud. After the 9/11 terror attacks caused the public to rally around the nation and its leaders, the percentage expressing extreme pride in the country increased to 65%, and went up further to 70% less than two years later.

By 2005, about the time George W. Bush was set to begin his second term in office and the U.S. was going on its second year of military involvement in Iraq, the percentage extremely proud to be Americans fell to 61%. It held in the high 50% range between 2006 and 2013, but has fallen at least marginally each year since 2015, about the time the 2016 presidential campaign was getting underway.

While the 47% who are extremely proud to be Americans is a new low, the vast majority of Americans do express some level of pride, including 25% who say they are “very proud” and 16% who are “moderately proud.” That leaves one in 10 who are “only a little” (7%) or “not at all” proud (3%).

The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup’s trend.

This chart shows the extent to which public sentiment about the nation has deteriorated can best be seen in this chart:

Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer to the question depends largely on politics and ideology:

Currently, 32% of Democrats — down from 43% in 2017 and 56% in 2013 — are extremely proud. The decline preceded the election of Donald Trump but has accelerated in the past year.

Less than half of independents, 42%, are also extremely proud. That is down slightly from 48% a year ago, and 50% in 2013.

As has typically been the case, Republicans are more inclined to say they are extremely proud to be Americans than are Democrats and independents. Seventy-four percent of Republicans are extremely proud, which is numerically the highest over the last five years.

With the large decline among Democrats, the Republican-Democratic gap in extreme pride has grown from 15 percentage points in 2013 to 42 points today.

Political liberals are even less likely than Democrats to say they are extremely proud — just 23% do so, compared with 46% of moderates and 65% of conservatives. Extreme pride among liberals has dropped nine points in the past year and 28 points since 2013.

Once again, the change over time among people by party can best be seen in this chart:

The same trends can be seen in the chart that breaks down by ideology

As The Washington Post notes, this is just one sign that overall faith in the nation is not exactly in a good place right now:=

Pew Research Center found in December 2017 that 18 percent of Americans say they trust the government in Washington “always” or “most of the time.” That compares with 73 percent who said the same of the government when the National Election Study began tracking the question in 1958. Trust began to erode in the ’60s and ’70s and reached a 30-year high soon after the 9/11 attacks, but it fell to just over 20 percent in the early Obama administration and has barely budged since.

While partisans are usually more trusting of government when their party controls the White House, the December Pew survey found that Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were only slightly more likely to trust government today (22 percent) than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (15 percent).

Congress’s reputation in particular continues to linger in the dumps, with a Gallup poll this month finding 19 percent of Americans approve of the way it is handling its job. That’s up from the low teens at some points last year, in part because of more positive ratings among Republicans.

(…)

At the same time that extreme pride in being American is decreasing, the share of Americans saying they are not proud of democracy in this country is increasing. Last fall, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found 36 percent of Americans saying they were “not proud” of the way democracy works in the United States. That was twice as high as the General Social Survey found in 2014, when 18 percent said they were not proud, and four times as high as in 2002 (9 percent).

The poll showed a greater partisan divide than in past surveys, with Democrats significantly more likely to say they’re not proud of the way democracy works in America (41 percent) than Republicans (24 percent). Shameful sentiment was not limited to Trump critics, though, with a quarter of Americans who approve of Trump saying they lack pride in the country’s democracy.

(…)

Trump has been criticized for violating customs followed by past presidents, and the public is skeptical that Trump respects the country’s democratic institutions and traditions. According to a June Pew Research Center poll, 6 in 10 Americans said Trump has “not too much” or “no respect at all” for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions.

Finally, the bellwether Right Track/Wrong Track poll shows that most Americans are still pessimistic about the direction the nation is taking, as this chart from RealClearPolitics shows:

On some level, I suppose that this decline in the number of people expressing national pride can be attributed to the current state of American politics and the extent to which nearly eighteen months of the Trump Administration has worn away at public faith in political institutions and helped to bring some rather distasteful things out in the open. The most blatant example of that, of course, is the fact that the racism and xenophobia that Trump has tapped into since the start of his campaign more than three years ago has come into the mainstream by the President’s rhetoric and the rhetoric of his supporters.

This can best be seen in the fact that, over these past three years, we have seen plenty of examples of the extent to which this President has seemingly resurrected the worse aspects of American politics. These include everything from  Charlottesville to the positive comments about Trump from former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke that it took Trump far too long to disavow to Trump’s own campaign rallies, the signs that hate and racism have been normalized, at least among the small group of people who are in tune with those beliefs are plain and evident. Additionally, this year we’ve seen at least ten white supremacists running for office this year, all of them as Republicans and all of them claiming to be strong supporters of the President. One can also point to failed West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship who based much of his campaign in the final weeks before the primary on a tirade on Mitch McConnell’s family of “China people.” There are also candidates such as Michael Williams, who ran an ultimately failed bid for the GOP nomination for Governor in Georgia and campaigned around the state in what he called a “deportation bus.” In Virginia, meanwhile, Corey Stewart, who has run two recent statewide campaigns that openly appealed to the so-called alt-right, won the Republican nomination for Senate to take on Tim Kaine in November. He’ll most likely lose that election, but nonetheless, his nomination is a sign of what kind of politicians Trump has inspired. Finally, several civil rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism and the Southern Poverty Law Center. have reported that the number of reported hate crimes has increased measurably since Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

On the international stage, the President continues to embarrass the country on a regular basis, and arguably to place it in a dangerous position thanks to policies that run counter to everything that has been at the center of American foreign policy since the end of World War Two. On a regular basis, he has alienated the nation’s most important allies while behaving obsequiously toward dictators such as Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, the Saud Family, and, of course, Vladimir Putin. Economically, he has spent the better part of this year sending the nation down an uncharted course with a trade war that has set us at odds not only with nation’s such as China but also with some of our most important allies. In the process, he has casually tossed grenades into important international alliances such as the G-7 and NATO, leaving one to wonder what kind of damage he’ll do to the standing of the United States in the world before he leaves office.

Given all of this, I suppose it’s not surprising that many Americans aren’t feeling particularly patriotic at this point. It’s worth noting, though, that the United States of America is more than Donald Trump. For the most part, our institutions are holding up fairly well notwithstanding the efforts of this President to flout Constitutional norms, and possibly even the law. While Congress is demonstrably failing in its duty to act as a check against a President like Donald Trump, we still have the ability, through elections, to change that in November, and if that happens you can guarantee that, for better or worse, the scrutiny on this Administration will increase significantly. Additionally, the Courts have proven to be a strong bulwark against the Presidents efforts to remake the nation in his image, as we’ve seen in legal rulings dealing with the Muslim Travel Ban, DACA, the effort to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the efforts to deny rights to LGBT Americans, and the efforts to punish so-called “sanctuary cities.” Even President Trump’s own Justice Department is resisting his efforts to undermine an investigation that could end up implicating him or people close to him in version serious offenses. As I put it on the day that Trump was inaugurated, we will survive this:

Our nation has faced many challenges over the past 228 years, including a war that divided the nation and threatened to destroy it even before it turned one hundred years old. It has faced dangers from overseas, including a war that was fought on two fronts and involved millions of deaths and casualties, and a quieter Cold War that threatened to unleash forces of destruction capable of making the planet essentially uninhabitable for hundreds of years. It has endured scandals and corruption in all three branches of government, racial, ethnic, and gender-based prejudice, and political polarization that was, as hard as it might be to believe, even worse than what we are dealing today. It has faced economic downturns that forced millions of people out of work and into seeming hopelessness, natural disasters, and political assassinations. Through it all the nation has survived, and it will survive Donald John Trump no matter how long he ends up serving as President of the United States.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t stand up and speak out when the new President does something we disagree with, of course. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” and that means it is the responsibility of each of us to speak out and to act within the system when our leaders are headed down the wrong path. I fully expect that I will be critical of President Trump far more than I will be accepting of the policies he will advocate in the coming years. Of course, that was true of the man who just left the Presidency and the man before him as well, so that’s hardly a change. At the same time, though, I’m going to try to remember that America will survive this just as it survived everything else we’ve faced over the past two centuries. The damage that is done, though, will depend largely on how vigilant men and women of conscience on both sides of the aisle are and whether they’re willing to speak out when necessary. Donald Trump is our President, words that still astound me even as I type them, but he isn’t our King and he isn’t President for life. So remain vigilant, and try not to be too melodramatic about the future no matter how tempting it might be.

(…)

[F]or all the cynicism I may have about politics in general I remain optimistic about the long-term future of our country. In the end, the only way we will fail is if we fail as a people to remember Jefferson’s warning about eternal vigilance, because if we forget that then we’ll be headed down a dangerous road from which there may be no return.

Notwithstanding the events of the past eighteen months and the strong possibility that things will seem to get worse before they get better, I continue to believe this. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity and pessimism this Independence Day I say we should remain optimistic about the future while keeping in mind that, as Thomas Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. People like Trump and those who support can only win if the American people let them, and I remain hopeful that the American people will end up doing the right thing even if it takes them a while to figure out what that is.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    We’ll survive, but as a diminished, weakened and humiliated nation.

    We will not be able to regain the pre-eminence we had in the world because the fault lies not with Trump but with the people who elected Trump. We have demonstrated a profound weakness as a people, a credulity, a willingness to join a cult of personality, that is shocking to the world. Despite everything, they thought better of us. They relied on us to remain the United States. Poor dumb fcks, they believed in us, in the American people.

    The country isn’t going back to what it was pre-Trump. The USA that was leader of the free world, is dead. As weak as they are in so many ways, the future looks increasingly to belong to China.

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  2. Modulo Myself says:

    Most people actually love america. It’s just capital-A America that sucks. america comes from outsiders–immigrants, black people, radicals, and hillbillies, all of whom have contributed more to popular culture than Thomas Jefferson or the national anthem ever have. Capital-A America is the Confederacy and the vile reconciliation between north and south, and just pretending everything is going according to plan as the powerful screw over the weak. Politically, America has been taken over by a minority comfortable only in the late-19th century. Peak America–when Jim Crow began, without Progressives in the government, just sludge, crap. and white idiocy. They are trying desperately to destroy america, because they know it has their number.

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  3. @Michael Reynolds:

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like Trump did on June 16, 2015 when he said “The American Dream is dead.”

    I agree with you that we are in, and will continue to face, difficult times, but we’ve been there before and we’ve come out of it and bounced back before. I think we can do it again, and I’m still Pollyannaish enough to think that we will even if neither you nor I live long enough to see it happen.

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  4. Franklin says:

    As a successful Canadian businessman and inventor told me on a flight a few months ago, “this, too, shall pass.” He wouldn’t tell me exactly what he was talking about, although he did hint that the initials were DT.

    I am also reminded of a certain phrase about the arc of the moral universe.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    When I was young the ‘American dream’ was supposed to be about liberty. Over the decades that changed, and the ‘American dream,’ became about money, jobs, a McMansion. What is the American dream now? Do you know, because I don’t.

    I believe in human freedom, that’s where my loyalty lies. Insofar as the US is a force for freedom, I’m a patriot. When the US ceases to be about freedom, what am I supposed to be patriotic about? A flag? A song? The United States is famously the nation built on a creed, and when we abandon that creed, what’s left? Some nice national parks? Am I supposed to be patriotic about a country that kidnaps children to blackmail desperate parents? Am I supposed to love a country that maliciously attacks our friends? Should I find some mental jiu-jitsu that allows me to simultaneously love the US and Russia?

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  6. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like Trump did on June 16, 2015 when he said “The American Dream is dead.”

    I think one difference is that liberals have never looked at the past as intrinsically idyllic. The liberal conception of patriotism has been to accept America in all its flawed glory, whereas conservatives have long been prone to a “good old days” mentality where they look admiringly at some point in the past (often the 1950s) before everything went downhill. Remember, Trump didn’t invent the MAGA slogan; Reagan had “Let’s Make America Great Again.” (There’s a subtle difference in emphasis due to the word “Let’s,” which makes it sound less cultish and more inclusive, but the overall point is the same.) Liberals are constantly being accused by the right of being “anti-American” simply because they criticize some of America’s deeds–both in the past and the present. There are anti-American leftists, of course, but the American liberal mainstream is plenty patriotic (the common talking point that describes America as a “nation of immigrants” is essentially a message of liberal patriotism). The problem is that the word “patriotism” has been so overused by the right as a mark of aggressive, jingoistic tribalism that many liberals have grown uncomfortable with the term.

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  7. James in Bremerton says:

    Patriotism is so last millennium. It’s always been a false test, just as with flags, anthems, and pledges, none of which appear in the U.S. Constitution.

    Competent administration, or QUIT. I really don’t care what you “believe.” You aren’t being hired to believe anything. You’re being hired to be a steward of the Republic, and that only requires you to do as you’re told according to the law. Most of the government wheel is fixed, and does not need your infantile grandstanding.

    But you can’t hear us with all that money stuffed into your ears. Nor does the money attract anything but parasites. People who want to govern? May as well stay home.

  8. MBunge says:

    These results are hardly surprising. In order to truly love something, you have to be able to conceive of it as separate. As an example too many of us are sadly familiar with, if you only see your spouse and your children as extensions of yourself, that’s not love. It’s narcissism.

    If you understand America not as a real place but only as a reflection of your own vanity, as Michael Reynolds apparently does, it’s impossible for you to love it because all you can feel are mixtures of self-love and self-loathing.

    And for the bulk of you here who still have no idea how Donald Trump got elected, take another look at that right track/wrong track graph and what those numbers were under Barack Obama.

    Mike

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  9. CSK says:

    If being a patriot means being a Trump-slobberer, no, I’m not a patriot.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis : Simply put, the rich are getting richer and they’re buying our government. Piketty tells us concentration of wealth is approaching Gilded Age levels and that it took two world wars and a depression to recover from that.

    “Proud to be American” is not the same thing as patriotic. My country, right or wrong. And we’ve been wrong a lot over the last several decades.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    For me, the issue is that the Republicans have used the national symbols and rituals as political weapons that I increasingly see Patriotism more as a ritual of genuflecting to the Republican dominance then expressing a sincere love for the country.

    e.g. Singing the national anthem isn’t about honoring America anymore, it’s about demonstrating that the Republicans have the power to force you to stop what you’re doing and sing a particular song upon demand.

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  12. Mister Bluster says:

    I have observed our Independence today by cruising past all the hundreds of American Flags on the Main Drag here in Sleepytown with The Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix blasting out the open car windows. I’m sure I will make another pass or two before the sun goes down.
    But the defining event of the 4th of July has once again exceeded expectations.
    My Spiritual Advisor, Miki Sudo, has won her 5th Mustard Belt at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
    Introductions of contestants (recommended) start at 12:45 and the competition begins at 23:00.
    Rock On Miki!

  13. Slugger says:

    The problem is that “patriotism” as used by Americans is an emotion without any real life consequences. It is like “love” thrown around by a young couple. Patriotism ought to mean real actions taken for the good of the nation at a personal cost. This means shouting “Hurray for our side” is not patriotic. Wearing a flag lapel pin is not patriotic. Standing for the national anthem in a stadium full of others who are standing is not patriotic. Those are just feel good sentiments. Being willing to send other peoples’ sons to far off wars is not patriotic. If you want me to think that you are a patriot, do something for the country…self aggrandizement doesn’t count.

  14. Kit says:

    @James in Bremerton:

    Competent administration, or QUIT. I really don’t care what you “believe.” You aren’t being hired to believe anything.

    Nice post. I up-voted you. But I don’t quite agree. Most of us work for the money, and a few for the passion. But that means that we probably each have a price to keep us from doing our jobs. That price might only be paid in Fantasy Land, and we wouldn’t be proud to collect, but there it is.

    However, after rising to a certain level of power, be it in industry or government, the possibility of being bought becomes a distinct possibility. A bit of belief, a bit of honor can really count for something. Where we (probably) join paths again is in having a deep distrust of people making a great show of their beliefs: those people seem hungry for a payday.

  15. Gustopher says:

    I find it less troubling that only 1 in 3 Democrats are “extremely proud” to be an American, than that 3 out of 4 Republicans are.

    Maybe it’s just semantics and word games, but when I think of people who are “extremely proud” to be American, I think of people who were extremely proud to be German, and were quite adamant about removing the non-Real-German element from their population. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

    The poll might have very different results if they used different language.

  16. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Typical Trumpian projection. You assert of Reynolds what is actually true of Trump.

    And for the bulk of you here who still have no idea how Donald Trump got elected

    We know. You do, too; you just lie about it.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I believe in human freedom, that’s where my loyalty lies. Insofar as the US is a force for freedom, I’m a patriot. When the US ceases to be about freedom, what am I supposed to be patriotic about? A flag? A song? The United States is famously the nation built on a creed, and when we abandon that creed, what’s left?

    America is more than just the current administration.

    America is a country that was founded on lofty ideals that the founders didn’t live up to — ideals about all men being created equal, and having rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and then struggling for the next 242 years to meet those ideals, and generally getting closer and closer to those ideals.

    We banned slavery. We gave women the vote. We dismantled Jim Crow. We recognized rights for LGBTetc. On the big picture, we’ve done well.

    But we also stumble sometimes. We created Japanese internment camps, for instance, which were basically morally indefensible.

    We also let our ideals get the better of us — the disasterous reconstruction of Iraq was largely us trying to impose our ideals onto another country overnight (we’re struggling with them after 200+ years, and we didn’t have them imposed from above), and creating a massive backlash.

    Overall, America does well. We’ve come a long way. I’m proud to be an American, and to be part of this optimistic pursuit of equality and liberty that was started by slaveholders.

    I’m not proud of our government. Certainly not the current one. I’m proud of the people who turn out to protest our government.

    And I’m not “extremely proud” because that’s just weird, scary and extremist.

  18. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We have demonstrated a profound weakness as a people

    I think this is a bit too facile. Mainly because it sweeps under the carpet the agency of those who have actively misled and lied to the American people.

    Maybe there is a weakness, but it’s no bigger than the weakness in other peoples. It’s American institutions, the GOP first and foremost, that have failed.

    And the GOP failed not simply because it was too weak, but because there were people who made it happen for power and profit.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    @drj:

    I think this is a bit too facile. Mainly because it sweeps under the carpet the agency of those who have actively misled and lied to the American people.

    “You can’t cheat an honest man.” Is there some amount of dishonest media that would cause you to despise immigrants? Or to hate gays? Trump and Putin et al exploited a pre-existing weakness. They tapped into racism and misogyny and xenophobia and all-around stupidity. But they did not create the racism etc…, it was already there, all too easily inflamed.

    If this were 40 years ago I would be more forgiving, but we are at a point where a significant portion of the American people are taking positions that would have been appalling at any time, but which are infinitely more-so because we’ve had the great moments that @Gustopher: describes above. 2+2=4. The facts are on the table. And still 46% of American voters, in 2016, voted for a pig and almost all of them still love the man who caged children.

    In the end our liberty is in the hands of the people, not the institutions. The people failed. They failed spectacularly at a time in history when they have not a single decent excuse.

  20. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Is there some amount of dishonest media that would cause you to despise immigrants? Or to hate gays?

    I’d love to say no. But history, quite clearly, teaches us otherwise.

    More specifically, it probably wouldn’t work now, but back in the day when I knew a lot less about the world… who knows.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think the Trump Administration is an aberration, like the Japanese internment camps. In time, it will go away, and in time, people will look back and be appalled.

    At worst, it’s like the failure of Reconstruction — a large step backwards on the march forwards. Jim Crow and segregation was terrible, but it was less worse than slavery. The cultural changes of the past thirty years are here to stay — an attempt to be inclusive in hiring, recognizing gays and lesbians are people, healthcare as a thing that is in the government’s responsibility — even if the government itself slides backwards and then takes another ten or twenty years to catch up to where it was.

    Yes, we have horrible people who want to separate brown families at the border as a punitive measure. But we also have a country that is outraged and offended by this, and which is making it stop. This isn’t a glass-half-empty-or-half-full thing, this glass is clearly at least 55% full.

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think the Trump Administration is an aberration, like the Japanese internment camps.

    The Trump Administration may prove to be an aberration (though I have my doubts), but it is not comparable to the Japanese internment camps. That was a policy–albeit a terrible one–implemented while the country was under attack, by a president who did a lot more good for the country than evil.

    This country has had terrible presidents, corrupt presidents, even genocidal presidents–as well as presidents who have assaulted people’s civil liberties during wartime. But I don’t think we have had a president up to now who has posed a graver threat to the country’s continued democratic character.

  23. An Interested Party says:

    America has survived a lot of…shit, for lack of a better term…I think of the Civil War, I think of the Great Depression, I think of McCarthyism, I think of the Civil Rights era…as disgusting as the Orange Toddler is, we can survive him too…also, yes, it looks like a new Gilded Age now, with so much going to the wealthy and everyone else getting the scraps…but, we did survive the first Gilded Age…

    It’s narcissism.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Getting lectured on narcissism by this blog’s Number One Trump Worshipper!?! Now that’s entertainment…

  24. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Forced or even institutionalized patriotism creates cynicism and it should be avoided. Authoritarians regimes love institutionalized patriotism(the Flag, the anthem, so on) for obvious reasons. In Brazil the same people that want the National Anthem to be played in schools send all their money to Miami in the first opportunity.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party:

    America has survived a lot of…shit, for lack of a better term…I think of the Civil War, I think of the Great Depression, I think of McCarthyism, I think of the Civil Rights era…

    We’ve survived a lot of external threats. I’m not sure we’ve ever faced a greater internal one than what we’re facing today. The government’s being transformed from the inside, like a parasitic host.

  26. EddieInCA says:

    I tried to edit my comment, but it wouldn’t let me. FYI. I wanted to add a period after conciousness and start a new paragraph.

  27. Todd says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I think the difference between this time and things that have happened in our past is that the real damage is the destruction of trust. Even if we elect a sane government in the coming years, unless there is some guarantee that that the current version of Republicanism is (proverbially) dead and buried, it would be illogical for any friendly country to ever enter into another agreement with us again.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    @Kylopod: We’ve survived a lot of internal threats as well, granted, the current one may be one of the most malicious, but governments change, even this one…

  29. Todd says:

    I think it’s possible to be patriotic about America’s past. It’s also possible to be patriotic about what we hope America still has in her future. But I think it’s absolutely nuts for any decent American to be anything close to “extremely proud” of the country as it exists today.

    I’d imagine that Americans overseas are having more conversation like this lately: “Oh, are you American?” … “Would you believe me if I told you I was Canadian?” 🙂

  30. EddieinCA says:

    Can one of the moderators rescue my comments from Spam/Moderation, please. No idea why it was marked as spam. There are no links, and no inappropriate language.

    Thank you.

  31. Blue Galangal says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The country isn’t going back to what it was pre-Trump. The USA that was leader of the free world, is dead.

    I agree with you, as does my ex. We have come up with a plan – not having a lot of fungible cash, and two children still in grad school – to extricate them, and hopefully ourselves, from this within a year or two.

    Those who left Germany in 1933 were the the prescient ones. We’ve missed the 1933 boat but with planning and foresight our children, both of whom will shortly have advanced STEM degrees (including one who speaks Japanese and has taught engineering in China) will be able to have an exit plan. We’re dead serious about this. It might be too late for us – we are that envelope generation that is being screwed by today’s Boomers – but we both feel like those parents who put their children on the boats to – ironically – America/a real future in days long since passed.

    The American experiment is over. There’s no point in our children spending their time, energy, and funds to try to extricate this country from its largely self-inflicted mess.

  32. An Interested Party says:

    …freedom rocks!

    Well of course it does, unless you are part of a family from Central America trying to escape from violence and drug dealers or you’re a person in a red state who wants to vote but has Republican politicians who are making it as hard as possible for you to vote or you are any of these people of color…so much freedom…

  33. Kit says:

    @Todd:

    the real damage is the destruction of trust

    The destruction of trust is only now gearing up on the international stage, but it has been a central Republican strategy since at least Reagan: I’m from the government; I’m here to help.

    Today, those on the Left distrust the militarised police, secretive intelligence agencies engaging in warrantless domestic spying, and idea that government is protecting the general good. Those on the Right distrust whatever remains.

  34. TM01 says:

    Which law has Trump violated?

    I mean, we know that Obama violated the law and ignored court orders, but what has Trump done?

  35. TM01 says:

    And why should we be proud of this country?

    Democrats have been telling us it’s all founded on racism and genocide, it’s full of Institutionalized Racism, White Privilege, cops are literally committing genocide against blacks, etc.

    What’s to be proud of?

  36. TM01 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    unless you are part of a family from Central America trying to escape from violence and drug dealers

    You mean a “Shithole?”

  37. Monala says:

    @TM01: That it was a country based on noble ideals, and that as a nation, we were striving to reach those ideals, even if we often fell short.

    It was easy to feel proud of America when it seemed as if we were making progress toward being a more perfect union. It’s harder when it feels like we’re going backwards.

  38. JKB says:

    In amusing news, Facebook censored a portion of a republican document as hate speech.

    On Independence Day. The document was the Declaration of Independence.

    How dare they speak harshly of the King, those damn republicans.

  39. Kylopod says:

    @JKB:

    In amusing news, Facebook censored a portion of a republican document as hate speech.

    On Independence Day. The document was the Declaration of Independence.

    How dare they speak harshly of the King, those damn republicans.

    I had to look this one up. As usual, your telling of the story (which I know you picked up from right-wing sites without bothering to check their veracity–I found it mentioned first on Daily Caller) doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. You left out a few crucial details revealing that the nature of what happened is quite different from what you’re suggesting.

    An organization called the Vindicator posted a portion from the Declaration of Independence on Facebook, which included the following paragraph (italics mine):

    “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

    Apparently in response to that phrase “Indian savages,” an automated program flagged the text, and it was deleted as “hate speech.” Later, Facebook restored the text and apologized.

    http://www.thevindicator.com/news/article_556e1014-7e41-11e8-a85e-ab264c30e973.html

    So it was not, as you were implying, a case of illiteracy or finding the country’s founding principles to be “hate speech.” It was a case of a computer program set to flag racist phrases, and genuinely finding one in a text that happened to be part of the Declaration. Sure it’s a funny story, but it also calls attention to the fact that the Founding Fathers were not infallible.

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  40. DrDaveT says:

    Recent polling finds that Americans aren’t feeling quite so patriotic right now.

    The thing that struck me most about this article was its complete failure to distinguish among patriotism, love of country, pride in country, and jingoism. Or to even recognize that those things exist, and are different.

    Hint: I have relatives that I love but am not proud of.

  41. DrDaveT says:

    @TM01:

    And why should we be proud of this country?
    Democrats have been telling us it’s all founded on racism and genocide, it’s full of Institutionalized Racism, White Privilege, cops are literally committing genocide against blacks, etc. What’s to be proud of?

    Finally, you ask a good question. Good on you.

    Unlike most countries that exhibit the failings of America, we aspire to something higher. We profess (at least in our founding documents and greatest leaders) to think that being a racist, genocidal, sexist, xenophobic nation is a bad thing — something to be cured, not embraced. We claim to love actual freedom, rather than the sham freedom that is really just privilege. We claim to love actual justice, rather than the sham justice that is really just protection of privilege. We claim to value truth, rather than comforting fiction.

    Of course, we don’t always get it right. But, at our best, we are ashamed when we don’t get it right. And that is the corrupting poison of Trumpism — the idea that you don’t have to be ashamed of your racist, sexist, xenophobic, oligarchic, anti-scientific urges. That, on some important level, you are correct to be a racist, sexist, xenophobic, illiterate, ignorant pig.