Decline in patriotism, tolerance is an American wake-up call and a Christmas present for these key players
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Patriotism, tolerance, religious observance and community engagement are all down sharply, according to a new survey published in the Wall Street Journal, and if we’re being honest, the results are chilling.
Declining numbers in almost every area of civic life is not just a threat to civility and social cohesion, it’s a threat to American national security.
The numbers strike a sensitive and quite serious chord. In 1998, 70% of Americans polled said patriotism was very important to them. Today? Only 38%, compared to 61% in just 4 years.
IMPORTANCE OF TRADITIONAL AMERICAN VALUES HAS FALLED ACROSS US, SURVEY SAYS
There are similar deep drops in the numbers for the importance of religion (down 33%) or community involvement (down 35%). In fact, the only object that gained importance according to this survey is money which gained 12% points. .
Perhaps the most shocking and dangerous finding of the survey concerns tolerance towards others and their opinions. In 2019, 80% of Americans supported this fundamental American value, today it is only 58%.
Placed on top of each other, these numbers present a pernicious palimpsest of a changing America, and not for the better. We are now a nation with less pride in our flag, a nation without a God to obey, a nation in which communities are collapsing as Americans mistrust and even hate each other.
If these numbers are a cold cup of coffee for a country that needs to wake up to its internal divisions, they are a Christmas present for our geopolitical enemies who are not only thriving but also fueling this disastrous division.
MOST AMERICANS DON’T BELIEVE US IS WORLD’S GREATEST COUNTRY, POLL SAYS
When Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed his report on foreign interference in the 2016 election, we were so focused on the guilt or innocence of then-President Donald Trump that we all but ignored the main report’s conclusion that Russian Internet troll farms weren’t trying to swing so much. an election that causes Americans to insult each other.
As Rep. Michael Waltz said after a 2020 intelligence briefing, “You name the divisive issue – racial tensions, gun rights, pro-life, pro-choice, and what they have spoken tries to stir and sow discord on both sides of every issue.”
Although it is not entirely clear how much foreign information operations, not only from Russia but also from China, Iran and others, have had on these declines in support for values American fundamentals, what is clear is that these declines are hurting us and helping them.
For authoritarian nations who wish to depose America and the West as a global superpower, a sharp decline in patriotism is a dream come true. Moreover, declining tolerance is an opportunity for our enemies to foment not just anger and division, but actual violence.
TRADITIONAL VALUES ARE DISAPPEARING FROM AMERICAN CULTURE: YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TEACHING ‘AMERICA IS A BAD COUNTRY’
Just this month, in response to Stanford law students yelling at a supposedly anti-trans federal judge who was trying to make remarks, a Wayne State professor wrote on Facebook: “I think he’s fine more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic or transphobic speaker than to shout them.
What is astonishing and deeply disturbing here is not only that the professor made such a statement, but that he felt comfortable posting it on social media, as if his friends and acquaintances were nodding. head thinking, “Yeah, maybe I should kill people I don’t agree with.”
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The American political and media class must take a long look in the mirror. Unfortunately, these steep drops in patriotism and tolerance, the vicious otherness of those with whom we disagree can generate votes and clicks, but at a price far too high for America to pay.
If there is a silver lining around the murky disposition of the American body politic, it may be that we are waking up to external threats, particularly those posed by China. A separate Gallup poll found that in 2018, 53% of Americans held a positive view of the communist nation, today it’s hit a record low of 15%.
We need leaders who will point out that we are all together in this unlikely American experiment and that there are powerful global forces that want nothing more than to destroy it.
It was Benjamin Franklin who wrote, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that “we must all hang together, or most certainly we shall all hang apart.” 246 years later, it’s still true.
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Now is the time for patriotism, now is the time for community involvement and now is most definitely the time for tolerance.
In the United States of America, it’s never too late.
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