The study, conducted by the American Culture and Faith Institute, demonstrates that Americans are increasingly polarized on issues that have historically united the country. According to Anne Sorock, Executive Director of Ear to the Ground,
“The findings revealed a fissure in our culture, opportunities to rally around patriotism as a shared value, and also concerns about fluid definitions. They suggest that we are more divided than ever – and neither the left nor the right is content to cede patriotism to the other.”
When it comes to attitudes about American exceptionalism, conservatives and liberals could not be farther apart. Only 47 percent of liberals endorse an “America first” attitude, whereas 82 percent of conservatives do so. When asked if they are “proud to be American,” 65 percent of conservatives responded “yes,” whereas only 37 percent of liberals say they are “proud to be American.” As Sorock points out, conservatives are more concerned about attacks on freedom, whereas liberals and moderates are intent on forging a national consensus:
“With regards to perceptions about the experience of “being American,” … conservatives were more likely than liberals and moderates to believe that basic freedoms are under attack in America today.
Conservatives were less likely than both liberals and moderates to believe that our most visible political leaders are doing little to bring the country together; that the US does not have a widely-shared vision of our future for people to rally around; and that things are so divided these days that it is no longer possible to bring the nation together.”
There are many causes of this hyper-partisanship and precipitous drop in patriotism. For decades, the United States has been engaged in a culture war. The counterculture revolution of the 1960s mocked and derided traditional American values, yet it subsumed the nation’s cultural center. The U.S. education system and mainstream media have been corrupted by liberal bias. The ongoing culture war has created a society that is fraying at the seams.
Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” The results of this survey affirm Reagan’s point.
Since its inception, the United States has fought tyranny, provided aid after natural disasters, and welcomed refugees from around the globe. The United States is not perfect, but it was designed to be a virtuous nation founded on freedom. The nation’s hordes of domestic detractors ought to contemplate what the world would be like without the United States. One suspects that an honest assessment would induce a greater appreciation for their country.