Why national pride is evaporating in America
By Joe Concha
The poll result was one of the more stunning you’ll see: Just 39
percent of Americans are extremely proud of their country, according
to a recent Gallup poll. For context, the same poll taken in 2011 had
that number at 69 percent.
So how exactly did so many of us become so pessimistic? Is the United
States really so different today than it was 11 years ago? What has
For starters, when kids are being taught in schools and the culture
that America is an inherently racist country, that message is going to
stick with some, unfortunately.
Many have also lost trust in our institutions. Americans of all
political stripes are increasingly distrustful of government, for
example. Pew Research found that just two in 10 Americans say they
trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about
always,” down from 77 percent during the Kennedy administration.
Regarding trust in other institutions, the divide falls more along
party lines. Just 13 percent of Democrats trust the Supreme Court, per
Gallup, while 39 percent of Republicans say they trust the high court.
How about the media? Things are bleak on that front as well, except in
reverse: Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning
independents say they have “a lot” or “some” trust in national news
organizations, according to Pew. Ask a GOP voter the same question,
and the trust number is 43 points lower. Simple theory here:
Conservatives believe the news is biased against them, while
Democratic voter beliefs align with many outlets. The one-sided
coverage of the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade is a prime
example of that.
On the question “Are you proud of the country?” the results even begin
to fall according to party. Democrats top the list on this question,
albeit with just 46 percent of those surveyed expressing patriotism.
The number falls to only 36 percent when Republicans are asked the
same question, followed by independents, who sit at just 29 percent.
The answers here may point directly at who is occupying the Oval
Office. As you may have heard, President Biden is polling lower than
any first-term president going back to Harry Truman. A Harvard
University-Harris poll finds that just 29 percent of the country wants
Biden to seek a second term.
“Only 30 percent of Democrats would even vote for him in a
presidential primary,” noted former Clinton pollster Mark Penn, who
conducted the survey.
So perhaps so few Americans are proud of their country not because
their historical conception of America has changed but because of the
current state of affairs, involving deepening political divides,
sky-high inflation, rampant crime and other ills.
There isn’t much optimism in the country right now, with an
eye-popping 85 percent of voters saying in a recent survey that things
are going in the wrong direction.
Independence Day is upon us. Hot dogs and baseball and fireworks will
make it a festive day for many.
But for many, the cost of filling up a gas tank or buying food for a
barbecue will be significantly higher this time around. The evening
news will feature stories that will continue to sow outrage and
Americans are known for their optimism, but things feel different
lately, and for good reason. America has come back from these
conditions before, and will do so again. The question is: Will trust
in our leaders and institutions come with it? That remains to be seen.
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Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist