Millennials less patriotic? Good or bad?

Good or bad?

  • Yes

    Votes: 15 57.7%
  • No

    Votes: 5 19.2%
  • America is perfect

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • America is the best in the world. If you disagree you are a commie!

    Votes: 5 19.2%

  • Total voters
    26

G51989

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
http://newyork.blogs.france24.com/article/2014/07/08/done-4th-july

I knew I would remember my first 4th of July. There was going to be a noisy party, noisy fireworks, noisy people and an excess of red white and blue. I wasn’t sure whether I would stomach the all-you-can-eat patriotism and the ‘cute’ English-bashing that my presence might encourage. But it would be an experience.

Alas, the long weekend and its promised fete has been and gone, and the closest indication I got of any kind of party was a flier at the supermarket advertising discounted ‘Independence Day sausages’.

It’s not that I didn’t try. I asked a number of friends long in advance what they were planning for the 4th of July. The Friday being a national holiday meant a three-day weekend - a rarity in the US where bank holidays are seldom taken seriously. I figured there would be at least one party, and the theme, no matter how nonchalant the hosts, would be Independence Day.

Instead, the only excitement surrounding the weekend concerned the inevitable lie-in that Friday off would bring. “What are you doing for the 4th of July” was met with a cautious “er, sleeping” by almost everybody.

I considered leaving the city (perhaps the parties were elsewhere?). Apparently that was a great idea, but only because I would avoid the risk of ‘getting stuck’ watching the fireworks and/or eating a hot dog.

The one friend I found with a concrete plan was heading to a three-day rave upstate with an assortment of hallucinogens. But that didn’t seem very patriotic.

Apparently, that’s because America’s youth is not.

According to the American National Election Studies, which has been tracking American patriotism since 1948, national pride is dramatically lower among America’s younger generations, and is not increasing as they grow older.

The latest edition of the study (which runs every four years) revealed that only 58 percent of millennials (18-33 years old) say they ‘love America’. That might sound quite high, but not when you look at older generations.

Among 69 to 86 year-olds, the number of those who say they ‘love America’ is more than 20 points higher, at 81 percent. Asked how they feel when they see the American flag flying, a mind-boggling 94 percent of them say ‘very or extremely good’.

Millennials, on the other hand, are less enamoured by their flag, with a still impressive but far saner 67 percent getting a buzz from looking at it.

As The New York Times's Lynn Vavreck , who cited the survey’s findings, pointed out: “Millennials, it seems, are a different breed.”

But while some (within the country) might see the results as dispiriting, Vavreck drew a great positive from the survey, which shows that while millennials are less hot on the flag than their older compatriots, they’re more committed to fundamental American principles like democracy, equality and opportunity. “In general, millennials have more appetite for egalitarian principles than older people,” she wrote.

Not only, but “the patterns suggest the shifts are generational and not driven by stages in the life cycle”. Which means, these kids will not turn into their flag-flying parents and grandparents. If anything, they are mildly embarrassed by them.

My first July 4 has actually been more memorable than expected. Not through disappointment (I really hate fireworks, hot dogs and facepaint), but the realisation that instead of maintaining a scarily fierce and seemingly shallow patriotism which the rest of the world has come to abhor, young Americans seem to be gradually shifting the meaning of American patriotism. Less hot dog, more equal opportunities.
And yes, this is cited several times via actual research.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/upshot/younger-americans-are-less-patriotic-at-least-in-some-ways.html?_r=0

Americans are a patriotic bunch. Compared with people in most other countries, Americans express more pride in their nationality, and most say that being an American is an important part of their identity.

Even so, patriotism in America is on the decline.

But the decline seems to have more to do with reactions to the symbols of American democracy than its values. Older Americans remain remarkably high in their devotion to symbols like the flag, while young citizens are cooler toward Old Glory but express higher support for classic American ideals like equality and opportunity.

The patterns suggest the shifts are generational and not driven by stages in the life cycle. Past generations have declined only marginally in their nationalism over time – they start out high and mainly remain so. But today’s youngest generation begins adulthood with much lower levels of fondness for the symbols of America, and if the past is a guide, there is no reason to expect increases as they age.

Measures of American patriotism over the last several decades are found in the American National Election Study (A.N.E.S.), the nation’s longest-running data collection on political attitudes and behavior. Started in 1948, the A.N.E.S. is funded by the National Science Foundation, and the interviews are done in person every four years, in the homes of nearly 2,000 randomly selected Americans.

When you see the American flag flying, the A.N.E.S. asks, how good does it make you feel? People can choose from categories that range from “extremely good” to “not good at all.” In 2012, 79 percent of Americans responded with extremely or very good. Only 7 percent said slightly or not good at all.

There is also a question asking how people “feel about this country.” More than 95 percent of Americans either love or like their country, with 70 percent saying “love it” and only one-third of one percent saying “hate it.” Sixty-one percent say that being an American is “extremely important” on a personal level. Only 1.5 percent say it is “not at all important.”

There are small differences in levels of patriotism across political parties, between men and women, and among racial groups, but these patterns pale in comparison to the differences across generations, with overt patriotism shifting down with age. Here’s a striking example: 81 percent of the Silent Generation (those who are 69 to 86 years old in 2014) love America while only 58 percent of millennials (18 to 33 years old) feel the same. Born between 1928 and 1945, the Silent Generation fought both the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Thirty-one percent of them report that they personally served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces. Only 4 percent of millennials have done so.

Seventy-eight percent of the older generation consider their American identity to be extremely important. That drops to 70 percent for baby boomers (50 to 68 years), 60 percent of Generation X’ers (34 to 49 years), and only 45 percent of young adults define themselves this way. And while 94 percent of the Silent Generation say that seeing the U.S. flag flying makes them feel extremely or very good, only 67 percent of millennials muster the same affection.
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Millennials, it seems, are a different breed. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, millennials are “detached from institutions … linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry – and optimistic about the future.” They are, the report concludes, “different from older adults back when they were the age millennials are now.”

These trends can be seen in the A.N.E.S. data by examining the 1988 version of the question about flying the flag. Millennials start out in a very different place than other generations. In 1988, when Gen X members were 23 or younger, 73 percent said the flag made them feel extremely or very good – the same percentage of that generation that says so today. And 82 percent of the boomers in 1988 (age 24 to 42), who may be more comparable to the age range of today’s millennials, report extremely or very good feelings when seeing the Stars and Stripes – very close to the 87 percent who say this same thing today.

Patriotism seems to span the life cycle, not change with it, which might give us pause given the low starting levels of the millennial generation. But it shouldn’t. Just as the Pew data found young people to be optimistic despite being saddled with debt, the A.N.E.S. data show millennials to be extremely supportive of the ideals and values of democracy, if not the symbols of America. In particular, equality stands out.

The A.N.E.S. asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with six statements about equality. One of them was: “It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others.” People who agree with the statement are saying that the differences in people’s prospects aren’t terribly problematic for American society. Only 28 percent of Americans agree with that statement; 21 percent neither agree nor disagree. Half think it is a big problem that some people get more of a chance in life than others.

The difference between millennials and the Silent Generation on this question is 20 points. While 42 percent of the older generation thinks unequal chances in life are not a big problem, only 20 percent of millennials do. As for the reverse, only 37 percent of the Silent Generation think unequal chances are a big problem compared to 57 percent of young people.

In general, millennials have more appetite for egalitarian principles than older people. They may look less patriotic than the rest of America at first glance, but coming of age in the era of globalization and being a more racially diverse generation may simply mean that traditional symbols of American democracy hold less meaning for this cohort. Milliennials may be less devoted to the symbols of America, but they are no less devoted to democratic ideals.

A new patriotism in American may be rising.

Is this good or bad?

I think it is good, I am with them.

Sure, waving at a flag is nice and all that, and being an American is part of who we are.

However, rather than blindly worshiping " everything American ", I am into making a new America, a better America that is better for everyone living in America, not clinging onto old ideals and blind worship. I want to make America better, not by staring at a flag and going " Murica! Number 1 at everything ! Everything else sucks! ", I strive for actual good in America.

Is this good or bad? This new form of patriotism that is starting to replace the old?

EDIT: Ledgem brought up a good point

I wonder if this is to due with the internet, younger people have the abilty to talk to people all around the world much easier than they used to and exchange idea.s
 
Last edited:

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,755
506
Hawaii, USA
I started using the internet when I was pretty young. The net was a pretty different place then, but it still had an impact on my world view. I exchanged ideas and regularly kept up with people in different countries, and felt a greater connection to them than to many of the people living around me. In many ways, my self identification transcended nations. I wasn't limited by physical borders; I could have been anywhere on Earth, and as long as I had a net connection, I'd still be able to carry on as I was.

Nearly everyone uses the internet these days, although not everyone connects with people from other countries, and not in the manner that I did. Regardless, I wonder if that has an effect on changing the display of patriotism.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
1,593
1,224
New Jersey, United States
Some people confuse patriotism with nationalism. The latter bent rather dangerous
Agreed. I think millennials are still patriotic, but much less nationalistic. They're much less likely to falsely claim the USA to be #1 in everything ever. Also, the pledge of allegiance is something that I think many millennials view as creepy. So do my parents actually, they're from the Soviet Union and when they first heard about children basically worshipping the flag every morning, they said it reminded them of some kind of communist ritual. Indeed, I believe the pledge needs to be phased out. It's effing weird.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,058
1,184
5045 feet above sea level
I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school.

Also those born in mid 90s on don't have much recollection of 9/11

However, I think patriotism is still strong today. The support we gave in the world cup is indicative of that
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Agreed. I think millennials are still patriotic, but much less nationalistic. They're much less likely to falsely claim the USA to be #1 in everything ever. Also, the pledge of allegiance is something that I think many millennials view as creepy. So do my parents actually, they're from the Soviet Union and when they first heard about children basically worshipping the flag every morning, they said it reminded them of some kind of communist ritual. Indeed, I believe the pledge needs to be phased out. It's effing weird.

But we added "under god" to the pledge to make it less commie! ;)

I'm with you though, the pledge creeps me out a bit. It's just a piece of cloth, I'm sorry, but I will never hold the flag in high regard. Symbolism, yada yada yada, but at the end of the day, you're pledging allegiance to a few dollars worth of cloth.

Plus, not a fan of the whole "under god" nonsense. I also refuse to stand for the singing of God Bless America at baseball games, if that makes me unpatriotic then so be it.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,067
16,585
The Misty Mountains
Patriotism can be a good thing; blind nationalism never is.
As far as kids feeling patriotic, I believe it is effected by how connected you feel to society. My impression which may not be accurate, is that millennials feel less connected.

I believe levels of patriotism are partially based on how good you have it or think you have it and is also effected by which direction you think the country is headed and the threats it faces. Ironically the manner of threat has a wide definition depending upon who you talk to.

Up though my 40s, I always thought it was important to own an American vehicle, but these days I've got two Fiats and a Toyota. My nationalism brand loyalty has taken a hit as I have become soured on corporations that are American in name, but in reality are multinational and don't seem to care about the citizens in this country, just digging for gold where ever they can, and hiding as much if their profits as possible. I might as well remove patriotic buying from my habit patterns.

These feelings are also effected by my perception of the citizens of this country, a substantial portion of them want to march us back to the dark ages. It's hard to be proud of this. I used to think we were number one, that we were a country full of great people, and were moving forward, but I've realized we have a bunch of idiots in out midst and it's hard to be proud of that. I also acknowledge that the perception minorities have historically will be much different then mine.

Before it is suggested to me that maybe I should leave, I'm not ready too. Despite all of these issues, I am still loyal to my country, I live well compared to the average, and have hope that in the battle for our souls that has been going on for the last 30 years, there is still hope that we will survive this and come to our senses, while acknowledging that my version of "coming to our senses" does not mesh with the conservative version. :p

PS- this is a crummy poll. First it is asked If millennials are more or less patriotic, then asks good or bad, but none of the poll choices allow you to answer both of these questions, and it includes extraneous choices that mean practically the same thing, so I've ignored the poll. Someone needs to take a course on poll creation. :p
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,838
Midlife, Midwest
Blind, unthinking patriotism is almost never a good thing. Last refuge of a scoundrel and all that.

Why are millenialls somewhat less outspoken in their knee-jerk patriotism than their elders? Gee, maybe ten years of useless war in Iraq; widespread torture; Guantanamo Bay; and universal NSA spying had something to do with it. Then again, maybe the internet and those 500 cable channels have shown some of them that other people don't all leve in mud huts and eat stewed meerkat.

Patriotism is still pretty high in this country. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
1,593
1,224
New Jersey, United States
I think the generation born after 1980 is our best hope for ending the partisan civil war that has finally managed to bring the country to a screeching halt. Seriously, it's choked us out...
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,062
Toronto, Ontario
The older generation rolled the red carpet up as they went, higher education and state colleges used to be funded by the states, but we have decided to tighten the string purse since the older generation doesn't need it anymore. Schooling is now unaffordable.

My generation was welcomed into the world with a big steaming helping of ****, corporations have outsourced to save investors money, many college grads are working at McDonalds, even that American flag you are praising was probably made in China. So to me the question is how can the older generations claim to be patriotic when they are the ones who sold out America?
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
7,298
The older generation rolled the red carpet up as they went, higher education and state colleges used to be funded by the states, but we have decided to tighten the string purse since the older generation doesn't need it anymore. Schooling is now unaffordable.

My generation was welcomed into the world with a big steaming helping of ****, corporations have outsourced to save investors money, many college grads are working at McDonalds, even that American flag you are praising was probably made in China. So to me the question is how can the older generations claim to be patriotic when they are the ones who sold out America?
It's sad when you put it that way.

Edit: I mean the idea that Millennials are the ones that aren't patriotic.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
1,593
1,224
New Jersey, United States
My generation was welcomed into the world with a big steaming helping of ****, corporations have outsourced to save investors money, many college grads are working at McDonalds, even that American flag you are praising was probably made in China. So to me the question is how can the older generations claim to be patriotic when they are the ones who sold out America?
BRAVO!! They complain about "those lazy young people", but they don't realize their generation is responsible for it. Baby boomers don't realize how much easier it was for them to make a living to keep a roof over their head and own a car directly out of high school then it is for today's generation. Yet, they're always trying to compare the two.
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
7,298
Why should they be? The Baby boomers sold off everything and ruined the country
I think the Millennials are very patriotic. It's the fact that the older generations are too focused themselves and what they want that stops any real progress from being done.