Parents who teach and model patriotism will develop patriotic citizens and strengthen their communities and nations. Children tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents. If the parents value education, the children will likely be good students or at least recognize the value of education in their lives. If parents model military service, their children are more likely to serve in military capacities. On the other hand, if the parents are lazy people and do-nothings, their children will likely become lazy people and do-nothings.
The level of patriotism in America is decreasing each generation. The members of the Greatest Generation – those men who fought in World War II and the women who supported them – ranked high in patriotism. They faced the Nazis face-to-face and caused them to back down. They reared their families in remembering loved ones on Memorial, celebrating Independence Day, and commemorating Veterans Day.
The children of the Greatest Generation were part of the Vietnam generation. Most of the people in that generation knew someone who was drafted and shipped to Vietnam, and many of them knew people who did not come home. The children of the Vietnam generation lived through the results of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
However, later generations – possibly the children of the Vietnam protesters – are less patriotic. A recent Morning Consult poll found that “Only 16% of Gen Zers are ‘proud’ to live in the United States.” The poll also “shows that there has been roughly a 20-percentage-point drop of pride in country every generation since the Baby Boomers, 73% of whom express pride in the country.” Jarrett Stepman explained why these findings cause concerns.
Even if the poll is off or exaggerated, it’s hard to ignore the reality and the trend. With each passing generation, there’s less connection to country and less patriotism. With this comes enormous – and likely terrible – implications.
First, for those insistent on upholding the “liberal international order,” as some call it, that’s going to be hard to do when so few people are willing to support or defend even their own nation. It also should come as no surprise that the military is having a recruitment crisis. Could you imagine what would happen if we had to reinstate the draft?
Second, with less attachment to country, there will be fewer things to bind people together in a society that is now ruthlessly sorting out ideologically.
Stepman reminded his readers of the great philosophical gaps and political divisions in America. In past years, no one questioned their neighbor’s patriotism or love for nation even though they differed in their philosophies and politics. Now, people have “less incentive to maintain and defend the rights of the other ‘tribe.’”
Stepman quoted President Donald Trump as saying in his inaugural address, “when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” Then he said, “In a society devoid of patriotism, there will be a whole lot of room to hate.” He added his thoughts about why we see this happening.
We’ve failed to reinstitutionalize “informed patriotism” in this country. That’s what President Ronald Reagan called for in his farewell address in January 1989, and what was clearly most important to him. In the 1980s, the U.S. was riding high, the economy was booming, patriotism was returning, the Soviet Union – an evil empire, if there ever was one – was just a few years away from collapse. It was morning again in America.
However, Reagan warned that while the policy victories he achieved during his presidency were good, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Reagan said that “younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children.” But it wasn’t just parents. For those who created popular culture, “well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style.”
He warned that while our “spirit” was back, we hadn’t “reinstitutionalized it.”
Stepman proclaimed that Reagan was correct in his statement. We did not “reinstitutionalize” patriotism and love of country. Instead, we have “institutionalized the ethos of the new left, of the woke, of the purveyors of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Stepman said that “Concepts such as critical race theory and radical gender theory are quite real, but they aren’t new.”
Academia has been floating such ideas for more than fifty years. The thing that is different now is that “these ideas have reached a critical mass, and they have pushed traditional American ideas out of every institution they’ve taken hold of.”
Because these concepts have been absorbed by so many Americans, those who disagree risk their status, jobs or careers or are called racist or other names. We may have reached the point that President Reagan foreshadowed by his famous statement:
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, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Stepman shared the example of the 2020 mobs trashed businesses and tore down statues. Institutions joined with the mobs, and the pride flag and BLM flag were flown in place of the American flag. Such people and institutions are attempting to transform American from the inside out, but we are still free to oppose their attempts.
Governor Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida have given us “a model of how to fight back and how to hit the radical left where it hurts the most.” Florida State leaders went “after woke indoctrination in K-12 schools” and reintroduced “instruction in American principles. They changed school boards, boards of trustees at colleges.
Stepman said that we must retake the institutions if we are to win the battle to save America. We must “restore pride in country” and “prevent the United States from slipping into a dark age of decline and possible dissolution.” This essential work must be done “while there are still Americans left who know what it was like to live in freedom and who wish to hand that down to posterity.”
I have been fighting this battle for more than a dozen years. I was one of those Americans with their heads in the sand until I watched the changes that the Obama administration sought to make in America. I started this blog in 2009 to share the importance of this battle with my posterity. The destruction was paused during the Trump administration but escalated under the Biden administration.
America is heading toward destruction just like other civilizations that have lived on this continent. However, I do believe that the U.S. Constitution and the United States will survive the attacks to destroy it. Nevertheless, I have accepted that we will go through some difficult times before life becomes better. What are you waiting for? Put on your armor and join the battle!
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