It is both an honor and a privilege to be an American. We find ourselves in a time where the U.S. acts as a beacon of prominence, too bright for one to be among the living and unaware of our existence. Our brief yet prestigious history should act as an inspiration for all among us. To inherit the bold accomplishments of so short a time on the world stage is both a blessing and a challenge. Endless sums of people recognize the beauty of our prosperity and wish to enter the golden gates to the United States. Do Americans view the greatest nation the world has ever seen with similar respect?
A recent Gallup poll on American pride suggests we are rapidly becoming more polarized. As of June 2018, only 32% of Democrats are extremely proud to be American, compared to 74% of Republicans. One might rightly think it is typical for an individual’s patriotism to be correlated with whether or not their political party is in power. While undoubtedly that is the case, this is but a small facet of the story.
In 2013, at the peak of the Obama era, still just 56% of Democrats were extremely proud to be an American, compared to 71% of Republicans. Obama and his administration were loved by Democrats and loathed by Republicans. Yet, even in these times, American pride strongly remained a right-leaning phenomenon.
The spirit notably shifts with the political tide, but a norm is emerging that defines the divide within our populace. To understand this point further, a look into patriotism on the Left is enlightening.
In the current year, just 23% of self-identified “liberals” – who are better described as “progressives” – say they are extremely proud to be American. Left-wing patriotism has been declining since 2013, reflecting a trend that is not just responsive to the Trump presidency. Despite large progressive shifts in culture, liberals’ distaste for our country continues to grow.
Gay marriage has been legalized. Instead of two genders there are now 112 and counting. Ball pits have been socially re-engineered as safe spaces for adults. The nation’s traditions and common culture are being shredded by the day. Yet, progressives are not radiating patriotism in stride with their growth in power over the cultural zeitgeist.
This is not a coincidence. Progressivism, as a philosophy, relies first on an initial condition that one need be liberated from. This idea may be strategically coated in grand terms like “freedom,” a well-versed seduction of those who hold our historic fight for freedom dear. However, upon lifting the veil of this apparently principled position one uncovers an attempt to undo the social fabric that unites a people. For the freedom fight by liberals today is a freedom from duty, expectation, and the communal responsibility towards the collective good of us all.
At the core, Progressivism is a self-centered ideology, prioritizing the whims of every citizen despite the collective stratification and destruction that may follow. A nation is a grand machine of various parts that must function and operate together as a whole. Rather than glorifying what an honor it is to play a part in such a beautiful system, the idea of serving a greater good is instead classified as individual oppression. For the progressive movement wishes to detach from the perceived bondage of social unity, and an altogether national cohesion.
This pursuit of separation from a greater collective inherently subtracts the idea of pride in a national identity. Why is patriotism among progressives so low? Patriotism is pride in something larger than the self, and progressivism rationalizes everything on the level of the individual. National pride is at best a struggle for the progressive ideal.
Thus the splintering of our nation is becoming quite plain. There are those whose perspective is nationalistic, and those whose perspective is individualistic. On the one side, we have patriots. On the other, we have progressives. The future of America is therefore only in the hands of one of these forces, for the other is an American counter-force.