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Hope Lost in America? Not If We Cultivate Patriotism Together

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Hope is essential for a thriving society, yet only half of Americans are hopeful for the nation’s future. To address this challenge, we must cultivate a shared patriotic spirit that rises above divisive politics.

The United States emphasizes individual liberty, which has helped it become a flourishing country where people are free to pursue their distinct talents and interests and reach their full potential. However, it is also essential for Americans to balance their individualism with a shared, positive national identity.

Humans are a tribal species, hard-wired to form and maintain group connections. While our group-oriented nature often gets a bad rap because it can sometimes fuel prejudice, discrimination and violence, mainly when other groups are perceived as a threat, it also helps build and maintain thriving organizations, communities and nations. Group affiliation nurtures social trust, unites individuals around shared objectives, and provides a sense of existential meaning from being a valuable member of a family, organization or cultural group that outlasts a lifespan.

Thus, when approaching societal problems and goals, fostering a shared national identity — a patriotic spirit that unites us is essential.

The latest research from the Archbridge Institute’s Human Flourishing Lab underscores a particularly positive feature of patriotism: Its relationship with hope for the nation’s future.

Hope is a crucial driver of individual and societal flourishing. Hopeful individuals are optimistic about the future and strongly believe in their ability to improve their lives. This mindset makes them more resilient when confronted with challenges and more adaptable in their strategies for overcoming obstacles and achieving objectives. Consequently, hopeful individuals tend to excel in life, whether pursuing educational, professional or athletic endeavors.

The benefits of a hopeful attitude extend beyond personal achievements. Hopeful individuals are motivated to contribute positively to their families, communities and society, and they are more tolerant of those they disagree with — a quality that is essential for the success of a free and diverse society. Hope also supports creativity and innovative problem-solving, which contributes to the entrepreneurship and dynamism that has made America a land of opportunity.

So, what does patriotism have to do with hope? When people hold a positive view of their group, they are more likely to maintain a hopeful outlook on life. A positive national group identity can thus encourage hopeful attitudes about the country’s future.

Indeed, our nationally representative survey of 2,000 American adults found that national pride — an indicator of a positive national group identity — is a strong predictor of national hope. Overall, just over half (56 percent) of Americans are hopeful for the country’s future. However, a striking disparity emerged when considering the role of patriotism: 64 percent of respondents who said they are proud to be American indicated that they are hopeful for the nation’s future, compared to just 27 percent of those who said they are not proud to be American.

Critically, this pattern was observed for Americans of all ages and political affiliations. Whether young or old, liberal or conservative, patriotism is strongly associated with hope for the future.

The good news is that 81 percent of Americans are proud to be American. The challenge, however, is a large patriotism gap between younger generations of liberals, conservatives and moderates. While more than 90 percent of conservatives, moderates and liberals age 60 and above are proud to be American, younger age groups show a significant patriotism gap, with liberals expressing far less pride in their country than their conservative or moderate counterparts. Only 47 percent of liberals under the age of 30 are proud to be American, compared to 75 percent of young conservatives.

The widening patriotism gap among younger generations, especially between liberals and conservatives, poses a significant obstacle to addressing issues that affect the nation’s psychological, social and economic well-being. Young American adults would be wise to learn from their elders that a love of country can transcend political differences.

Encouragingly, surveys suggest that Americans are growing tired of divisive politics. This allows leaders across society to recognize the importance of promoting a unifying and forward-looking national narrative that inspires hope, fosters understanding across differences, and encourages citizens to collaborate toward a better future while upholding a commitment to individual liberty.

By embracing personal freedom and national belonging, we can promote individual and societal flourishing and pave the way for a brighter future for all.

Clay Routledge is vice president of research and director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute.

Reprinted with Permission from DC Journal – By Clay Routledge

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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Bob L.
Bob L.
2 months ago

Cultivate patriotism AND non-compliance of unjust and unconstitutional actions by would be tyrants.
Non-compliance is going to have to be a big factor to defeating the enemies of our Constitutional Republic.

Morbious
Morbious
2 months ago

These kids were dropped into commie indoctrination centers colloquially known as ‘public schools’ by know nothing parents too busy to probe their kids at a sit down dinner to ascertain what dear teacher taught that day. Instead, each day flew past in a flurry of manic activity until one day a harbinger of disaster showed itself. Seemingly, out of nowhere the kid starts spouting propaganda worthy of the Soviet Union. By that time of course its far too late for easy course correction. These young Bolsheviks will need decades of experience in order to turn around. But hey, the kid got a trophy for madly kicking soccer balls.

Steve Greenwell
Steve Greenwell
2 months ago

Unity requires common values around which to unite. The right has no more in common with the left than Christ has with Belial.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

BUT Leftists & Media & Academia Block ALL

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

For a true patriotism to be part of our daily lives we would have to have a common ground and goal Not happening It’s the celebration of diversity and multi culti white the traditional is being frown upon and destroyed and hocus pocus of creating a new just and equal society is performed Recipe for a disaster and it’s working

Truth, has no boundaries
Truth, has no boundaries
1 month ago

Americans have let the country fold to the dictatorial behaviors in DC. I hope they wake up soon. They violate the law with impunity, and there is no one to prosecute. What a failure of country pride.
Voting yes, but is it too late?
Let’s abolish political parties, run on your merits, promise to stand in for all Americans, adhere to the law, stop criminality, and get courageous enough never to allow this BS to happen again. The criminals in DC need to be held accountable, and for this sore on society to pay for the misuse of authority. NO MORE. Remove the threat and the criminals or succumb. We need to clean house, shut down much of the useless and costly DC, spread out the duties to include what the states manage, and stop building more than we can afford. If stupid fits, accept it, then . . . .change. P.T. Barnum had it right, “There is a sucker born every minute!” That is us at present!

Donald Dalton
Donald Dalton
2 months ago

If I see that childish cliche heart hands symbol one more time I’m going to be sick.

John Shipway
John Shipway
2 months ago

Feel patriotic for what? We lost what the Founding Fathers established when the demonic but propagandized into a virtual sainthood status, Abraham Lincoln destroyed the “Republic” portion of what the nation was established as, a democratic republic. Since Lincoln, whose end game I wish Biden would mimic, destroyed the power of the states and established the tyrannical centralized authoritarian empire as we now stand…..for exactly what should I regularly pronounce my fealty in the form of displayed or even felt “patriotism”? As this nation now stands I, like the majority of the planet, utterly despise our thankfully dying empire wannabe.
Now, if we can merely return to being and acting like the democratic republic the Founding Fathes established, I will be among the first to go out in the street and loudly proclaim my patriotic fervor.

President Joe Biden departs after speaking at the NAACP Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mark Laws
Big Bend, Wisconsin, USA - Jan 22 2024: Kamala Harris delivering remarks at a political event
President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the nation after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in the Oval Office.

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