Are Americans Proud to Be American?
According to a 2023 Morning Consult poll, only 16% of Gen Z are proud to live in the United States. What’s causing such a small number of young Americans to be proud of the country they live in? On a recent episode of the Outstanding podcast, host Joseph Backholm and The Washington Stand’s Ben Johnson tackled this very question.
“That’s the lowest percentage of any generation ever recorded on a poll of this kind. … It’s also a function of progressivism emphasizing all the problems with America,” Backholm said. Johnson responded, “There’s been an inexorable march through the institutions of culture that have embedded this narrative in America, particularly in the younger generations of critical theory, the idea that America is only an institution that supports slavery.”
Rather than America being rooted in freedom of speech, religion, and the ability to vote and bear arms, progressivism makes it so that “the only thing you’re allowed to do is criticize the country,” as Backholm stated. Progressivism declares, as Johnson expressed, “that racism today is worse than ever, even though there’s demonstrably less of it. That oppression of LGBT people is worse than ever, although we are swimming in gay pride month. The narrative and the facts could not be further separated.”
For Backholm, the problem is that these young people are subject to “a serious form of brainwashing.” He elaborated that people living in America today have it “better than any group of humans in human history have ever had it.” Not that America is perfect, as Backholm noted, but the free market and Western democracy here in America “has been the greatest reducer of poverty and promoter of freedom humanity has ever seen.”
Johnson highlighted that the Fraser Institute provides statistical evidence that, in terms of income, the bottom 10% of Americans is higher than the top 100% of those in less economically free parts of the world. “Again, you have this single-minded focus on everything that is supposedly wrong, much of it falsified, and that simply ends up telling people that America has to be changed into a socialistic country,” Johnson concluded.
Basketball player Brittney Griner is an example of an American who dealt first-hand with a foreign country’s lack of legal justice. Griner was imprisoned in Russia on the accusation of drug possession. Without trial and the ability to testify, Griner was placed in a Russian jail for 10 months — only obtaining freedom after American intervention.
Johnson noted, “[Here in America] you cannot have unreasonable searches and seizures. You can’t have cruel and unusual punishment. All of these things were founded and institutionalized by the founders of this country in the Constitution that is supposedly the root of all oppression.”
“Those who lack constitutional protections are vulnerable,” Johnson said. “If she [Brittney] were in the United States, this never would have happened.” Backholm added, “And I hope she’ll tell that story.” As the discussion ended, Backholm noted, “We are constantly ridiculed for trying to say good things about it, about our system. And injustice exists in America. There are people, you know, that the system fails.” But the United States puts in a “sincere effort to achieve justice.” America has a system in place that allows freedom and strives for justice, he further argued. “Those things are actually wonderful. … Maybe it’s not all terrible after all.”