Two hundred years ago the English author Samuel Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” However, today, in the post-9/11 America, patriotism seems to be the first refuge of many citizens from every walk of life. According to many polls taken, patriotic feelings have been aroused in a large cross-section of U.S. citizens in ways that have not been experienced in many, many years.
In a poll conducted by Roper Reports, at least 81% of Americans felt that being patriotic was the “in” thing. By “in” they meant that patriotism was an important part of their self-identity. Only 14% believed that being patriotic was “passé,” not part of their identities as individuals.
This feeling of love for one’s country was not limited to any one ethnic group, age group, or socio-economic group, either. In historically non-patriotic groups like blacks or Hispanics it was found that there was “virtually no difference between blacks’ views and those of the nation as a whole.”
Another traditionally cynical group, baby-boomers, also came on board the patriotism train, with 87% of those born between 1946 and 1964 saying that patriotism is a “central identifying fact of their lives.” Those a tiny bit younger, born between 1965 and 1980, sometimes known as “generation Xers” felt the same way in 78% of those who were asked.
One factor which may be helping to maintain the high level of patriotism experienced in the U.S. even years after the events of September 11th, is the new world order whose modern narrative is that the U.S. is the bad guy. According to one commentator, “if anything fuels patriotism (the negative feelings towards the U.S. by the rest of the world)will do it.”