The Worrisome Decline of Patriotism in America

As the nation celebrates its 244th birthday, those of us who still love it must redouble our efforts to convert those who don’t to our side.
Independence Day is a time to celebrate our country, but with patriotic sentiment at perhaps an all-time low, this year’s holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember how excruciatingly lucky we are to be American citizens. With nothing but bad news filling our screens in recent months, love of country has become anything but an article of faith. When Gallup first started asking Americans how proud they were of their country months before the 9/11 attacks, 87 percent claimed to be “extremely” or “very” proud and only 2 percent said they were only “a little proud” or “not at all” proud. Gallup recently released this year’s American-pride poll, and the results are concerning to say the least: The extremely/very proud cohort has fallen to an all-time low of 63 percent, while the only a little proud/not all proud group has swelled from 12 percent to 21 percent in the last year.

The media seized on the poll to — you guessed it — blame President Trump. The Washington Post ran an opinion piece with the headline, “Trump Promised National Pride. A New Poll Proves He’s Delivered National Shame.” CNN ran an analysis piece under the headline, “Proud to be an American? Not so much anymore.” The common thread in these and other pieces was that they sounded more triumphal than sad, as though the decline in patriotic sentiment was good because it reflected poorly on Trump. President Trump has undoubtedly caused many Americans to feel less patriotic, but the truth is that patriotism has been waning for years.

Love of country shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the Gallup poll revealed that 88 percent of Republicans said they were very or extremely proud to be American, compared to just 42 percent of Democrats. College graduates, people of color, and young people were the least proud to be American, according to the survey. In March 2017, 43 percent of respondents in their twenties said they were extremely proud to be American. Today, that figure stands at just 20 percent.

We tend to take our beautiful country for granted, focusing on its problems rather than its blessings, but millions of aspiring migrants around the world understand what a comparatively excellent place to live America is. In 2018, more than 23 million foreign nationals applied to take part in our green-card lottery. Every country has its problems, and we certainly have our fair share. Freedom of speech is under attack here like never before. Discrimination is still a problem. But these are issues that are by no means unique to us.

Mark Twain once defined patriotism as “supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.” Americans have historically come together during times of crisis, but this isn’t happening now, in part because many on the left don’t subscribe to Twain’s maxim. Some are still so outraged that 62 million Americans voted for Donald Trump that they now view our country as an irredeemably tarnished place.

Those folks would do well to recognize that America is a lot bigger than the presidency. Elections matter, but presidents come and go; our country endures. As the 19th century House speaker and secretary of state James Blaine once said, “There is no ‘Republican,’ no ‘Democrat,’ on the Fourth of July — all are Americans. All feel that their country is greater than party.”

I never appreciated our country more than when I was serving it as a diplomat overseas. When you visit other countries, they’re novel and appealing in some ways. But the more time you spend, particularly in dysfunctional global hot spots, of which there are unfortunately many, the more you realize that our problems are comparatively quite manageable.

Don Parrish, a friend of mine from Illinois who is considered one of the world’s most-traveled people, is often asked to name his favorite country or place. His answer is always the same: There is no country like the United States. The more one travels, the more one appreciates one’s home.

As we prepare to celebrate America’s 244th birthday, those of us who remain proudly patriotic must redouble our efforts to convert friends, colleagues, and relatives who have grown disillusioned with our troubled-but-still-magisterial country. Because in the end, no nation can thrive if too many of its citizens no longer love it.


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The Independence of thought is the noblest aristocracy.


Thank you, and congratulations, America!!!


Independence Day


The gloom is not what scares,
It is what behind is men fear,
Despite their great struggles,
They achieved Independence,
They feared for their children,
Will have no freedom to share,
They united for sovereignty to reach,
Facing concealed and eternal brutalities,
They wanted the keys of their destiny to embrace,
The doors of slavery tore,
For a free passageway to elevate,
Hiding their past of suffering,
For a new world to create,
Without being robbed by absurd laws,
which opposed thriving ways,
For they preached evil against Americans born,
The new world is simple,
Freedom, Family, and Work,
Everything else is nontrivial,
Thanks to this land to its captivity scape,
The world is better today.


Blessed Be Your Lives


Americans Say They’re Becoming More Environmentally Conscious Each Year And Their Green Changes Are Contagious


In a bid to be more environmentally conscious, 85% of Americans surveyed have made at least one positive change in their lifestyle in the past year.

The great news is that a growing interest in becoming more eco-aware is a movement that’s contagious: Half of those polled said they’ve influenced somebody else to be more environmentally conscious, with the average respondent saying they’ve swayed three of their friends.

While the average American has made at least three positive changes in the past year, 41% of those polled said they’ve made even more than that, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults.

Four in 10 of those polled reported making an environmentally-conscious decision at least once a week, and nearly one in 3 said they do so daily.

And, environmental awareness appears to grow with time and age.

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When asked about the past year, 45% of respondents said they’ve cut down on wasting food and 27% said they’ve made a better effort to buy products with traceability labeling.

One in 3 said they’ve begun recycling more in the past 12 months, while 31% said they’ve cut down on plastic use and nearly 25% have reduced water usage in their homes.

Seven in 10 respondents said the more they age, the more environmentally conscious they become, with a majority (60%) saying they are more environmentally aware now than they were five years ago.

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Nearly seven in 10 of those surveyed said buying food products that are sustainably raised or produced is a priority.

While 4 out of every 5 people said they feel they’re making a difference when they make an environmentally-conscious decision, 80% feel better about themselves in the process.

But the biggest reason cited for their green lifestyle changes is a growing concern for the climate crisis (70%). Sixty-six percent said they care about protecting ecosystems and want to help save animals from extinction.

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Two in three Americans surveyed said they care about sustainable food production because they are worried about what they or their family eat.

“Everyone can take steps—even small steps—to help not only slow the decline of nature globally, but to help rehabilitate our ecosystem as well,” said Michael Wan, Global Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, which sponsored the survey conducted by OnePoll.

TOP 10 LIFESTYLE CHANGES AMERICANS HAVE MADE IN THE PAST YEAR

1. Not wasting food 45%
2. Turning off electronics when I’m not using them 42%
3. Purchasing food that is sustainably raised or produced 37%
4. Recycling more 34%
5. Cutting down on plastic use 31%
6. Buying products with traceability labeling 27%
7. Reducing water usage in my home 25%
8. Using eco-friendly products 25%
9. Composting 24%
10. Fixing broken items instead of throwing them away 24%

Preserve Eco-Positivity By Sharing These Survey Results With Your Friends.

‘Hamilton’ film offers our imperfect-wrong union a message of hope

“We’ll never be free until we end slavery.” We did free the slaves.

Not long after we went into quarantine — all of us just beginning to understand the magnitude of it, feeling so much fear and uncertainty — Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bob Iger announced that a filmed version of “Hamilton” would be released earlier than scheduled. It would stream to homes on the Fourth of July weekend.

It’s a hell of a gift for our nation’s birthday.

As our country convulses, Miranda’s unlikely blockbuster, now 5 years old, has become something of a Rorschach test. How do you see America?

Are we a 400-year-old blood-drenched relic founded on slavery, as the discredited New York Times 1619 Project has it, the American Revolution fought for the rights of slaveholders? Are we today a malignant cancer, one metastasized over centuries and now terminal?

Is America so hopelessly, systemically racist — and in some woke quarters, if you’re white, you’re a racist, no matter how well you know yourself, just a heads-up — that we should tear it all down, statues only the beginning?

Or do you see the America that Miranda sees? The one that’s an idea as much as a nation, our Founding Fathers flawed products of their time, many unable to grasp the contradictions in fighting for freedom while slaveholders themselves, struggling to codify a republic they believed could be exceptional?

“And so the American experiment begins,” goes the lyric in “Yorktown,” the show’s electrifying set piece depicting the Revolution’s most consequential battle and its aftermath.

The American experiment: Has there ever been a more eloquent, perfect description of our imperfection?

Not long after we went into quarantine — all of us just beginning to understand the magnitude of it, feeling so much fear and uncertainty — Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bob Iger announced that a filmed version of “Hamilton” would be released earlier than scheduled. It would stream to homes on the Fourth of July weekend.

It’s a hell of a gift for our nation’s birthday.

As our country convulses, Miranda’s unlikely blockbuster, now 5 years old, has become something of a Rorschach test. How do you see America?

Iger announced that a filmed version of “Hamilton” would be released earlier than scheduled. It would stream to homes on the Fourth of July weekend.

It’s a hell of a gift for our nation’s birthday.

As our country convulses, Miranda’s unlikely blockbuster, now 5 years old, has become something of a Rorschach test. How do you see America?

Are we a 400-year-old blood-drenched relic founded on slavery, as the discredited New York Times 1619 Project has it, the American Revolution fought for the rights of slaveholders? Are we today a malignant cancer, one metastasized over centuries and now terminal?

Is America so hopelessly, systemically racist — and in some woke quarters, if you’re white, you’re a racist, no matter how well you know yourself, just a heads-up — that we should tear it all down, statues only the beginning?

Or do you see the America that Miranda sees? The one that’s an idea as much as a nation, our Founding Fathers flawed products of their time, many unable to grasp the contradictions in fighting for freedom while slaveholders themselves, struggling to codify a republic they believed could be exceptional?

“And so the American experiment begins,” goes the lyric in “Yorktown,” the show’s electrifying set piece depicting the Revolution’s most consequential battle and its aftermath.

The American experiment: Has there ever been a more eloquent, perfect description of our imperfection?

“Hamilton” itself is an experiment, a patriotic hip-hop musical with a multiracial cast portraying George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and with Miranda — himself of Puerto Rican descent — playing Alexander Hamilton. Race here is both irrelevant and a way to remind us that all races suffered in, and contributed to, our founding.

While “Hamilton” may not be historically accurate — Miranda glosses over his hero’s buying and selling of slaves for his in-laws, as well as Jefferson’s and Washington’s slaveholding — it doesn’t have to be. It’s not a documentary. It’s a work of art speaking to our better angels.

That time Alexander Hamilton founded America’s oldest daily newspaper
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There’s a reason Miranda won the Pulitzer, a Kennedy Center Honor, a MacArthur Genius Grant and an armload of Tonys and Grammys for “Hamilton.”

There’s also a reason that its diehard fans include Barack Obama and Jay-Z, and that Disney paid $75 million for the worldwide rights.

On our best days, this is the America we believe in, a melting pot, in which humanitarian ideals unite us all. On our worst days, this is the America for which we continue to fight.

Two other key lines from “Yorktown” acknowledge just how much our complicated history lives with us still:

“Immigrants — we get the job done!”

Miranda is reflecting truths we well know. Not everyone in America is equal yet. Not all immigrants feel welcome — or are welcome. We will never be free until we eradicate the systemic legacies of slavery. That fight is not yet over.

But with “Hamilton,” Miranda reminds us that the good fight is always worth waging, no matter the cost. On this most unusual Fourth, it feels only right to celebrate his musical — and, by extension, the best of America.

Vietnamese rice donation sets sail for Cuba, Cubans will get rice soon

The 5,000 tons of rice donated by Vietnam to Cuba in mid-April was delivered this Wednesday to the Cuban ambassador to the Indochinese country, Granma daily reported.

The delivery took place at the port of Hai Phong, located in the north of Vietnam, as a preamble to its departure for the island.

The head of the island’s diplomatic mission in Hanoi, Lianys Torres, thanked the Vietnamese authorities for the donation, which she described as a “noble and solidary gesture” and a “sign of the special and historical ties between both countries.”

The donation had been received symbolically by Torres on April 17, after which she met with the prime minister of that Asian nation, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Xuan Phuc assured the Cuban diplomat that the State and the Communist Party of his country were with the island in the midst of the pandemic and confirmed the will of his government to contribute to “attenuate the rigors of the blockade and face the difficulties entailed by the presence of the new coronavirus.”

Cuba and Vietnam maintain strong political ties, and growing economic relations. The Indochinese country is the island’s second largest trading partner in Asia, after China, while both nations have or plan to have joint projects and investments in the food industry, renewable energy, science and technology, and the production of consumer goods and construction materials.

Rice is the most consumed cereal on the island and constitutes the base of the daily diet of Cubans, but its production in Cuba far from covers the consumption needs of the country, according to the projections of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI).

Of the 700,000 tons of rice the island needs in 2020 to cover the basic food basket and social consumption, it will only produce the “insufficient amount” of 162,000 tons, the official newspaper Granma affirmed this Tuesday.

Lázaro Díaz, director of the Rice Technology Department of the Agricultural Business Group of MINAGRI, told the publication that rice production has not been as affected by the drought in 2020 as other years, and attributed its decrease mainly to the “strengthening of the U.S. economic blockade.”

Against this background, the Vietnamese donation will be received with unquestionable approval on the island, as other previous donations have already been, as well as the technical aid that Vietnam is currently providing to Cuba to improve its insufficient rice production.

Russia rejects foreign interference in constitutional authoritarian referendum


Moscow, Jul 3 (Plenglish) Russia on Friday rejected any attempt of foreign interference, after its referendum on constitutional reforms and ratified its right to act with sovereignty, which in no way violates international law.

Referring to the popular consultation concluded on Wednesday, July 1, after seven days of voting, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that Moscow knew of ‘concerns’ abroad about its referendum, but in no way it is willing to take them into account.

Russia undoubtedly ensured, ensures and will ensure respect for international regulations, but, at the same time, it was and is faithful, firstly, to its own sovereignty, which in no way contradicts international law, the spokesperson said.

Ella Pamfilova, chairperson of the Central Election Commission, officially ratified this Friday the results of the referendum on constitutional reforms, in which 77.92% supported the amendments and 21.27% voted ‘no.’

The amendments to the Russian Constitutions of 1993, in addition to new prerogatives for both chambers of the Federal Assembly and the Constitutional Court, refer to protect workers, minimum wage, pensions’ payment, medical care and quality and affordable health.

The dozens of changes approved also stipulate the supremacy of the Constitution over decisions by international entities and give President Vladimir Putin the right to run for two more six-year terms in office. The 67-year old’s current term ends in 2024.


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