This gives me hope for our future, since the oldsters have, for the most part, shown themselves to be blind to their own imperfection.
Seventy-eight percent of the older generation consider their American identity to be extremely important. That drops to 70 percent for baby boomers (50 to 68 years), 60 percent of Generation X’ers (34 to 49 years), and only 45 percent of young adults define themselves this way. And while 94 percent of the Silent Generation say that seeing the U.S. flag flying makes them feel extremely or very good, only 67 percent of millennials muster the same affection.
Who can blame them? Their generation has been sacrificed to student loans, unnecessary wars, and an economy that benefits billionaires. Is it any shock that they're not standing tall and saluting a flag when their own government has more or less abandoned them?
I was taken aback by my own reaction to the patriotic displays yesterday, and in particular the song lyrics I've heard since I was a kid. It was hard to reconcile their lyrics with the images of insane haters in California turning busloads of kids back because 'Illegal'.
It was harder still to think about the Statue of Liberty inscription -- "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." -- in that same context.
I'm thinking that should change and sooner rather than later to something more appropriate, like "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Millennials aren't necessarily less patriotic. They're just more realistic about what this country is and isn't. They're less prone to jingoistic thinking, which is why I'm optimistic about the future.