The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the changing values of Americans. The article includes the chart below:
According to statistica.com (2017 data), there are 97 million Americans born between 1928 and 1964 currently in America. There are 65.45 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980 currently in America. There are 72.06 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996. I realize that these dates do not exactly correspond to the graph above, but they give you a general idea of the age of the American population. Thank God the old people still have the young whippersnappers outnumbered. Evidently we are the generation with the strongest traditional values.
This shift in values did not happen in a vacuum. In 1962, prayer was taken out of American schools. Students no longer started the day with some sort of simple prayer. I remember in Junior High School (now Middle School) we began every day with an assembly where we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and sang The Lord’s Prayer. I don’t remember being significantly harmed by that. By high school, the prayer and the Pledge were gone.
The article at The Wall Street Journal goes on to describe different feelings about racism.
The article reports:
The survey also found partisan divides on views of race relations. When surveyed six years ago, about half of Republicans and a slightly larger share of Democrats said relations among the races were on a good footing. Today, half of Republicans say race relations are good, while only 21% of Democrats say so.
Overall, the latest poll found 60% of adults saying race relations are in a bad state, a smaller share than in mid-2016, before Mr. Trump took office, when 74% said relations were poor. At the time, two incidents of police shootings of African-American men had been in the news.
In the new survey, only 19 percent of African-Americans said race relations were fairly or very good, the lowest level in Journal/NBC News polling over more than two decades.
While views on race relations improved overall, the change didn’t come through when Americans were asked about Mr. Trump’s time in office, the poll found.
Fifty-six percent of adults said race relations had gotten worse since Mr. Trump became president, while 10% said they had improved.
The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 adults from Aug. 10-14. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
I blame the news media for that one. We had more racial unrest under President Obama than we have seen under President Trump.
The article also includes an interesting comment on patriotism:
Megan Clark, a 31-year-old from Austin, Texas, said her experience as a child living overseas due to her father’s military career influenced her views on patriotism.
“Patriotism for the sake of patriotism means nothing to me,’’ she said. “If you believe in the values that your country is expressing and following and you want to support those, then, sure. But just as a blind association with wherever you happen to be from, that just doesn’t seem logical.”
Generational differences on personal values were most pronounced among Democrats. In fact, the views of Democrats over age 50 were more in line with those of younger Republicans than with younger members of their own party.
Part of the responsibility for the decline in patriotism goes to our schools. It is disconcerting to me that the Advanced Placement U.S. History books focus on the negative aspects of American history–slavery, mistreatment of Indians, etc. They don’t focus on how unique the concept of God-given rights and freedom were at the time of the American Revolution. Part of the responsibility for the decline of patriotism also falls on parents. It is up to us to teach our children to love our country. Our freedom is always only one generation away. Hopefully we are not currently watching that generation grow up.