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GVSU forum explores patriotism in the early 21st century

Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies

Tonight’s forum is hosted by the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and its Common Ground Initiative

A 2023 Gallup poll revealed that 67% of U.S. adults identify as extremely patriotic, however, registered Democrats are half as likely as registered Republicans to consider themselves extremely patriotic.

“Usually when people say they’re a patriot, I find they’re usually attached to some ideal of American society that they either believed existed in the past or they would like to see brought about somehow in the future.”

Yale political science professor Steven B. Smith is author of the book, “Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes.” He says unfortunately that concept tends to not deal with modern-day America.

“I think being a patriot in part also means endorsing the country that we live in.”

He says there’s often a great deal of distrust of those who purport to be patriotic, thanks in part to the oversaturation of media on both sides of any issue.

“When this is repeated over and over again, 24/7, it creates an environment of the kind we now have.”

Smith says he hopes attendees of the forum take away the idea that patriotism is something learned, not something we’re born with.

“Patriotism is something you have to study. You have to learn how to be a patriot. Learn what it is. Learn what it is we stand for, to know our history, to know our values.”

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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