The Modern American Right have seized on a variety of July 4th narratives to show that they hold sway over the entire day and that anyone with even modest Left-leaning thoughts is decidedly anti-American.
The problem with this is that the Modern American Right see July 4th through the lens of "marketing" rather than a day of honest reflection on how America came to the point where she is today. And this should be readily apparent to anyone with the most minimal of socio-political reflection.
The most popular of these narratives is from a study done by Harvard that shows the marketing vs. pure patriotism standpoint of Modern American Right regarding July 4th parades is a reality. Too bad that those within the Right that are reporting on this completely missed the point that they have been called out on their "faux-patriotic" machinations and that flashy marketing tactics do work on the very impressionable.
The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans
The three key findings of those attending July 4th celebrations:
- When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent.
- It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.
- It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they'll make a political contribution by 3 percent.
What's more, the impact isn't fleeting. "Surprisingly, the estimates show that the impact on political preferences is permanent, with no evidence of the effects depreciating as individuals become older,"said the Harvard report.
And while these "key findings" are not guarantees for gains within the roles of the Modern American Right, the study is quite clear that these "likelihoods" increase in more Republican-leaning towns. Also, being from a VERY Republican country in Western Kentucky, the final statement that effects are "permanent" makes me want to take a look at the raw data of the study, as this was certainly not the case for myself and many of my close acquaintances that still live here.
Was is true regarding the minds of the younger generation is that they formulate their opinions of the world early on based on their parents actions/statements. Just going to a parade on the 4th of July at age 17 isn't going to turn you into a fan of Sarah Palin when you reach voting age. Neither is it going to make you "hate" your country if you happen to have a (D) next to your name on your voter registration card.
No one "owns" the 4th of July or patriotism. Just don't expect anyone within the Modern American Right to admit or even understand that concept. But considering the Harvard study and how the Right are embracing it as some "smoking gun" that if they take a look at their birth certificates, stock papers, or even a receipt from Wal-Mart that they will know exactly what percentage of the day or the ideal that they can call their property.