America’s Vanishing Civic Duty

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According to a new poll from the Associated Press, Americans don’t feel the sense of civic duty they did in previous generations. When compared with a similar poll done thirty years ago, today’s citizens don’t feel as compelled to keep up with the news, serve on a jury, or even report crime in their communities.

The poll asked respondents about six activities related to civic awareness: volunteering, jury duty, knowing English, reporting crime, voting, and keeping up to date with the news. While the importance of voting and volunteering has remained the same, numbers are down in the other areas. And even though three quarters of Americans said that voting was a central part of citizenship, the 36 percent of eligible voter turnout in November undercuts the assessment.

Still, say the pollsters, it’s not quite time to panic. Though numbers have dropped, the vast majority of respondents still feel most of the proposed civic duties are important. 90 percent said that reporting crime, voting, knowing English, and serving on a jury were at least “somewhat important” civic responsibilities.

What Does It Mean?

To me, the most disturbing aspect of the poll was that only 37 percent of respondents thought it was important to keep up with the news. Young people have always placed more importance on what’s going on immediately around them than what’s happening around the country, but the slide here is across the board. A full fifth of Americans say they feel no obligation whatsoever to stay informed. If you’ve ever wondered why this country is sliding headlong into troubled territory, that answer alone could explain it. You can’t vote wisely if you have no idea what’s going on.

Is It Any Wonder?

In reality, the poll’s results should come as no surprise. For at least a decade, the entire concept of being a “patriotic American” has been mocked mercilessly by the left. Stephen Colbert made a name for himself by spending nine years making fun of anyone who might still take pride in their country. Our public schools teach children that America is riddled with a dark, disturbing history that is to be shamed, not celebrated. You can’t even mention Christopher Columbus anymore without soon happening upon the word “genocide.”

It’s been a long time since John F. Kennedy implored Americans to ask what they could do for their country. Today’s liberals want only to tell America what government can do for them. And when the entire notion of patriotism has been twisted into something to be – at best – laughed at (and at worst considered something akin to racism), you can hardly expect Americans to care about pitching in.

Our community spirit has dwindled under the religion of multiculturalism. We’ve bought into the lie that says “America has no homegrown culture.” And it’s led us to become a people with no unified beliefs, no shared history, and no civic responsibility. If this is the progress train, I’m ready to get off.