Chloe Hunt | Make America Patriotic Again.

Bring back the American flags, and the American civil religion.

Photo credit: Good Housekeeping

By Chloe Hunt

With the Fourth of July approaching, I can’t help feeling concerned about the state of our nation. With raging domestic division and rising political tensions, one would hope the American flag would be a symbol of unity and stability amidst feelings of chaos. Instead, we seem to be losing patriotism as a shared American value, at a time when we need it most. 

“If you have an American flag hanging outside your house, people know you’re voting Republican,” one of my girl friends said during a recent political conversation. I thought about this for a second. With such deep, plaguing partisan divisions, one would think that being in the most free nation on Earth would bring people together. Yet in the minds of many, being patriotic puts you on one end of the political spectrum. 

I couldn’t help wondering, is patriotism a Republican value? According to the data, yes. 

A June 2023 poll by U.S. News showed only 39% of U.S. citizens are “extremely proud” to be American. Breaking this down by party, 60% of Republicans reported to be extremely proud of their nationality while only 29% of Democrats did so. This follows trends of declining patriotism across both parties since 2007, with Democrats reporting, year by year, less patriotism than their Republican counterparts.

So, what is the solution to restoring confidence in the American experiment? And why is this cynicism particularly plaguing the Democratic party?

Ruy Teixeira wrote a really revealing piece for the American Enterprise Institute, expressing the cultural elitism plaguing the Democratic party. “It’s just not cool in these circles to be patriotic,” Teixeira said. He argued that Americans need “a robust revival of the American civil religion,” including, but not limited to, an appreciation for America’s founding documents, holidays, rituals, and stories. This take could not be more apt for our current moment. 

Being patriotic doesn’t mean negating America’s flaws. I can acknowledge, like most, that the United States has a wide array of problems that require systemic, lasting solutions. Patriotism should not ignore issues that our politicians need to address, including the alarmingly rapid rise of gun violence in the United States and rising healthcare costs that make medical bills unaffordable for many families, just to name a few. 

There is no denying that some on the far-right harbor bigoted, outdated views that do nothing but divide us under the guise of patriotism. For them American exceptionalism means cherishing the United States as it was, denouncing immigration in all its forms and celebrating a whitewashed American history. However, letting patriotism be defined by those who abuse it does a disservice to all the wonders of America we often overlook. 

I could write endless pages about all of my gratitude to our country, but I’ll keep it brief. 

I am so grateful for the freedoms in the United States that we get to experience everyday. When I read the news I am grateful to know that our journalists can do hard hitting, investigative work and feel safe, with our press “operating under some of the strongest constitutional protections in the world.” 

I’m grateful to be an American citizen traveling in foreign countries, knowing the power of a United States embassy in case of an emergency. 

I’m grateful that I can protest freely and passionately. You can scream that you hate America from the mountaintops and no one will come after you with arms and violence. This protection in and of itself requires acknowledging how special our country is.

I’m grateful for the American people and the kindness that we show one another. I love our spirit abroad and how, as soon as you hear someone speaking with a loud American accent, you can have a good, spirited conversation.

I’m grateful for our strong religious freedom and being able to have deep, inter-faith discourse freely. 

I’m grateful for our veterans. I’m grateful for the millions of Americans who risk their lives for our freedoms each and every day, allowing me to study in a country where freedom of thought and expression are protected in the classroom. 

I’m grateful for our high quality education and our open access to information in libraries and on the internet without restrictions.

I’m grateful for our freedom to assemble and all the strong, noble grassroots efforts that our citizens engage in everyday. 

I’m grateful for the inspiration of America itself and, even if it isn’t perfect, the American dream. I’m grateful for the hope our Nation gives to the world. 

I’m grateful that I can disagree with my government and elect officials through an honest, fair process. I’m grateful for our electoral system and our elected officials. I’m grateful we don’t have to worry about political candidates being gunned down before they can take office.

And, yeah, I’m grateful for cold, iced water in restaurants and (at times excessive) air conditioning. 

All of this small gratitude, this is America. 

The list of things to be grateful for as an American is truly endless. I know we’re not perfect, but that’s why everything we have to be grateful for in America is so beautiful. America has problems, of course, but I don’t think we can solve any of our country’s issues without acknowledging what we’re doing well and coming together as Americans. This Fourth of July, I urge you to think about patriotism in a new light. When you see fireworks this year flashing red, white, and blue, pause and think about where you can have gratitude versus jumping to tear this country down. 

Don’t let the American civil religion be polarized by politicians into something that is for Republicans and not for Democrats. Believing in America, hoping for America’s success, and being proud of where you’re from should be something we can all rally behind. Start by doing your part and flying the American flag, no matter what your party affiliation may be. 

Chloe Hunt is a rising senior in the College studying Creative Writing, Hispanic Studies, and Political Science from Roanoke, VA. Chloe is also the News Editor for The Pennsylvania Post. Her email is

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