top of page

The Shifting Landscape of Patriotism in the United States

The Order of Elks make a solemn promise that we will fiercly guard our Veterans and The Amercian Flag they fought for as Members.  It's a form of Patriotism.

Patriotism, a complex and multifaceted concept, has long been a defining characteristic of the American identity. It encompasses pride in one's nation, devotion to its ideals, and a willingness to contribute to its well-being. However, the current state of patriotism in the United States presents a complex and evolving picture, marked by both enduring expressions and notable shifts.

Declining Levels of National Pride:

Recent surveys paint a concerning picture of declining national pride amongst Americans. Gallup's 2022 poll revealed that only 38% of adults expressed "extreme" pride in America, the lowest recorded level since the organization began asking the question in 2001. This decline cuts across age groups and political affiliations, with younger generations and independents exhibiting significantly lower levels of national pride compared to older generations and partisans.

Several factors contribute to this trend, including:

  • Political polarization: The deep divisions within American society, fueled by political issues and ideological differences, have eroded a sense of shared national identity and common purpose.

  • Social and economic inequalities: Growing economic disparities, racial injustices, and societal issues like gun violence have led many Americans to question the nation's commitment to its founding ideals, fostering a sense of disillusionment and cynicism.

  • Global challenges: The rise of global powers, economic competition, and the threat of terrorism have contributed to a more complex and uncertain global landscape, leading some Americans to question the nation's exceptionalism and leadership role in the world.

Evolving Expressions of Patriotism:

Despite the decline in national pride, patriotism continues to manifest in diverse and evolving ways across American society. These expressions often go beyond traditional displays of national symbols and include:

  • Civic engagement: Many Americans are actively involved in their communities, volunteering their time and resources to address social issues and contribute to local improvement.

  • Support for veterans and the military: Americans hold a strong respect for veterans and the military, demonstrating gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation: American ingenuity and the pursuit of opportunity continue to be core aspects of the national identity, driving economic growth and technological advancements.

  • Cultural diversity: The vibrant tapestry of cultures and ethnicities within the United States represents a unique and evolving expression of American identity.

  • Focus on shared ideals: While acknowledging the nation's shortcomings, many Americans remain dedicated to the ideals of liberty, equality, and justice, striving to make the country a better place for all.

Generational Differences:

A significant generational gap exists in attitudes towards patriotism. Older generations, particularly those who experienced historical events like World War II and the Cold War, tend to exhibit higher levels of national pride and traditional expressions of patriotism. Younger generations, however, are more likely to voice criticisms of the nation's social and economic inequalities, and their patriotism often manifests in activism and social justice advocacy.

The Impact of Technology:

The digital age has profoundly impacted the expression and perception of patriotism. Social media platforms provide avenues for both positive and negative expressions of national identity, fostering echo chambers and amplifying extreme viewpoints. Additionally, the rise of global interconnectedness and exposure to the challenges and perspectives of other countries can lead to a more nuanced and critical view of American exceptionalism.

The Future of Patriotism:

The future of patriotism in the United States remains uncertain. While traditional expressions may continue to decline, new forms of patriotism that emphasize inclusivity, social justice, and a critical engagement with the nation's history and challenges are likely to emerge. Addressing social and economic inequalities, fostering a more inclusive national narrative, and promoting active civic engagement will be crucial in strengthening patriotism and creating a more united American society.


  • Promoting civic education and engagement: Encouraging active participation in democratic processes, community service, and local government can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility for the nation's well-being.

  • Addressing social and economic disparities: By tackling issues like poverty, racial injustice, and healthcare access, the United States can create a more equitable society where all citizens feel a sense of inclusion and belonging.

  • Encouraging open dialogue and critical reflection: Fostering respectful conversations about the nation's history, achievements, and shortcomings can lead to a more informed and nuanced understanding of patriotism.

  • Celebrating diversity and inclusivity: Recognizing and appreciating the contributions of all Americans, regardless of their background, is essential for building a stronger and more united nation.

  • Investing in education and innovation: Cultivating critical thinking skills, promoting scientific literacy, and fostering entrepreneurship can help the United States maintain its global leadership in the face of emerging challenges.

By acknowledging the changing landscape of patriotism and taking proactive measures to address the factors contributing to its decline, the United States can ensure that this core value continues to be a driving force for national unity, progress, and well-being.

Elks will forever be Patriotic.  If you feel the same way, we'd love to have you talk with us about becoming a Member of our Elk Family.  Please visit and fill out the small form.  We will get back in touch with you shortly!

bottom of page