WASHINGTON, DC—A Gallup/Harris Interactive poll released Monday indicates that nearly nine out of 10 Americans are “tired of having a country.”
Chicago commuters, 87 percent of whom just don’t care anymore.
Among the 86 percent of poll respondents who were in favor of discontinuing the nation, the most frequently cited reasons were a lack of significant results from the current democratic process (36 percent), dissatisfaction with customer service (28 percent), and exhaustion (22 percent).
“I don’t want to get bogged down in the country anymore,” Wilmington, DE accountant Karie Ashworth said. “I’m not up in arms or anything, I’m just saying it’d be a lot easier for everyone if we just gave it up.”
Of those who were against maintaining an American nation, 77 percent said they believe that having a country is “counter to the best interests of Americans.” Twelve percent said “the time and effort citizens spend on the country could be better spent elsewhere,” and 8 percent said they just didn’t care.
Roughly 3 percent said we ceased to have a country years ago, and explained that they had been stockpiling weapons to protect their independent compounds.
According to study organizer David Griffith, poll respondents were surprisingly uniform in their opinion that the nation is too much of a hassle.
“I already belong to a health club, a church, and the Kiwanis Club,” Tammy Golden of Los Angeles wrote. “I’m a member of the Von’s Grocery Super Savers, which gets me a discount on certain groceries. These are all well-managed organizations with real benefits. None of them send me a confusing bill once a year and make me work it out myself, then throw me in jail if I get it wrong.”
Olympia, WA student Helen Berg expressed frustration with the country’s voting process.
“I was gonna vote, but it rained,” Berg wrote. “It wasn’t for the president anyway, so what difference does it make? The president is the only one that matters, and you don’t even get to vote for him.”
Most citizens said they did not wish to abandon such American traditions as parades, fireworks, and national holidays.
“I’m for saluting flags and pledging allegiance to them, but nothing beyond that,” Tampa, FL mechanic and former Marine Doug Pauls said. “I like singing the anthem before the game, but I can’t keep up with the news every day. I have three kids.”
Pauls added: “I love America, but what’s that got to do with having a country?”
Some critics, including the leadership of both parties, have attacked the methodology of the poll, saying that questions like “Do you want a country anymore?” are poorly worded. Casey Mark, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, characterized the question as leading.
Said Mark: “What you must consider is that respondents often don’t have the time or energy to devote to answering five questions about their country, which they consider themselves to be remotely involved with, at best.”
Griffith pointed to Cheyenne, WY banker Jeff Wheldon’s response.
“I think we’ve come far enough as a nation that we don’t need to have one anymore,” Wheldon wrote. “It’s not like we’re Somalia, where the warlords run everything, or Russia, where it’s all organized crime. We’ve had over 200 years of being Americans. I don’t think we still need the United States of America to show us how to do it."
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. After leaving the State Department in order to express opposition to the planned invasion of Iraq, he taught courses at Georgetown University pertaining to the tension between propaganda and public diplomacy. For many years he shared ideas on the theme "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" with Eurasian/European delegates participating in the "Open World" program.
Brown’s articles have appeared in numerous publications. A recent piece is “Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War” (published in Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future; now online).
He is the author (with S. Grant) of The Russian Empire and the USSR: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States (also online). In the past century, he served as an editor/translator of a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815.