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 US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" (http://johnbrownnotesandessays.blogspot.com/2017/03/notes-and-references-for-discussion-e.html). Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."