BY MADELINE BURDINE
I was recently reached out to by Jim Thorn of WYAB Jackson to join him on air and tackle the topic of millennials and patriotism following a recent study from Fox news claiming Millennials care less about patriotism than previous generations.
I won't hesitate to tell you that I was reluctant (aka afraid) to take this on. I try to stay away from political statements and labels and blah blah blah. I feel like far less than an expert in the world of politics, and I'm terrified of saying anything aloud that I'd later be disappointed I stood for. I think that's why I enjoy writing. I can type and retype and retype all day, but the conversational design of radio doesn't give you the option to take back words that could be misunderstood.
Anyways, I agreed, and I'll attach the full interview at the bottom if you're interested in listening to me talk for a few minutes.
So, are millennials opposed to patriotism as the study claims?
Here is what I think.
First, I think we need to take a look into the very source that allows the world to learn of a study such as millennials moving away from patriotism. The internet.
No other generation has had access to the worldwide web as millennials have. What makes this fact so important to take into account is that no other generation has been able to voice its ideas, activities, or concerns on a news feed for the world. No other generation has had the opportunity to read its President's tweets or the access to every breaking news story across the country. At no other point in time has a generation been so easily evaluated as technology allows today.
The internet has changed culture as we know it.
Next, I think we first need to take a look into patriotism.
According to Merriam-Webster, patriotism is love for or devotion to one's country.
We probably all agree on that definition, but here is where the water starts getting muddy: what exactly does it look like to have love or devotion to one's country?
For the generation just ahead of millennials, the horrendous acts of 9/11 serve as a pillar in forming political views or ideas. Terrorism became tan-faced enemies flying planes into one of our most highly populated cities.
For millennials and those falling behind, terrorism feels more like our own people marching into a church, concert, or shopping center and killing whoever stands in the way of the bullet.
This is the reality of today's generation.
This reality must be considered when making claims against an entire generation.
As flying a flag in the front yard was once the epitome of patriotism in America, being a voice for the voiceless and feet for the future is the direction that the "American Dream" is headed.
Perhaps the idea of patriotism has simply shifted rather than disappeared.
Perhaps patriotism is a pursuit that is still pursued, just through a different lens.
Perhaps patriotism is still alive and, in my opinion, thriving.
Perhaps millennials do, in fact, care about patriotism.
Perhaps patriotism must be viewed through perspective.
Click here for WYAB 103.9 interview.
Madeline Burdine is a Communications major with PR concentration at Mississippi State University. As Founder & Editor of Mississippi Millennials, her passion is to push people to higher heights within themselves, thinking more and doing more. Madeline enjoys running, reading, and learning.