Plastic patriotism only appeals to the lowest common denominator of American. It’s the kind of rah-rah posturing that the-less educated, less-intelligent, less-motivated, and wholly immature of our population seek when they’re unable to find any satisfaction in their personal lives.
Nearly half of millennials polled in a recent Harvard survey said they support the use of ground troops against the Islamic State after the Paris attacks, but 85% of those same people said they would not join the military, reported The Washington Post.
Customs and traditions are firmly ingrained in those who serve in the military. Symbols such as our nation’s flag and ceremonies that surround it evoke powerful emotions to service members and veterans. So when I read Will DuVal’s Task & Purpose article on millennials’ problem with patriotism, I completely agreed with his argument that the American flag is often misrepresentative on boardshorts and bikinis and that patriotism gets boiled down a cheap tagline of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” at a frat party. And it’s not just at frat parties. At sporting events, concerts, and political rallies, you can hear the chant over and over again. To some, it can appear cheap and hollow — a cop out to display patriotism without the required investment and sacrifice. But for many, this appears to be the only way to demonstrate such emotion. For millennials who may not have been old enough to serve immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, how do they spontaneously respond to the death of Osama bin Laden? Are millennials really doomed to show their love of country through half-hearted displays of patriotic fervor?