A survey released Tuesday found that just a third of Americans are proud of the U.S. political system and social safety net.
According to the Gallup poll, released days ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, just 32 percent of Americans view the U.S. political system as a source of pride.
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Gallup did not ask respondents why they are not proud of the political system, but a survey by the Pew Research Center published last year found that 76 percent of the U.S. public believes the government is run by “a few big interests” rather than “for the benefit of all people.”
The Gallup survey also found that just 37 percent of the public is proud of the U.S. health and welfare system, which has left tens of millions of Americans uninsured and in poverty.
When Gallup asked a broader question—”how proud are you to be an American?”—just 45 percent of respondents said they are “extremely” proud, the lowest point since Gallup first began asking the question in 2001.
Though Gallup’s survey found that nearly 90 percent of Americans remain proud of the military even as they sour on the political system, journalist and editor Tom Engelhardt on Tuesday lamented how—nearly two decades after the attacks of September 11, 2001—the U.S. remains locked in perpetual war with soldiers spread far and wide across a global battlefield.
In a column titled “We’re Not the Good Guys,” Engelhardt recounts the U.S. wars and military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Pakistan, Niger, and “god knows where else,” and critiques the nation for always believing itself the victim and not the aggressor.
“We’re everywhere,” Engelhardt wrote, “remarkably well-funded and well-armed and ready to face off against the aggressors and provocateurs of this planet.”
“As we head into election season 2020,” added Engelhardt, “just don’t imagine that we’re the good guys on Planet Earth. As far as I can tell, there aren’t many good guys left.”