Saturday, July 2, 2011

Should American Liberals Celebrate on July 4?

Independence Day is one of the BIG days of the year at my house. We celebrate it in the same way (more or less) every year. Some years past had a block party with all of the neighbors pitching in. Some years have been more private until the march to the City Park to watch fireworks.

I don't think that everyone shares my enthusiasm for Fourth of July Celebrations. I have often wondered whether 'progressives' felt it was beneath them to wear a red-white-and-blue hat and shoot off fireworks. It seems that they'd rather eat apple-free pie, cook turkey hot dogs on a solar grill and substitute potato salad with raw arugula.

I read this posting on yahoo, and thought I'd share it in the spirit of the day, because I think that it answers my question.

Subject: [politicaltalk] Harvard: 4th of July Celebrations is For Right-Wingers

Harvard: July 4th Parades Are Right-Wing
By Paul Bedard  
June 30, 2011

Democratic political candidates can skip this weekend's July 4th parades. A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.

"Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party," said the report from Harvard.

"The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican Party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans," write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

They also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades, likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them.

"There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization," the two wrote.
The three key findings of those attending July 4th celebrations:
  • When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent.
  • It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.
  • It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they'll make a political contribution by 3 percent.
  • What's more, the impact isn't fleeting. "Surprisingly, the estimates show that the impact on political preferences is permanent, with no evidence of the effects depreciating as individuals become older,"said the Harvard report.
Finally, the report suggests that if people are looking for a super-patriotic July 4th, though should head to Republican towns. "Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place."

Then again, do Americans know why they are getting Monday off work?


Opus #6 said...

I'm sure the Californians knew the answers, it is just that it was such a hot and sunny day, many of them were suffering from heat stroke.

WoFat said...

Down with the Redcoats!

Race Bannon said...

I loved the 4th of July when I was a kid - FIREWORKS! When I moved from AZ to OH, fireworks were pretty much a regular summer night occurance...but on the 4th of July, all the neighborhood kids dressed up in red, white and blue, decorated their bikes and a firetruck led them in a parade around the neighborhood. Gotta love the Midwest!! year, the firetruck was working, and a SWAT SUV with lights and sirens led the parade...allegedly.

darlin said...

Happy 4th of July LL; the day of celebration which commemorates the
adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 where the United States declared independence from Great Britain. I watched the video! ;-)

LL said...

Darlin - Thank You.

Race - Small town 4th of July parades are the very best.

WoFat - Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.

Opus - Sadly there is a lot of heat stroke in California. Just take a look at the state legislature.

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