Despite the din of partisan discord — much of it induced by the news media — Americans still say they’re patriotic on this Independence Day. Star-spangled sentiment lingers: 79 percent of the public would describe themselves as patriotic; 92 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats agree, along with 95 percent of those who voted for President Trump, and 78 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. So says a wide-ranging Economist/YouGov poll conducted during the last week of June.
The Republican Party has a little edge here. The poll found that while 46 percent of Americans overall say that both major political parties are “patriotic,” 33 percent cited the GOP and 21 percent the Democratic Party.
But what constitutes patriotism?
Sixty-nine percent of Americans overall said that someone could criticize Mr. Trump and still be considered patriotic; 61 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats agree with that. Another 68 percent also said that one could criticize former President Barack Obama and still be considered a patriot as well; 75 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats agree. The public is not so cordial toward people who burn the American flag or refuse to pay their taxes, however. Those acts are among those that garnered much less support as demonstrations of patriotism; just 21 percent would call a flag-burner patriotic. See the Poll du Jour at column’s end for more numbers.
FOURTH OF JULY: A $7.1 BILLION ECONOMIC BOOST
The star-spangled holiday is good for the economy. In all, Americans will drop $7.1 billion on Fourth of July food items alone. Among the particulars: $388 million on hamburger meat, $318 million on assorted chips, $133 million on buns, $83 million on watermelon, $52 million on sausage and bratwurst, $42 million on barbecue sauce, $37 million on ketchup, $36 million on corn on the cob and $25 million on mustard.
Americans will also spend $800 million on fireworks. Two-thirds say they own their own American flag; the public in general spends an annual $5.4 million to buy a household Old Glory.
There will be some harmony from sea to shining sea, at least for a little while: 219 million Americans plan to celebrate on Tuesday; two-thirds of them will either stage or attend a barbecue. Forty-three percent will watch fireworks; there are, in fact, some 16,000 formal firework displays planned around the nation. Needless to say, Tuesday also marks “America’s top beer-drinking holiday,” and revelers will spend about $1 billion doing just that.
The sources here are WalletHub.com, U.S. Census Bureau, National Retail Federation, National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, American Pyrotechnics Association and Nielsen market research.
A REAGAN MOMENT
“I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation. It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history. Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.”
President Ronald Reagan wrote this in a July Fourth essay for Parade Magazine in 1981.
“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should,” Reagan noted.
AN LBJ RECIPE
Walter Jetton was known as “the king of BBQ” in Texas throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, and was the favorite chef, caterer and pitmaster of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who hosted many a big barbecue at the 2,700-acre LBJ Ranch, some 50 miles west of Austin. Here is a recipe for the late chef’s famous barbecue sauce, verbatim from “The LBJ Cookbook,” published in 1965. Chef Jetton described this recipe as his “secret of the ages.”
Ingredients: 1 cup tomato ketchup, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 stalks of celery, chopped; 3 bay leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon paprika, dash of black pepper.
Combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. “Use this as a plate or table sauce with beef, chicken, pork or anything else,” the chef advised.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM’S REMINDER
“As Americans celebrate July 4 and remember those who fought and died for our freedom, we need to take time to pray for our soldiers. We should also pray for our national leaders. Regardless of whether we agree with our country’s policies, we have a biblical mandate to do this,” evangelist Franklin Graham notes in a new public outreach, reminding the faithful that the Apostle Paul recommended people pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness,” and that such prayers please God.
“As you pray, ask that your congressional representatives, judges, governors and all others in positions of authority will seek God’s wisdom and guidance,” says Mr. Graham, advising Americans to pray for the nation and its leaders on all levels — from the president on through to Cabinet members, lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, military and state leaders, mayors and local law enforcement. The guide is found here
POLL DU JOUR
• 48 percent overall say someone who refuses to serve in a war they oppose could still be considered patriotic; 29 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.
• 46 percent overall say someone who criticizes American leaders to “foreigners” could still be considered patriotic; 31 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.
• 43 percent overall say someone who disobeys a law on moral grounds could still be considered patriotic; 37 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats agree.
• 26 percent overall say someone who refuses to pay their taxes could still be considered patriotic; 5 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 21 percent overall say someone who burns the American flag could still be considered patriotic; 23 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 25-27.
Happy Fourth of July and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.
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