Pattye Benson

Community Matters

On the Eve of our Nation’s 234th Birthday . . . Would the Founding Fathers Be Happy?

Tomorrow will mark our nation’s 234th birthday, . . . here’s an interesting question: Would our founding fathers be happy? To answer the question, Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted a national telephone poll for Fox News among 900 registered voters from June 29 to June 30. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Here’s the interesting results —

FOX News Poll: Would the Founding Fathers Be Happy?
By Ernie Paicopolos, Principal of Opinion Dynamic Corp.
Published July 02, 2010

It’s not easy to find something Americans can largely agree on these days, but as the Fourth of July holiday approaches a new poll finds at least a few things: 1) the nation’s Founders would be unhappy with the country today; 2) “God Bless America” is a favorite patriotic tune; and 3) the Pledge of Allegiance is a good way to start the school day.

Remarkably, just 15 percent of American voters think the Founders would be proud if they could see the country today. Almost four in five American voters — 78 percent — think the Founders wouldn’t be proud of the country they helped launched 234 years ago.

There is some variation along partisan lines, as 22 percent of Democrats believe the Founders would be proud of America in 2010, while only 8 percent of Republicans feel the same way.

Nonetheless, Americans like to sing their country’s praises when they can. Given a choice of four popular patriotic songs, the largest number of American voters (41 percent) picks “God Bless America” as their favorite.

Democrats and Republicans agree on the top choice (42 percent and 46 percent, respectively). Moreover, Democrats (28 percent) and Republicans (31 percent) also agree on their second choice — “The Star Spangled Banner.” The partisan divide re-emerges, however, on the third choice. Democrats opt for “America the Beautiful” (18 percent) while Republicans go with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (7 percent).

Independents also trend toward the top two song choices, but are more likely to say they like all the songs equally (12 percent). There is also a considerable amount of unanimity among voters of every political stripe on students starting the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Overall support for reciting the pledge stands at 87 percent, and Republicans (96 percent) and independents (83 percent) and Democrats (82 percent) all express high degrees of support.

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  1. Looking at America today, this is what the Founding Fathers would see:

    They would see an America that is still very much a “work in progress”, but trying to get it right. One that tries to hold on to timeless values, while trying to get better. A country still struggling to provide equal opportunity, not equal results, to its citizens and not there yet. Whose people and leaders still struggle with greed, envy, dishonesty, prejudice, incivility and every other human frailty.

    On the other hand, the very survival of this “grand experiment” of theirs, started in 1776, is a miracle beyond their imagination. A country where even in recent weeks, people passionately debate the words they wrote in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they make laws, appoint leaders and consider decisions. Where the transfer of power is still orderly, and the checks and balances and federal/state/local balance still basically work. A place of tremendous progress toward “all men are created equal” with an African-American in the White House, a women as Speaker of the House, and people of both genders and all races and religions with access to positions of power and opportunity for advancement.

    More broadly, they would see a country of great wealth and power, which has used much of that to improve the human condition here and around the world. A country that has used its military might not to conquer, but rather to protect its freedom, to seek liberty for others, and to help, for more than 200 years – a country that through hard work and ingenuity has improved the health, communication and standard of living of people everywhere. The most generous country is human history, whose wealthiest, along with its ordinary citizens, give their resources and their time to help others – whose best and brightest young people serve others at home and around the world through the U.S. military, the Peace Corps, Teach for America, the Clinton Foundation, etc. etc.

    Finally, they would see a country that still celebrates and tries to honor what they did and the words they wrote, 234 years later. I think the Founding Fathers would, and should, be happy and extremely proud. Happy 4th of July to all.

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