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Port: America is an idea that's bigger than what our laws are in a given moment

Democracy is hard. It will often produce results that are not to your liking, but it will never give you what you're looking for if you give up.

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MINOT, N.D. — I can't pinpoint when it began to happen — maybe it was when manipulating Americans into a constant state of incandescent rage became a viable business model for a media outlet — but it's become fashionable for people upset by the politics of the moment to give up on America.

We saw a lot of it over the July 4 holiday with everyone from Hollywood celebrities to your over-educated, under-employed nephew making it known on social media that they're opting out of celebrating America's independence.

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Their pique was piqued by the Supreme Court's conclusion that if we want the U.S. Constitution to contain a right to abortion we should actually go through the well-defined political process for amending that document.

Laws should be made by legislatures and not judges. What a concept.

But, back to the topic at hand, we should acknowledge that this trend isn't new. Celebrities threatening to move to Canada every time a Republican wins an election has become so common it's cliche . Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong at least picked a different country recently, saying he was going to move to Great Britain .

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These people rarely follow through because, for all its faults, there aren't many places in the world that are better than America.

But it's not just obnoxious celebrities who are feeling unpatriotic.

Gallup polling shows that feelings of patriotism are at record lows among Americans. The number of people who say they feel extremely/very proud to be American is down from 91% in 2004 to just 65% this year (though that's at least a couple of points up from 2020 when it was 63%).

Just 26% of Democrats say they're extremely proud to be American, and they have control of Congress and the White House at the moment.

Some of this is just plain ignorance. A recent survey found that a third of Generation-Z Americans think the Fourth of July celebrates our independence from Native Americans , and while that number is probably high, even if it was only 15%, would you feel any better?

But the bulk of this problem, this loss of faith in the American experiment, is rooted in something more pervasive. In the Atlantic , over the holiday weekend, Sen. Mitt Romney argued that ours is a country in denial, unable to come to grips with existential threats from our burgeoning national debt to declining trust in our political institutions, and it's hard to see where he's wrong.

But that's not a reason to give up on America.

There's no cause to give up on what our country is, and what it can be.

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Giving up is the worst thing you could do.

The beauty of the American system of government is that there's always another election looming. Another opportunity for voters to "throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security," as Mr. Jefferson put it .

Democracy is hard. It will often produce results that are not to your liking, but it will never give you what you're looking for if you give up.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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