As the 4th of July approaches, many Americans may find it a bit harder this year to get into the spirit of celebrating our nation's birthday (anniversary?). While states around the country have begun easing stay-at-home orders put into place amid the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of major events, fireworks shows and celebrations have been cancelled in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
While some states may proceed with their celebrations, others will see the majority of their citizens staying home to celebrate this year, possibly putting a damper on their patriotism this year. According to a new survey from WalletHub, California ranks as one of the least patriotic states in the nation in 2020. While being a patriot can mean different things to different people, it's worth asking why Californians aren't that enthused about America this year.
To find out, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism, including: the number of people who enlist in the military, the number of veterans per capita, as well as the number of adults who voted in the last presidential election and the number of volunteers per capita.
California ranked at #48 on the list of patriotic states because WalletHub found that Californians don't volunteer their time as much as people do in other states. The Golden State ranked at #46 in number of volunteers per capita, and we #48 in the number of veterans who live in the state. That's a particularly interesting finding given the number of military bases scattered around the state.
New Jersey was ranked dead last in WalletHub's survey of patriotic states with New York right behind at #49. Texas and West Virginia were #47 and #46 respectively.
Interestingly, WalletHub's research found that the smaller the state, the more patriotic it was ranked. Red states were also more likely to be patriotic than their Blue state counterparts. According to the survey, the most patriotic states this year included:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
The top ten all saw a high number of volunteers for the Armed Forces as well as strong civic engagement from the people who live there.
What's interesting is how the definition of a patriot can vary widely from experts every day people. For example, Dr. Ralph Young, a professor of history at the College of Liberal Arts, Temple University defines a good patriot as someone "who believes in the principles laid down in our founding documents (Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights)."
Others say a patriot is defined by their loyalty to a nation or that being a patriot means staying true to American principles of liberty and equality and being willing to sacrifice for the good of the community. Some say standing up to injustices and flaws in your country can also be the most patriotic thing you can do as a citizen of the United States.
While 2020's 4th of July is likely to have a damper put on it thanks to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, it's worth celebrating the freedom we all enjoy, and occasionally take for granted.
Photos: Getty Images, WalletHub