In our exclusive interview on WIOD on July 26th, 2023, political strategist Raven Harrison joined us to discuss the declining numbers of American patriotism as "we decide" our future amidst declining numbers. The importance of messaging among young adults and the role of public discourse in today's society cannot be understated.
WIOD July 26th, 2023 with Raven Harrison
Raven Harrison, a political strategist and daughter of retired Air Force military parents, provided an insightful analysis on the decreasing levels of American patriotism. She attributed this decline to various factors such as racial divide, increasing division in the country, and a generational gap between the younger generation and those who are 55 years and older. The lack of acceptance and sharing of ideas has also contributed to the growing polarization in society.
- Andrew Colton: So, American patriotism has faced a steep decline among young adults over the past decade and it now sits at a record low. With us this morning is political strategist Raven Harrison, who will provide her analysis on this issue. Good morning, Raven. How are you?
- Raven Harrison: Good morning, Andrew. I'm doing great. Glad you are here.
- Andrew: So, talk to us about the declining numbers of American patriotism and what might be to blame.
- Raven: Well, we're seeing this in polls a lot, and I have an interesting perspective on this as both my parents are retired Air Force military. So, patriotism was a big thing that I grew up seeing. I think what you're seeing now coincides with how our generational times have evolved over this. We're seeing a lot more racial divide right now, a lot more division in general among the country. Recruitment numbers are down, and there seems to be a line drawn in the sand between the younger generation and those who are 55 and up, in terms of those who are really proud of America and those who have issues with America.
- Andrew: Are people just getting frustrated, Raven, regardless of anybody's political party, with what the other party is doing, that you no longer can have respectful discourse of neighbors being on different sides of the aisle but still getting along for a barbecue on a Sunday afternoon? Is that what's leading to it or is there something else?
- Raven: I think that has a lot to do with it, Andrew. There used to be a time when we could agree to disagree. There were times when we would definitely shout at one side as hard as we could against the other side as hard as we could, and then we would shake hands and literally have a beer. And now we can't. Now we have to argue over what kind of beer. And that's exactly it. People have not accepted the sharing of ideas.
- We've now come down to either one side has to be fully right, or there's no discussion to be had. There seems to be no middle ground anymore.
- Andrew: How do you get past that? Can we get past that? Is that doable, or do you think we're kind of stuck and everybody's waiting for something to come down? Is this just the new normal? I mean, it's not a bad analogy. Is this just the new normal? Do we all need to get used to it, or will something happen? Do we need a centrist candidate to actually win and kind of calm everything down? I think some people thought Joe Biden was going to be that way. I'm not sure it's worked out that way.
- Raven: No, it's not. And I think that's a good point. I mean, I think we can get back, but I think it starts when we decide. And I think the important thing that you put in there, which is really, really something that people should pay attention to, is this is not the candidate. We're putting so many of our ideals and putting our voices onto the candidate for them to speak for us, and we the people have lost our voice. It starts when we decide. We decide what we will tolerate from this government.
- We decide what we will tolerate from the candidates and what sort of speech and rhetoric we will support or won't support. And that's what I think we have to do, is start taking the voice back and saying, you know what, we're not going to be part of this division. And it can happen. And it has happened in the past. We just have to get there again and just realize that that's what "we the people" means. It means not the candidate, but we.
- Andrew: Raven, you've made no secret in the past that you're a very big Trump supporter. I suppose nothing has changed. But also, in your roles as a political observer and political analyst, talk for a minute, if you will, about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It just seems to be one misstep after another. There seems to be a great debate. Can he recover? Can he turn this campaign around and even be a formidable challenger against Donald Trump? Do you see that happening, or has that time come and gone, and now somebody else is going to move up into kind of the pole position?
- Raven: I would say yes and yes. And the reason being is I was looking at this very analytically since he came in, and it has been a series of missteps. And I believe the biggest misstep was when he compared himself to Trump and then attacked Trump. That's not a good messaging strategy, regardless. People need a message that's going to resonate. So, I do think his campaign has stalled despite his best efforts, and I don't believe that it's practical or realistic for him to get the nomination.
- I do believe it is possible, because he's very popular in Florida and a lot of other places, for him to become the heir apparent for the next wave of what's to happen, or to position himself to support President Trump in some way. But I just believe that it was a series of missteps, and I do not believe it's recoverable at this point.
- Andrew: We will certainly watch. Raven, always great speaking with you. We appreciate the insight, and we'll talk to you again soon. That is political strategist Raven Harrison, joining us live this morning.
We Decide Wrap-up
Harrison emphasized the need for individuals to reclaim their voices and take an active part in shaping the future. Highlighting that "we the people" means more than just relying on political candidates to speak for us, she stressed the importance of setting our own standards and tolerances for the government and political discourse.
In a time when respectful discourse seems increasingly rare, Harrison's call-to-action resonates. It is crucial for individuals to find common ground and bridge the gap between differing viewpoints, focusing on understanding and constructive dialogue rather than drawing lines in the sand.
As we reflect on the interview, it becomes evident that we hold the power to shape our nation's direction. By embracing the principles of civil discourse and engagement, we can work towards a more united and patriotic America.
Let us remember, we decide the kind of country we want to be. It is up to us to foster a society that values inclusivity, acceptance, and robust discussions. Together, we have the power to bring positive change and restore the sense of American patriotism we hold dear.
It's time to engage, listen, and seek common ground. Let's revitalize American patriotism by actively participating in conversations that promote understanding and bridge the gap between opposing views. Remember, we decide the future of our nation.