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Dear Gen Z, don't give up on America just yet

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Katie Heintz and Will Matheson write that where national tragedy has historically inspired heightened patriotism, it is now highlighting just how far apart many young Americans feel from the United States. In their Harvard Public Opinion Project poll, they found young Americans identify as far less patriotic than their counterparts did two decades ago.

(CNN)In the age of coronavirus, young Americans are increasingly fed up with their country.

Where national tragedy has historically inspired heightened patriotism, it is now highlighting just how far apart many young Americans feel from the United States.

Seeking an explanation for this dissonance and hoping to understand how young Americans felt about their place in our country, they created the Harvard Public Opinion Project, the longest-running poll of young American attitudes toward politics and public service.

During our last moment of collective national tragedy, the country seemed united in its belief in itself, with 92% of young Americans identifying as patriotic.

To be sure, national tragedy is not experienced uniquely by our generation, but this deep-rooted lack of trust in American institutions is particularly high among young Americans today, and it has likely been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

In short, young Americans are turning away from -- not toward -- their country and their government in a time of universally experienced struggle.

And just as American leaders need to give "Generation Pandemic" a reason to believe in this country, our generation has the responsibility to make America something in which we can believe.

But we believe that young Americans are no less ready and willing to help our country through this new crisis; they are no less up to the challenges of the present moment.

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