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Not so polarized after all

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Acting Secretary of the U.S. Army Patrick Murphy. (AP)

Despite the partisan polarization that characterizes both politics and media at the moment, the public seems surprisingly united when it comes to defining Americanism.  A new Voter Study Group survey associated with George Washington University, showed a full 93 percent agreeing that “respect for American institutions and laws” is important for being an American.

Meanwhile, 88 percent believe it’s important to “accept people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds” to claim authentic American identity. Only 20 percent think “European heritage” should be part of Americanism but a full 85 percent —even 75 percent of Democrats!—believe it is important to speak English and to embrace our common language.

All in all, the survey that interviewed 8,000 respondents showed a populace much less fractured, bigoted and resentful than often assumed. Nearly all of us understand that what makes us American isn’t where our ancestors came from, but the common ideals and shared culture that we uphold and advance.

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