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Patriotic Holiday Displays Carry Risks, Says Study.

July 03, 2011 J

Traditional 4th of July fireworks displays are being cancelled like crazy this year, sometimes for fiscal reasons, sometimes because of the wildfire threat, sometimes, as in California, because environmental extremists have begun denouncing them as yet another threat to the planet. But could a day be coming when fireworks shows and 4th of July parades also get cancelled for ideological reasons, because they allegedly provide a political advantage to Republicans and conservatives?
Sounds strange, I know. But we’re living in strange times. And a new study by Harvard University seems to establish the justification for just such actions, by claiming that Americans who attend patriotic holiday displays are more likely to lean Republican (not that there’s anything wrong with that, right, Harvard?).

The story broke in Paul Bedard’s Washington Whispers column.

“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.

“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.”

Among the report’s key findings regarding those who attend July 4th events:
When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent.
It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.
It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they’ll make a political contribution by 3 percent.

It’s not hard to imagine how this might open the door to future parade and fireworks bans, based on the claim that these government-sanctioned, sometimes taxpayer-funded events are lending an advantage to one political party over another. Or perhaps local governments, in an attempt to mitigate these effects and bring more “balance” to these events, will require that any such celebrations be ideologically balanced, by including unpaid advertisements for the Democratic Party, for instance. You can bet this obvious waste of university research time won’t simply be laughed-off, as it should be, given the politically-correct times in which we live.
And it makes one wonder who paid for this ridiculous little research project, anyway. Let’s just hope it wasn’t taxpayer-funded, but that’s likely, given the volumes of silly science American universities crank-out annually, all on the taxpayers’ dime.

So please celebrate cautiously this holiday weekend, everyone. Uncontrolled exposure to more than your federally-recommended daily dose of patriotism could turn you or your innocent child into a . . . well . . . into a raving right-wing Republican. If you feel sudden urges to vote the straight Republican ticket after attending such an event, or begin subscribing to conservative opinion journals, or start reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page religiously, please seek immediate medical treatment and avoid close contact with others, which could spread the contagion. This condition is treatable, with prompt care from a federally-licensed deprogrammer. But delay in seeking help could prompt a rash of rational voting at the ballot box, posing a serious threat to the president and other liberal Democrats in in 2012.

There is no cure for Republicanitis, but many of its most dangerous symptoms can be mitigated with immediate treatment and by avoiding overexposure to parades, band shell concerts, picnics and other patriotic displays this 4th of July weekend.

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