Scientists have found that Fourth of July celebrations may affect kids' politics later in life, even turning them into Republicans! God. What, with eye-gouging sparklers and hand-disfiguring backyard fireworks, wasn't this holiday dangerous enough?
According to CBS's Political Hotsheet blog, researchers at Harvard found that participating in Fourth of July celebrations as a child raises a person's probability of voting Republican as an adult. A possible explanation, according to the study:
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.
Also, "Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans." So a kid's more likely to turn Republican if she partied on the Fourth with other Republicans, which makes a certain amount of sense. But it's not just spending time with right-wingers that makes the difference — the Fourth of July itself appears to have an effect. And the study authors' speculation rings true: especially post-9/11, the Republican Party has successfully branded itself as the party of patriotism. And so people who grew up loving red, white, and blue fireworks and marching bands playing the national anthem might naturally gravitate toward the party that's more steeped in that symbolism. Clearly, the solution is for Democrats to stage their own indoctrination ceremonies. This Fourth of July, I'm planning to lead a bunch of kids on a parade through an abortion clinic while dressed as Chairman Mao, then stage a mock death panel, and top it all off by grilling some tasty arugula. Sarah Palin, eat your heart out.