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How to Become Republican

Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

Response Essay Sample

Responding to an article is a common writing assignment in College English. I wrote this article as a sample of how students can write an interesting response to something they have read. In writing a Response essay, you need to summarize the original article, but you also need to explain what that article taught you and how you agree or disagree with it. Read the following to see how to make an article flow smoothly and how to integrate the summary with the response.

Harvard Study Says Watching 4th of July Celebrations Makes People Vote Republican

An interesting Harvard study concluded that kids who attend 4th of July celebrations grow up to vote Republican. My husband alerted me to this study when he read about it in an L.A.Times article. I thought it was a joke. It isn't. In fact, the data is pretty impressive and more conclusive than the researchers, Andreas Madestam and David Yanagizawa-Drott predicted. Apparently waving flags, hearing speeches, eating barbecue, and watching fireworks really does make people think differently about what it means to be an American.

Our family decked out for the 4th of July bike parade in our home town.

Our family decked out for the 4th of July bike parade in our home town.

Reader Response Means: What Do You Think?

I first read an L.A. Times Article about the study but was so interested, that I also pulled up the link to the original Harvard Study. Most college English classes include a Reading Response essay topic. Often students aren't quite sure what that means. Basically, a reader response is telling what that article made you think about.

We really do this sort of thinking, talking, and writing all the time. Ever told your family about something you heard on the news? Told them what you thought about it? That is just what you do in a Reader Response. You explain what the article was about by summarizing the main points. Then you explain your reaction. Often you compare what you read in the article with what you know about from your own life experiences, other things you've read, or news events. The following is a sample reader response essay that I wrote after reading about a Harvard Study.

Do National Celebrations Stir Patriotism?

America is not the only country to have patriotic celebrations. For example, the Chinese celebrate May 1 as the beginning of communism in their country, the French have Bastille Day on July 14, and Mexico has Cinco de Mayo. However, do these sorts of celebrations really make a difference?

Do the hearts and minds of people really become stirred with nationalism and patriotism when they see their flag and march in parades? Does that change their attitudes and behavior towards their government and country? That was the question these researchers wanted to answer.

Can Watching 4th of July Celebrations Change Your Vote?

Researchers Madestam and Yanagizawa-Drott decided to see if they could determine whether the 4th of July celebrations in the United States had an impact on voting records. What these researchers did is clever. They decided that the only way to conclude whether participation in 4th of July events by children had an effect on their adult political participation was to find a way to determine how many of these events children attended.

How Bad Weather Helped Researchers

Because attendance would be difficult to calculate, they looked at weather records to determine which years 4th of July events had to be canceled because of rain. Looking at an impressive array of data for people born from 1920 to 1990, they checked to see how many possible 4th of July celebrations these people could have attended from ages 3 to 18. Next, the researchers compared possible attendance at 4th of July events to voting records of adults.

Can Rain Affect Party Choice?

Astoundingly, they found that just one 4th of July without rain makes a person 2% more likely to identify as a Republican, 4% more likely to vote Republican, 3% more likely to make campaign contributions, and almost 1% more likely to vote.

Does giving my adopted Chinese daughter an American flag to wave on the 4th change her future vote?

Does giving my adopted Chinese daughter an American flag to wave on the 4th change her future vote?

How About Parents?

As a researcher myself, I wondered if the study fully takes into account the fact that parent attitudes are probably the most influential factor in influencing the political attitudes of children. In fact, the researchers do point out that more Republicans than Democrats attend 4th of July celebrations and that Republicans view the holiday as more important than Democrats.

Actually, the interpretations of the data do take this parental bias into account. They suggest that in Republican counties, the 4th of July celebrations tend to be more political. Interestingly, they also suggest that people with children are more inclined to attend 4th of July celebrations, perhaps because of an innate sense of their parental responsibility in making their children into good citizens. In his article on July 3 for the L.A. Times, Andrew Malcolm suggests that parents would perhaps be shocked to know they are also indoctrinating their children into a particular political party paradigm.

Are Republicans More Patriotic?

Neither the original study nor Malcom's article attacks the elephant in the room, "Why would patriotism be more Republican than Democrat?" I grew up in a "blue" state with one parent who voted Republican and another who voted Democrat. Electric cars, nuclear energy and saving the forests are issues dear to my heart. So is helping the poor in America and abroad. I've adopted two children from China and seen first hand the problems of overpopulation, but I also want to stop abortions in this country and open people up to the possibility of adoption. I'm liberal economically but conservative socially.

What Does it Mean to be a Good American?

I usually vote Republican, but I think Barack Obama is a good man who really wanted to do the right thing. I liked President Bush because he did not take himself too seriously and I think he also wanted to do the right thing. However, I'm not sure either of them has made the best decisions on the economy, the wars, or our national deficit. Choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? That is another can of worms altogether.

I had to think back. Did I attend 4th of July celebrations as a kid? Mostly, I didn't. We did have fireworks, but because of the fire hazard in the California county where I grew up, we spent most of the celebration wondering how many fire trucks would be required to put out the fires.

4th of July Parade is Real Americana

However, when I was 17, my family was vacationing in Deer Isle Maine on the 4th of July. We were delighted to watch a "real" 4th of July parade there, complete with an antique fire truck, decorated bikes and babies with flags. It seemed a magical moment with a kind of simple national pride I didn't remember experiencing when I grew up. My family talked about that fifteen-minute parade for years afterwards as one of the highlights of that vacation.

Celebrating 4th of July With Russians and Palestinians

When I got married, we moved to Florida and celebrated our first 4th of July with people in my husband's lab, most of whom were scientists from other countries. It was July 4, 1994, so it wasn't too long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The Russian scientist and his family that came to our 4th of July were some of the first Russians I had ever met. Because we'd never had the opportunity to have sparklers in California, we bought some, which seemed like wonderful forbidden fun. Our favorite moment that day was watching the children of our Russian and Palestinian friends wave sparklers around saying, "I love America!"

Knowing the long journey that their parents had made to bring their families to this country and the gratefulness they had for the opportunity to live and study in this "land of the free," we knew that while they didn't say it, the parents felt exactly the same way. Now I can't celebrate the 4th of July without remembering the feeling of that moment when I was grateful to grow up in a country other people just dreamed of having the chance to visit.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

A year later, we moved to Texas, which has offered a whole new experience in patriotism. Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the 4th of July. In fact, the first year we were here, we attended the church of a neighbor on the 4th and were shocked by the music minister wearing a flag shirt and leading the congregation in a number of patriotic tunes. No one in any California church we'd attended had ever sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" in church! We concluded this Texas church wasn't very God-centered That is, until the next patriotic holiday, when we experienced the honoring of veterans and singing of even more patriotic songs at another church.

We finally realized that everyone in Texas takes "God and Country" seriously, and literally. They pray, "God bless America" and mean it. They want God to bless America and not just with material prosperity. They want God to bless America and its leaders with the wisdom we need to do right in the world, especially when doing right is hard to figure out.

Embracing Symbols of Patriotism

After a while of living in Texas, we'd accepted the patriotism but not really embraced it. Then, after 9/11, we did. We bought a flag and took our kids to our local bicycle 4th of July parade. We bought fireworks and went to barbecues. When I see the streets lined with flags on the 4th of July and flag day (which I didn't even know existed before I moved to Texas), I sometimes find myself tearing up. Because people have died so that I can live a good life, an easy life, a life that makes me want to give freedom to others too. I remember that America is a special place and we can't be complacent about the freedom we enjoy.

Should We Ban 4th of July Parades?

The authors of the study point out that John Adams specifically encouraged patriotic celebrations so that the thirteen very independent colonies would come together into one United States. Was he wrong? Do displays of patriotism stir up antagonism instead?

Honestly, I don't know what to think about this study which links celebrating a holiday and patriotic displays with politics. Will someone try to use this data to ban 4th of July parades? Or will Republicans use this information to bash Democrats for being non-patriotic? Can my kid's school still have a patriotic sing-along? Will we ban "The Star Spangled Banner" at baseball games? I guess I better fly my flag while I still can.


bradmasteroccal on March 26, 2019:


I have to comment on the writing assignment. How to become a republican is the wrong question. It would also be wrong to say how to become a democrat. Both of these choices are wrong.

The better question would be to ask, How to be an Intelligent American Voter. In my opinion, it is not intelligent to vote row A or row B. Voting for the candidate regardless of the party is intelligent.

bradmasteroccal on March 26, 2019:

I am sure that you can get thousands of different responses.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 26, 2019:

Dear Brad--Remember that I am responding to a study and not proposing this as my own idea. However, I'm thankful for your clear and detailed response. I use this particular article as an example of a Summary Analysis Response essay for my students both in my classes and online. Your comment offers another response which will be a great way for students to see how the same content can produce different reactions. Thanks!

bradmasteroccal on March 25, 2019:

By default, your article suggests that Democrats are somehow less patriotic. That can't be correct because there was this Democrat named Franklin D. Roosevelt who was very patriotic. (JFK, Johnson, etc.)


You got 1 out of 3

FDR saddle us with SS, and Johnson tagged on Medicare to it. These are depended on today, but don't confuse needing it as a success. Contrast what FDR did to wage earners, and how well government employees have benefits and retirement that are not just subsistence, but one can actually live on in retirement. FERS, and FEHS.

FDR got us into WWII as he was helping England a year before Pearl Harbor. it was however the war and not any of his programs after the depression, that actually got us out of the depression.

GW Bush got us into Iraq and Afghanistan that we didn't need to get into. And we can't seem to get out of the Middle East today.

LBJ escalated the Vietnam War from 15,000 to 550,000 troops. And we lost the war, and the country and like GW Bush we shoudn't have been there in the first place.

None of these were real patriotism, they were war.


The fact is that both parties are two sides of the same coin, and as different as heads and tails.

But what the democrats have been doing since 2007 is not patriotism, it is socialism. They have unraveled the social structure of America and killed anything we can call patriotism.

The democrats have championed foreigners over American citizens and legal immigrants. They protect Convicted illegal Alien Felons, and consider the US a commune open to the world taking in the good, the bad and the ugly ( that would be potential terrorists) and allowing anyone to cross our democrat controlled open border.

How do you compare Nationalism with Patriotism. The democrats since Trump won the election have resisted the president of the US as a enemy of the state. How patriotic is it to work against the president of the US. They can't even respect the office of the president.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 25, 2019:

Hi Tim--Thanks for adding to the response to this research. I actually use this essay as a sample reading response for my English classes. Your response brings up many good points. I think that defining "patriotism" is probably one of the biggest problems in the study.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on March 25, 2019:

As I read this, I couldn't help but think the study probably had some error (all data have error.) I also question whether this was a correlation or qualitative study, which have weak statistical power. I also question the motivation for the study. It was done by an Ivy League School. I wonder who paid for it?

Parents have the greatest influence on how children vote as they grow up; that's been proven. Also, marriage is a great factor in how people vote as adults.

By default, your article suggests that Democrats are somehow less patriotic. That can't be correct because there was this Democrat named Franklin D. Roosevelt who was very patriotic. (JFK, Johnson, etc.)

The study leaves a lot to be desired for accuracy and motivation regarding patriotism. Could it simply be that Republicans like to party more at others' expense? The study didn't address that. Hmm.

Anyway, interesting article. However, if you pay me, I can prepare and conduct a study showing there is a strong correlation between eating hot dogs and the Fourth of July. That would be more believable.



Fin from Barstow on November 12, 2018:

well some interesting observations.

I think that many people start out as liberal and as they grow older, they tend to become more conservative.

However, fireworks and the fourth of July do seem patriotic of course...and perhaps the republicans are more patriotic than other parties.

Luke Chipman on August 26, 2015:

I had no idea about this study until just now. The evidence behind the study seems to be legitimate. I met a family from Maryland that came to Texas during Independence Day just to pop off fireworks since they couldn't buy any in Maryland. I think that adds a lot to not being able to celebrate Independence Day. Anyone can go watch fireworks being displayed by the city, but getting to light your own fireworks with family and friends makes up a huge part of the way I celebrate. As for one political party being more patriotic than the other, I think it may be a bit of a stretch to say Republicans are more patriotic than Democrats, despite the fact that the people who have been stomping on American flags lately are all liberals. Needless to say, it was an interesting article and I hope that more studies like this will be conducted in the future.

nkharel00 on February 13, 2014:

advocating consumerism....way to go

Sanctuary on January 13, 2014:

I thought you were going to tell me how to be a Republican. No problem let me help you out.

1. Listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh all day.

2. Never follow any facts, just do what they say.

3. Be a pretend Christian and support greed and selfishness the true mark of a false practice of Gods teachings. (Just be saved and do whatever)

4. Never support the things that will actually improve your life. Things like health care, making Corporations pay taxes instead of you paying there debt, support the rich when you still remain poor and stupid. Destroy Unions so you can keep your low wages and work part time if they do not ship your job overseas.

5. Pretend your patriotic because history could never lie. Watch people die during Katrina but send everything to Haiti, its a better tax write off and they do not own insurance.

6. Just be plain greedy and believe that this greed will trickle down to you. Be a Capitalist that destroys Capitalism and creates Socialism because of it and cry about it. (no socialist here, only surviving)

7. Blame everyone not responsible for the current self created greedy project and Ponzi scheme we live in.

8. Most of all make the tax payers pay for everything that made you and your agendas extremely wealthy and place austerity measures on the people who never profited but made great slaves in destroying themselves in order to make you rich.

Sanxuary on November 14, 2013:

I do not think being political has anything to do with being a patriot. Especially in a Country of rich Politicians who represent no ones views and only their agendas. We are barely a Republic and a Democracy only when they allow us to vote. The people do not choose or pay for elections and they do not run to represent the people. May day and the history of common people fighting the Corporate World to get a fair shake in this country is probably a greater holiday then the 4rth of July. We send hundreds of thousands of our young men and women to fight wars for the Military Industrial Complex and the stock market. Yet we do nothing to help the poor, the destitute or even our Country when disasters strike. Currently 90 percent of our manufacturing is in China. We have given a totalitarian nation every technology they ever wanted. In the next 5 to 10 years, every product America has invented in the last 60 years will be rebranded as a Chinese product. Patriotic is for the little people who know what sacrifice is. Not another black Friday and some Politician forcing everyone to suffer to get their way.

unverm on October 17, 2013:

This is interesting study, but I prefer to think that people, when kids became adult, will look at deeds and attitudes of any party more than their brands and sayings and then will vote republican, democrats party or others. There are many parties which contain such community, freedom, democracy etc. in their names. But in fact there is no link between this party and it's brand. Thank you so much VirginiaLynne.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 05, 2011:

Sorry I didn't end this hub very well--I actually wrote it inbetween taking my kids to our 4th of July bike parade and going to a barbeque picnic! I'm still pondering what it means to say that exposing our kids to the symbols of patriotism makes them vote in a particular way later on. I really want to hear what other people think.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 05, 2011:

Interesting study! I'd never heard to this before. Thanks for sharing.

Rhoda Talisaysay from Philippines on July 05, 2011:

I think VirginiaLynne simply means to always vote for freedom?

SUSIE DUZY from Delray Beach, Florida on July 04, 2011:

I really dont think being patriotic means being republican.

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