Americans Grow Apathetic But Remain Committed To Democracy (Even If They Don't Talk About It)

More than a third (38%) of U.S. adults say they have grown apathetic to the current political environment, saying it simply is easier to accept it than to try to change it, a number that grows to about half of Millennial and Gen Z age adults.

That's one of the top findings of a Harris Poll released Thursday by the Purple Project for Democracy.

While respondents also indicated concerns that some key rights are being threatened -- including free speech (cited by 48% of adults), the right to bear arms (47%) and the right to equal justice (41%) --- an overwhelming 83% said they feel democracy is the only acceptable form of government for the U.S.

The poll, which was tied to the Thanksgiving holiday, also found that more than half (55%) would avoid discussing politics during the holiday, up from 47% in 2017.

Nearly half the respondents (45%) said political conversations in their family have "become more heated" during the current administration vs. previous ones.



The Purple project, which was founded earlier this year by journalist and media critic Garfield, the Brookings Institution, and the National Conference on Citizenship, was created to promote non-political education, dialogue and civic engagement.

The non-partisan project is a 100% volunteer effort, and some of the organizations contributing to date include Goodby Silverstein & Partners; Digitas; ECG Group; Walrus; Acento; Vivoom; World of Wonder Productions; Slash Management; WIT Strategy; Jelly Smack; and Y&R's BAV Group.

"[It's been] quite a journey," says Garfield, adding, "we couldn't have done it without a whole lot of pro bono support from ad agencies and other vendors."

"What Purple is trying to do at scale is something I and countless others have tried to do on an individualized basis," adds WIT Strategy Managing Partner Mark Naples. "The polarization of our political discourse is nothing short of a perversion to me. There's no doubt that it's creating a distressing challenge to our country's progress. I want to do anything I can to move conversations from partisan political arguments to meaningful discussions of issues.  That's what Purple is about."

"We are thrilled to join We The Purple to support democracy and civic engagement among today’s youth,” adds Slash Management President and Co-Founder Jake Webb. “It’s incredibly important that our generation’s interests are represented in the government, given how fast our culture is evolving thanks to technology and social media. Our group of diverse and young digital first talent know that in a time of harsh rhetoric and political divide in Washington, understanding and participating in our democracy is more vital than ever. I’m incredibly proud of our talent for stepping up to use their platforms.”

"We knew Purple had a great story to tell and we needed the right talent to deliver our message in an organic and high impact way,” said creativemedia executive and executive producer of Untitled Homobiles Project, Craig Bland. ”Jake's talent at Slash Management has extremely high rates of engagement and I dare anyone not to watch those videos and feel moved by their messages, it really is a welcome respite from the onslaught of partisan fighting we deal with every day."

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