Editor’s note: The website for “Fall in Love with America Again” – the subject of this story – is currently unavailable. We encourage you to visit their site at a later time.
A new campaign launching Sept. 11 is asking Americans to look past the political morass and economic uncertainty of today, and tell what they see: the novelty of natural arches in Utah’s desert, an antique car in front of the Golden Gate bridge, a wild bear, their families, main street, libraries and downtowns, Route 66 and wheat fields, among just a few of the nation’s attractions.
It’s time to “Fall in Love with America Again.”
The message is from a group of marketing specialists who are starting a multi-year, two-stage program, “Fall in Love with America Again.” Group spokesman and Ramp-It-Up-Entertainment founder Dennis Gelbaum says the purpose of his campaign is straightforward.
“It’s not brain surgery. We began to realize that with everything we hear in the news, with high unemployment, the failure of the banks and people stealing money from each other, and just the negative feeling about America all over the world, and in our own backyard, what we’ve forgotten is how great this country really is,” Gelbaum explained.
His group has posted a video about their new campaign:
The program, he said, is “really about embracing your love for your country, for America and telling stories about why you love America and what America means to you and your family, to your friends, your neighbors, your city and towns.”
“It’s really about sharing everything about America’s life and about the fact that this is the greatest country on the planet and embracing that,” Gelbaum added.
The program creators also include Evie Evangelou and Amber Roninger. They emphasize that the program is aimed at everyone.
The first phase of the program is the year-long window for the public to submit stories, videos, photographs, songs, poems, recipes, paintings and other forms of expression that communicate their love for the United States.
Listen to an interview with Gelbaum:
After using the website to submit suggestions, Gelbaum said the contributors have to get people to visit the website where the work is published.
A panel of judges will evaluate the work based on the number of hits the item gets on the “Fall in Love with America Again” website and the overall quality of the work.
Gelbaum adds that after the year-long submission and evaluation period, there will be a touring show.
“This will be like no other touring show ever. It will be like a museum exhibit except that instead of just having an exhibit of great photographs about America, travelling with us will be the photographers of those shots,” Gelbaum said.
“Instead of just having a great painting about America, you’ll actually see the artist. Instead of just seeing the film or video about America, you’ll meet the stars, the producers, the directors and the writers,” he added.
The program is being publicized first through the Internet and social networking media such as Facebook, Twitter and a blog site.
The project creators say that they’re tired of hearing criticism about America, and this is their way of countering the negative publicity.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a study immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks that showed a balance of love and hatred for the United States. Most of the people around the world surveyed said they thought it was a good thing for America to feel vulnerable.
Public opinion surveys in the U. S. show a growing discontent among Americans about the country and its direction.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen says that Americans’ negative opinion is mostly directed at the government.
“Americans are concerned about the future and many fear that our best days have come and gone. They are angry at the government and perhaps the most disturbing statistic that I’ve come across in all the years I’ve been doing this is that only 23 percent believe that our government has the ‘consent of the governed,'” Rasmussen stated.
“In our American heritage, that’s the only legitimate source of authority for our government. There’s a lot of discouraging data there,” he said. But he said, “Americans still tend to love their country and believe it’s the best country on earth and think the world would be a better place if there were more countries like us.”
“Most Americans think this is a great place but believe the government is out of touch,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen points out that the anti-government feeling doesn’t transfer into a dislike of the country.
Listen to an interview with Rasmussen:
“There’s a lot of anger at the government. There’s a lot of anger at both major parties. There’s a lot of anger at the way things are played out with federal spending and taxes and deficits,” Rasmussen explained.
“But, it is totally separate from their feelings about the country. The fact that people don’t feel that their government has the consent of the governed is one of the key indicators that they see a big distinction,” Rasmussen continued.
“There is a very strong belief in the country’s founding ideals, in the founding documents and in the belief that we as Americans should be free to govern ourselves,” he added.
Rasmussen agrees with Gelbaum, saying that there are many Americans who love their country and believe in the ideals of the country.
“Most continue to believe in American exceptionalism and most continue to believe that America is the last and best hope for mankind. There are many positive feelings about the nation itself,” Rasmussen said.
Gelbaum believes that the media is partly to blame for the negative feelings about the country, because the media doesn’t focus on the nation’s strengths.
However, Gelbaum doesn’t think his campaign is going against any prevailing trend.
“Everyone we speak to still loves America. Everyone we speak to is looking for a spark. Everyone that we speak to is looking for a way to take their voice and to have people hear them,” Gelbaum observed.
“We are all frustrated. We are all angry and we are all disappointed. Yet, we all understand that we have done this to ourselves. In other words, there are lot of people who are pointing fingers, we’re all blaming someone else. But we have to start taking responsibility for our situation,” Gelbaum continued.
“This is an opportunity for you to say whatever you want to say. The goal is to tell why you love America and why this is the most important country in the world,” Gelbaum added.
The campaign has drawn the endorsement of Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. He has signed on with the campaign saying, “America stands as a living symbol of all that is charitable and decent, a country in which every person is entitled to dream of happiness, peace and liberty; where those who have are taught to give back. America has always been about hope.”
Wiesel was sent to a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 and survived
Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald and Gleiwitz.. His book
“Night” chronicles his experiences.
Rasmussen believes the Fall in Love with America Again campaign’s ability to be a positive influence on the country depends on the perspective the campaign takes.
“If the effort is to highlight and educate some of the key principles of our founding and to help us celebrate those, that will connect with people and perhaps reinforce those ideas,” Rasmussen said.