October 3, 2008
Our Q&A with John Zogby, president and CEO of the Zogby International polling firm and author of the new book, The Way We'll Be. He spoke in Dallas last week at an event co-sponsored by Southern Methodist University and the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth.
You've written about the transformation of the American Dream. What exactly does that mean?
More Americans today define the American Dream more in terms of spiritual fulfillment and living a genuine life as opposed to those who still believe ... in the traditional, material American dream. ... We're getting accustomed to living in a world of limits. That bodes well for Americans getting along with the rest of the world, for a new direction in foreign policy. It also bodes well in terms of saving the environment.
Any big surprises in your findings?
There's even a significant change among young Christian conservatives – what they see and what they emphasize. The Christian right is not your grandfather's Christian right. ... Obviously, they're anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage and pro-guns. It's the same belief, but not the same agenda. These are not the issues driving them. They've moved into man's stewardship of God's earth. They obviously want health insurance. Their No. 1 issue, they tell us, is global poverty. ... This is what they're pushing their church leaders to talk about.
If American attitudes are changing, how will that affect our interaction with the rest of the world?
Young people are traveling. Sixty percent have passports, and that's only growing. That group, with passports, drives this generation into being a group with the greatest planetary sensibility we've ever had. When we ask them, "How do you best define yourself?" and we offer choices, 18- to 29-year-olds are as likely to say, "I am a citizen of the planet Earth" as, "I am a citizen of the United States." Twenty-three percent ... say, "I expect to live and work in a foreign capital at some point in my life."
In terms of attitude, this is the group most likely to accept multilateralism in foreign policy. This is the group least likely to say that American culture is inherently superior to the cultures of other peoples.
E-mail John Zogby through zogby.com.
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