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Mike Rowe Shares Why Americans Have ‘Something to Stand For’

Photo from Mike Rowe’s Instagram

Mike Rowe Shares Why Americans Have ‘Something to Stand For’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Mike Rowe is a keen observer of the decline in American patriotism, a topic he dives into in his new movie, SOMETHING TO STAND FOR.

“I’m clinging to this idea that liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans can still be on the same side with regard to the answer to the question, ‘Do you see yourself first and foremost as an American? If you do, then you can kind of walk backward from there and start looking for other similarities,” Rowe said on the subject of his new movie.

“If you don’t, I don’t really know what to say to you, right? Because if you’re affirmatively opposed to acknowledging the incredible progress that we’ve made since 1776 in this country and — I don’t mean to suggest that we’re done. We got a long way to go. This country is never going to be finished and — I’m simply saying in the film, ‘Look, we were formed by imperfect men, but…the progress is mindboggling,’” he said on News Nation Thursday.

Rowe believes that Americans have much to be proud of.

“There’s a lot to celebrate and there’s a lot to be grateful for, right, in pursuit of a more perfect union,” he said.

Rowe wrote about the movie on Instagram last month, “My hope in doing this is to leave you feeling better about our country, better about the people who helped build it, and less divided from those Americans who might vote this November for someone you personally despise.”

Movieguide® reported on SOMETHING TO STAND FOR:

“Our country doesn’t know what to stand for anymore. We’re confused — not just about the difference between left and right but between American and anti-American.”

It’s a gap Rowe hopes to bridge with SOMETHING TO STAND FOR, a movie based on stories told on his podcast. 

“This cinematic tour de force will take viewers to the frontlines of the American Revolution, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and more,” a description of the movie reads. “Part mystery, part history — each harrowing tale tells a story you’ve never heard, about the patriots who built our country.”

Gallup polling recorded that 18% of 18 to 34-year-olds are “extremely proud to be American,” 40% of 35 to 54-year-olds are proud,  and 55% of people over the age of 55 are proud. Overall, 39% of Americans say they’re extremely proud.

This data stands in contrast to 25 years ago, which shows very different results. In 1998, 71% of Americans described themselves as intensely or extremely patriotic.

“I think there’s a very very real phenomenon that happens if you conflate politics with patriotism then you force people into a certain kind of box,” Rowe said, referring to the statistics, “and when we start to feel bad about our current crop of elected officials in any period of time it’s natural to start feeling bad about the entire experiment. It’s also foolish because the experiment was rooted and continues to be rooted in ideas that to your point are the envy of the world.”

“So it’s well and good to look around at these United States and say, ‘Here’s where we can improve here’s where we have to do better’ but it’s madness and it’s self-defeating and it self-loathing to look around and say, ‘Oh it’s as bad as it’s ever been. It’s worse than it’s ever been,’ to deny the progress that we’ve made and to deny the incredible virtue that was baked into to the people who made this country,” Rowe said.

Rowe believes that many are disconnected from the past and that many don’t appreciate the present, which leads to an inability to predict the future.

“My hope with the film is to simply say look, another thing that we can consciously choose to do is to be grateful for the country we have right now, warts and all,” he shared.

Movieguide®’s review of the doc reads:

SOMETHING TO STAND FOR WITH MIKE ROWE is a lively documentary just in time for July Fourth. TV personality, raconteur and motivational speaker Mike Rowe tells several historical stories celebrating American patriotism. Rowe tells multiple re-enacted patriotic stories. The stories include stories about the Founding Fathers, several America soldiers who took part in various famous battles, two Medal of Honor winners, an American President, and two Supreme Court Justices. He also reveals a story about some advice the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave to a young black female singer that impacted her life.

SOMETHING TO STAND FOR is a stirring, inspiring, superb documentary. Mike Rowe, who produces and wrote the script, infuses his movie with an energetic style. He celebrates liberty, patriotism, duty, honor, and sacrifice. However, it fudges some historical facts. SOMETHING TO STAND FOR also has some re-enacted war violence, a few light obscenities and a humorous, somewhat off-color biographical story about animal husbandry. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger and older children. That said, SOMETHING TO STAND FOR WITH MIKE ROWE is worth seeing on the big screen.

The movie will theaters on June 27. It received glowing endorsements from actors Tim Allen, Gary Sinise and others.

“Mike and his talented team, who most likely did all the work while Mike got his nails done,” Allen joked, “produced a film that inspired me. It’s about those who have done the work that urged this great country forward. ‘Something to Stand For’ is great stories of perspective heart and insight from great Americans. Thanks Mike and love the Bronco.”

Sinise said, “Mike Rowe is a great American, and in his new film Something to Stand For, in a totally surprising and entertaining way, he shares the stories of many great Americans whose lives have affected us all in profound and positive ways. I loved this film and encourage everyone to see it. Our country needs it. Thank you, Mike!”


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