I’d argue the movement is more from a gen-X perspective, from people who have been there at the precipice of the internet, before Google, Microsoft and other companies had domineering control over what we do online. Zoomers? I’m afraid we’ve lost them to the hypnotic trance of Tiktok. Island bois, Kermit the frog and that garbage.
AOSP is degoogled by design, at least as far as we know. None of Google’s central proprietary features should show up in a build of AOSP. Many of Google’s apps start as AOSP apps that they then release with their special sauce. AOSP Keyboard eventually becomes Gboard, for example, the camera app starts out as a barebones shooter before Google adds the features and their post-processing for their Pixel phones. /e/ Foundation attempts to retain compatibility with most Android apps and Google services without making them mandatory like Google services would be on the average smartphone. microG replaces those services, none of Google’s servers are looked upon with /e/ including NTP, DNS, GPS, search, etc. That being said, you also deal with the compromise that you’re putting your trust in /e/ and their services if you’re so inclined.
Sailfish OS is neither ungoogled, degoogled, or hardened. It is plain and simply not googled. You can synchronize Google accounts for email, calender, phone contacts and the like, but unlike Android, Sailfish does not freely transmit that and more. The Android Appsupport could be considered an ungoogled experience since it is built from AOSP, but it’s tweaked by Jolla to work with Sailfish directly. Many users have successfully used both Google Play services or microG in Android Appsupport to handle what apps they do need, but much like Android Appsupport itself, it is not a requirement within Sailfish OS. Many people are perfectly content to use Sailfish without Android apps at all, and many who do use Android apps may only need it for a few select apps that do not need Google services. There’s also the advantage that you can disable Android Appsupport at your discretion, and still have a fully functional smartphone. I personally use microG since I do try to use Sailfish as my daily driver, and I do use a few apps that are either stubborn or refuse to function without GSF.
I’ll say that Sailfish will not be for everyone, and if you use a lot of external services, you might be best left to stay on the stock Android image that comes with your phone, or explore one of these alternatives like /e/OS or iode. If you aren’t super dependent on these services, or you can find alternatives on Sailfish, be they native clients or webapps, Sailfish is definitely viable. As for a Verizon phone and Sailfish? The only chance will be a community port, since Verizon hasn’t really gone full-mast on GSM, and even then, Verizon’s particular requirements will pose significant barriers to compatibility. I had a similar issue for a while, using Sprint as my carrier. Many phones didn’t have custom ROMs for Sprint models, I just ended up on a Blackberry Q10 until I finally had the option to switch. Whatever route you choose, hopefully you enjoy a good several years with your smartphone and whatever choice you go with, be it stock, AOSP, Lineage, /e/OS, Sailfish, Ubuntu Touch or any other choice out there.