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Don Anderson

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I need help with a dilemma: What does it mean to be American? And Why does it work?

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Up-date to thread’s scope: (July 10th)

Thanks for all the comments, they have been very helpful.
I have sorted out my feeling on being American, it maybe a jumbled mess but it is working for me. And to avoid rehashing what has been said I’ll leave it at that.

But the large diversity of views here, and within America’s culture, politics, values, heritages, etc. I have to ask;

Why does it work?

By most standards we are a highly dysfunctional group, and should be a failed society.
But here we are a great nation, and by most logic that should not be the case.
Yes we are the home of the free and the brave, but also home of tyrants, cowards, passive, aggressive, moral and immoral and I could go on and on forever.

Americans are often labeled as racist and intolerant, if that was true we would not have more nationalities and different cultures than any other country in the world.
Being American is a lessen tolerance and that is something we can’t experience in heaven, but I feel the lessen goes deeper than that.


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Is American where you live, or is American a belief in freedom and liberty for all?

Firstly let me state I believe we are here to learn from experience that we can’t have in heaven. And recently I have had two events in my life that have me confused as to the lesion I should be learning from them.

My Background: I’m just an average lower-middleclass Midwest American.

Experience 1: I have been researching my ancestry for about a year now, and I feel pride with my findings. So far my ancestors range from English noble that came to America in 1633, to peasant framer and serving maid from Prussia (Germany) in 1820. No slave owners, only union army soldiers, fought for America in the war for independence, etc.

Experience 2: Many people throughout the world, now are fighting and/or protesting for freedom and libe

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  • Jul 7 2013: Being American used to mean something. Let me assure you that nowadays it means nothing.
    America is mostly controlled by the wealthiest white people in the world; yes white people. Multinational corporations would like to take our rights away so they can exploit us for profit. Same with the govermnent though the government doesn't need to be as subtle about it.

    America started off great: the first real democracy; but is evolving into something worse: a mock democracy. The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves no doubt. If men like that were still in power, it would be truly different. America fell out of the hands of visionaries into greedy lobbyists.
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      Jul 7 2013: Be careful not to buy into the straw man meme, instead look at the one pointing to the straw man. In any case don't allow it to take your eye off of your own goals, which are all that really matter.
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      Jul 24 2013: I disagree. Being an American means everything to me. Our evolution is not in one direction only. While in College, I did a poll for my political science class. The question was wither on not you supported the Death Penalty. I decide, at the end of my poll to go back and re-poll everyone. The results were surprising. Most of those that supported the Penalty, after discussion with their peers, had a turn around, and so it was with those that opposed it.

      My deduction was that people change their minds, after the question is asked, and they've had time to consider it.

      So it is with American Democracy. After we are exposed to changes, we sometimes swing around the other way. In that sense, we are constantly evolving in our political thought. My mother and her generation have different ideas about nationalism. They saw America come together in a time of great peril, WWII. I lost two three uncles in that conflict. One killed on the island of Iwo Jima and the other two due to Alcoholism after the war. She has always grown a garden and feeds herself and her immediate family from it. She saw a time when food was scarce (ration cards) during that war and that is what people did. Her kids (us) are not so diligent but we all have a garden. Only one generation separates her political evolution from mine. So I don't think it is fair to call us despotic in light of her generations activities and appreciation of Democracy. Our soldiers in the recent wars also answered the call and fought for democracy in other nations. One day, those men and women will have a voice in how this nation will form and their experience will be a factor in that resolution. There is always a transition of power to the upcoming generation. That way things don't always stay the same.


      Thoughts do change faster these days but so does changing our minds.

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