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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 8 2013: To Sean Quigly:
    You say "...America started great--the first real democracy.... ".
    That statement should be taken with caution and acknowledgement.
    Notwithstanding the fact that our constitution was and is one of the greatest historical living documents; we should also acknowledge that in practice America in 1776 was not a democracy.A large segment of its population or most of its citizens were excluded from its political life--namely women , African Americans and Native Peoples --it was a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain with large parts of the American public population under bondage. Voting rights was successively extended /allowed to women ;to Native Americans and lastly ; in 1964 African Americans were granted their right to vote with the passage of THE VOTING RIGHTS BILL by congress.
    When you reflect on it; it was only about 50 years to date (2013-1964) that America became a full-fledged democracy.What is a democracy that does not fully protect all the rights of its minorities--the majority have the tools to protect their rights embedded in their numbers,their economic and political clout.
    What I would say is let us acknowledge and learn from history as it happened and let us make it evolve into a yet better democracy as time goes by.
    • Jul 8 2013: It was far less a democracy than that.... it was an aristocracy with a high property hurdle to the vote. And the soldiers who fought got the shaft. Tom Paine had to run . The rev was a swindle

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