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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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Closing Statement from Don Anderson

I just noticed that when I added the up-date at the top it cutoff some at the bottom.
Basically Experience 2 was feeling shame for the current America and how all the founding values gone, and asked how to address the confecting feelings.
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I have concluded that I can feel pride for upholding the founding values of America, and as I witness its fail I should feel sadness instead of shame. And find comfort in that like the Roman Empire it values will live on thought out the world, even though it exists in name only.

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  • Jul 15 2013: There are a few parts. Many of them have to do with building on, and improving on, existing systems. I don't believe all systems operate with equal fairness, or present opportunity in an equally motivational way.

    Titles bestowed by government are illegal. There are no knights, sirs, lords, kings, or sanctioned classes. Too much room for abuse there. "Created equal" is a mantra. That implies opportunity that is unavailable in the old country.

    A recent worldwide survey found that corruption and political parties and government (position power) are all linked. The first US president was well aware of this. Please read his address:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp. Or listen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTj8r6e7cbM

    The example he set became a standard of behavior. Other countries do not have the same example.

    Also, in many ways America has sorted the world's population based on initiative. People are here because they want to be here.

    So core beliefs driven by empathy and shared experience ( no classes, mostly immigrants ) are: fair play, no work no eat, minimize those institutions that empirical evidence has shown to produce corruption ( the opposite of fair play and a proven de-motivator ).

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