TED Conversations

Don Anderson

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

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

*-----------------------------------------------------------------*
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.


*--------------------------------------------------------------*

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

Share:

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.
---
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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 16 2013: For a foreigner like me, to be an American meant that you lived in a country "under the rule of law" where you were "protected by the laws of the land". To see your president dismiss the veredict of the judicial sistem and for political gain harness the enormous power of the federal goberment to try to punish this Zimmerman guy on behalf of the "Al Shapton" cartoon caracters of your society is very disconserting.
    • Jul 22 2013: there's a history that ratifies Obama's comments.
      I'm going to bring up an uncomfortable topic. Most large societies have their factions notably "conservative' and 'progressive'. Conservatives say everythings great about the country WE"RE GREAT!!!!!!!... except for thos who don't like us. Progressives say, ' Dammit, people ar getting hurt the way things are going' !!!!... and we nhae a right and duty to try to change things. C's say AMERICA IS GREAT, we just need to get rid of all the America Haters, get back to the old days. P's say We have a start but we need to get back to the old days, what's going on now stinks.
      In walks a foreigner. Who will he side with in his public statements when?
      Note that C's Hate much of what America is, so do P's, so do Foreigners. Yet they, We, all want to preserve it.
      C's P's have very odd constructs of time, nation, freedom etc. Seems the more free a people are the tougher the government has to be. So many fairey tales, so much bs flying around. N America history is half lies, the news is ridiculous, the politicians ... are as popular as commies, witches, masons, royalists, gays, blacks, japs, muslims, feriners, indians,... used car salesmen...schools are ridiculous... what a great country.
      • thumb
        Jul 22 2013: bs
        • Jul 23 2013: why is it so important to be great without accepting criticism?


          separately let me prcis my post above... a new boy should measure 10 times before he cuts once. When in Rome... but Romans were of all types too, the plebs looked poor, the patricians and their 'patriotic' sycophants (party) looked fine... but virtue and vice are not determined by status. Look at the origins of latifundia then think about usa imports and militarization.
      • thumb
        Jul 23 2013: LOL, sorry for just giving a bs reply. My mischievous side wanted to show you what its like.

        As a Conservative I know I’m far from GREAT! and personally I say the US conservative party is controlled by a bunch of RINOs and is just a puppet party to give citizens the illusion of a two party system.
        But I believe the founding principles are great, unlike many progressive that calm they are BS.
        Did Conservatives get rid of the King loyalist after the US revolution? Or did the Conservatives get rid of the progressive/Democrats after they lost the US Civil war? NO!
        So saying we conservative just want to get rid of haters is baseless. In fact it is the democrats that said Bush voters should be put on trains and sent to reeducation camps.

        And calling US Democrats progressive is also baseless; you just need to look at their public work projects to see that. It’s simple when the government creates great things happen, and when government manages stagnation happens. When the highway, railroad, school, communication system where created great thing happen. But under government management they stagnate. Unlike when government turns systems over to the private sector, like what happen the phone systems in the 80s and the space program now. Democrats want government management over highways, bridges, health care, education, internet, communication, and etc, and yet have never proposed the creation of anything but more management power.

        And please stop talking as if the US started slavery, the Europeans started African slavery and the American Indians had took slaves from warring tribes, and do you think American Indians would have been better off under Aztec rule?

        Sorry for the rant, I’m just saying the founding principles are great, and not that we are doing a great job of living up to them.
        • Jul 24 2013: I say bs, when a detailed reply is a waste, partic since am far from fluent in my typing. You doubtless often catch when people lay 'happy talk', the kind that ignores the down side, on you or others. When I say 'bs' I'm simply pointing out the tale is one-sided.
          'Bs' is far from the worst I've had said or some have said to me.

          "Founding principles"? If you study the period critically I think you will find they were nowhere near what most N Americas post WW1 believe them to be. Look to the right to vote and tax revolts for a start, the rippoffs and corruption, etc. What can one say about those who revolted for the freedom to own others, forbade laws limiting speech and quickly passed the anti-sedition act which did just that, made the most massive real estate killing (literally) of all time...again and again and again etc

          Dems are too entrenched to be progressive, there is at least a progressive wing... it would be nice if they were heard and restrained appropriately by a responsible right.

          Usa industrialized slavery.. put it in a most barbaric form. Germans long had slvery, arabs too, but the slaves were often better off than the workers... same for the us , many slaves were materially better off than the irish (who were after all the victims of intentional genocidal land clearings if you look at the history a bit closely. But then genocide and slavery are 'conservative' at least in the 'southern strategy'.

          I t may sound odd but I think of myself as deeply conservative in many senses,
          since most positions in the present fracas (not debate!) have been around for at least 2200 years; some go back to egypt and sumeria. But, I believe to be truly conservative we have to take account of changing circumstances.

          I do not support the parties. Half of what we are most sure of is total bs. It makes me reject current values. repubs regulate at least as much as dems> Bureaucracies are one of the biggest problem, and not because they are not, often, necessar
    • thumb
      Jul 24 2013: Oh no... another USA basher. They appear to be growing in pairs on TED these days. We can be talking about chicken farming and they will try to turn it to how our government is trying to destroy all the other countries chicken farms.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.