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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 11 2013: You know myself and my girlfriend talk about stuff like this a lot because I'm Irish and she's American so we get room to discuss things. We got around to talking about my perception of America the other day and what I always thought set America above every other country is it's position as a big brother to the rest of the world. No matter who you were or where you came from America was always there to guide you and to put an arm around you and to welcome you in and make you feel appreciated. That was my perception of this country and in my opinion what makes it great, it stands up for the little guys who can't stand up for themselves, and I hope America never loses sight of this that it can always remain a beacon of hope for the downtrodden and for those who seek to make a better life for themselves. I don't think the 'American dream' is purely an American thing, it appeals to the whole world. And you are probably right this could only work in such a country that we call a melting pot, somewhere that embraces all cultures, and long may it remain so, and long may American citizens fight for this view of their country, long may people stand up for the little guy.
    In regard to your other question, I come from a deeply subjective school of thought so if I found out that there were English or Scandinavian blood in me, it wouldn't change who I am or my perspective of myself, or for that matter my perspective of what it means to be Irish. I believe that what makes somebody a specific nationality is if they value the spirit of the country, this is abstract airy-fairy language I realise, but it's the best way I can explain it. I was on a transatlantic flight last year with a man who was born in Nigeria and spent the first 30 years of his life travelling around the world, but when he got to Ireland he said he felt like he was home, so much so he stayed and 15 years later he is an Irish citizen. We had different coloured skin, different accent but he is truly as Irish as I am
    • Jul 12 2013: Hi Dear Eamonn O'Neill,I deem if someone feels like he(she) is home,it is the most comfortable feeling for us humanbeing.It reminds me one of songs I listened:you make me feel like home again.What is the name of song?
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      Jul 18 2013: This whole big brother to the world might be great if it was actually about ideals.. On the one hand, I love this is the public portrayal that works for the majority of Americans. On the other hand, I hate that it's just a spin created by the politicians of the rogue nation. Big brother showed up in Kuwait to kick out Saddam Hussein, but where was he when Zimbabwe took a dive? Why? What was there in Kuwait for Americans that Zimbabwe doesn't have to offer?

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