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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 25 2013: Here one point I would like to debate:

    "Government officials: We'd lose a lot of valuable people with long experience in government if everyone had to retire from public life after completing their service. Regulations regarding interaction would be more effective."

    RESPONSE: They just can't get involved in govt. business, contracts or communications. They will have to earn a living in a non govt. related business like the 99% of us. The corporate / elected official revolving door nullifies democracy.

    There are way too many rewards to do the bidding of corporations vs. "We the people..."
    • Jul 25 2013: I would certainly like to do without lobbyists. They are all too often given too much credibility as surrogate "representatives of the people" because they employ X number of them. They represent only their own private interests. The ethics are tricky, but I'd rather see as much intelligence and integrity in Washington as we can muster, even if it means they get rich off their knowledge. Much more dangerous is the influence-peddler who withholds support to kill good ideas because his company can't make money from them. Perhaps simply barring them from lobbying for a period of time would be sufficient. Ever seen a "Political Contacts" form? You have to document the person, the place, the time, how much of it was spent on particular topics, and much more. Much easier to put a simple prohibition on categories of contact for a limited time. Ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spent time in the private sector after working for the government, then went back to the government, then back to the private sector. What he gained in knowledge from the government no doubt served the private sector. But what he learned there helped him make intelligent cuts in the military budget when the time came. He was an outstanding Defense Secretary. More should follow his example of public service.

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