What Does it Mean to be an American?

What Does it Mean to be an American?

Does character, integrity, civility, and honesty matter?

If we could all sit down at the dining room table with some coffee and have a friendly discussion (that’s gonna have to be a big table), I think we could get back to basic core principles of what it means to be American, then everything could flow from those principles. Right now, Americans are all tied up in knots we can’t seem to untie. We have lost our way how to get along, to experience that good and powerful feeling of solidarity.

What does it mean to be an American? It is defined by what we believe in, what we do, and what we don’t do, that can be common to everyone:

  • Americans believe in family first.
  • Americans believe in the Golden Rule.
  • Americans are humble. We don’t brag; we are not vain.
  • Americans celebrate the team. We don’t say I, we say We.
  • Americans stand up and speak out against tyranny.
  • Americans don’t blame others; we are accountable.
  • Americans don’t practice nepotism.
  • Americans are civil both in person and online.
  • Americans are trustworthy. We don’t lie, we don’t exaggerate.
  • Americans are consistent. We don’t flip-flop.
  • Americans are loyal to family, friends, partners, and allies.
  • Americans take no satisfaction in bankruptcy at the expense of employees, suppliers, lenders, and investors.
  • Americans believe in democracy, free and fair elections, active civil participation, and majority rules.
  • Americans respect the rule of law applied equally and fairly to all citizens.
  • Americans allow and expect each other to keep leaders and government honest and accountable.
  • Americans respect all religions, but we separate church from state.
  • Americans embrace all refugees and immigrants, as we are descended from them.
  • Americans don’t discriminate against each other based on age, race, sex/gender, or religion.
  • Americans don’t unilaterally invade other countries, but we do defend our democratic shores and we help our allies when they call us for help.
  • Americans believe in the protection of human rights for all people of all countries.
  • Americans protect our citizens wherever they may be.
  • Americans think BIG, but we spend less than we earn.

How do Americans get back to our shared core values?

How do we get our leaders to lead from these values?

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Further reading: character: The Road to Character Brooks | civility: Choosing Civility Forni, Golden Rule | humility and strength: If Kipling | hypocrisy: Harper Valley PTA | essay: Life Without Principle Thoreau

Choosing Civility

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