What Does (Did) it Mean to be an American?
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 don’t like to be told what to do; however, they will come together in solidarity to help, protect, care for, and save fellow Americans.
- 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 (with the disastrous exception of having invaded Iraq in 2003 based on false evidence); 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 do not torture and believe “enhanced interrogation” is just military-industrial bullshit-speak.
- 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?
Can The Force fix the world?
Where does all this hate for American Asians and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) come from?
- How do we fight it?
- Is racism predominantly instinctive (nature) or learned (nurture)?
The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens by Richard Haass
Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P. M. Forni
The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream by David M. Rubenstein
- character: The Road to Character Brooks
- humility and strength: If Kipling
- hypocrisy: Harper Valley PTA
- morals: Do Morals Matter? by Joseph S. Nye
- songs: The Flag Song Sondheim (lyrics)