Sometimes I feel like I am alone and I wonder if there are people out there like me. What I mean is that I feel so disconnected from from our current cultural, political and philosophic ideas of what it means to be an American. I was born here and yet I don’t always feel like I fit into the mold of what many people consider to be what it means to be an American.
Today you have to wave a flag or throw your support behind the democrats or the republicans. You have to gush at the service of military members because that is what is considered socially acceptable. To be an American you have to love our military which is being used by a corrupt and evil government and if you don’t then you are a borderline traitor…..You’re an ingrate. And I never said anything about disrespecting or disliking. I just said that to many people if you are not gushing at every opportunity to lift the police up like they are demi-gods or the military as though they are legendary folk heroes then you are looked at like you’re Judas. But let me tell you what being an American means to me. If there is any ounce of patriotism left in my bones it lies in these things.
To me being an American means that you don’t hesitate when you see someone in trouble to stop what you’re doing and see if there is anything you can do to help. To me being an American means that you’re interested in working hard and playing harder. It means that you enjoy spending time with other Americans and talking about sports, or cars, or art or television and by doing so you have become a part of their lives and you have made a bond with them over something that seems so silly. Being an American means that you think about the sacrifices that our great grandfather’s, great grandfathers made. You are proud of the good things we did and you sincerely regret the bad things we did.
To me being an American means that you are practical and you loan out trust like a loan from the bank and you’re willing to give people a chance but it also means that you protect yourselves and your family from those who might do you harm. It means that we protect those who can’t protect themselves. We look out for the weak. We do what we can to help people to get by but ask that they help themselves to get back up as well…..and when you’ve done that they are expected to extend their own hand to help the unfortunate.
Being an American to me means that we’re dreamers, almost to a fault. We dream big and we try hard to make those dreams a reality. But sometimes when we fail we don’t see that although we might have failed to reach for the stars we were much closer to touching them than when we started and we expanded our horizons and moved into a new place of understanding. To me being an American means that we become team players to help others reach their goals. If there is some way we can help them along the way, a real American helps them out, putting aside their own personal feelings and sacrificing some of their valuable time.
To me being an American has more to do with the principles of God than it does the principles of man. God made us free to love Him and so we value freedom even if we aren’t happy with the way people choose to handle that freedom. Much in the same way that the father of the prodigal son allowed his son to run off into debauchery because he valued his son’s freedom we too value the freedom of our family and our neighbors to live the lives they want to live without us sticking our noses in it.
These are some of the things that make me proud to be an American.