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  1. #1
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    Default What makes one an American?

    I think it should be obvious why I'm thinking about this question.

    So rather then enrage the wrath of political correctness.

    l rather examine the qualities of the beliefs, thoughts, and achievements that bind people together into a state of prosperous coexistence.

    My first speculative thought, is to question whether being an American is a thing that only need be attributed to one being born in America, or attaining America citizenship.


    I don't think the American definition is that simplistic.

    I'm contemplating that being an American means having some specific qualities of character, values, ethics, morality, beliefs, principles, that a person has some internal passionate need arise from within themselves to live by these beliefs, and hold them as essential truths necessary for the prosperous sustenance of the lives of all others.

    I am wondering if being an American has nothing to do with nationality. But instead, perhaps, the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity.

    Am I wrong to want the meaning of being an American to equivocate to being something that is good for all humankind.

    I would like it if all people living on American soil, understood that freedom and equality is a privilege granted through those foundational American principles, and take in upon themselves the duty to extend to, and ensure to, all others, the right to enjoy and benift from the exact same set of inalienable rights.


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    I think it should be obvious why I'm thinking about this question.

    So rather then enrage the wrath of political correctness.

    l rather examine the qualities of the beliefs, thoughts, and achievements that bind people together into a state of prosperous coexistence.

    My first speculative thought, is to question whether being an American is a thing that only need be attributed to one being born in America, or attaining America citizenship.


    I don't think the American definition is that simplistic.

    I'm contemplating that being an American means having some specific qualities of character, values, ethics, morality, beliefs, principles, that a person has some internal passionate need arise from within themselves to live by these beliefs, and hold them as essential truths necessary for the prosperous sustenance of the lives of all others.

    I am wondering if being an American has nothing to do with nationality. But instead, perhaps, the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity.

    Am I wrong to want the meaning of being an American to equivocate to being something that is good for all humankind.

    I would like it if all people living on American soil, understood that freedom and equality is a privilege granted through those foundational American principles, and take in upon themselves the duty to extend to, and ensure to, all others, the right to enjoy and benift from the exact same set of inalienable rights.
    This is a complex question, but i will comment on one specific point that I think embodies an American,



    In one word,, FREEDOM.


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  3. #3
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    Default

    We had a similar conversation with one of the kids we have mentored for the past several years. He asked the question and didn't care for my response. He didn't have complete answer himself, not unusual for someone just out of their teens.

    That question has been rambling around in my head for the past month or so. I am interested in what others think.

    Thanks for opening this thread.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  4. #4
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    Noms your response is the same as mine was when first asked.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  5. #5
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    I asked myself this just a few minutes ago--or rather I asked myself if what's happening in boston is domestic terrorism or not?



  6. #6
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    While I agree many American's embody those high ideals, I also think you are being incorrectly exclusionary to imply those identifying with other nationalities do not. While I have a great deal of pride in being American, I think what you were describing better defines a good human being more than being linked to birth or residence in any particular geographic location.

    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post

    I'm contemplating that being an American means having some specific qualities of character, values, ethics, morality, beliefs, principles, that a person has some internal passionate need arise from within themselves to live by these beliefs, and hold them as essential truths necessary for the prosperous sustenance of the lives of all others.

    I am wondering if being an American has nothing to do with nationality. But instead, perhaps, the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity.

    Am I wrong to want the meaning of being an American to equivocate to being something that is good for all humankind.

    I would like it if all people living on American soil, understood that freedom and equality is a privilege granted through those foundational American principles, and take in upon themselves the duty to extend to, and ensure to, all others, the right to enjoy and benift from the exact same set of inalienable rights.


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  7. #7
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    Personally I think that we should stop focusing on what it means to be American (or Canadian, or French, or Saudi, etc). We should focus on what it means to be a human being and a citizen of this planet. Anything else is divisive and just perpetrates the us vs. them attitudes that is the cause of so many atrocities in this world.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by alittlextra View Post
    While I agree many American's embody those high ideals, I also think you are being incorrectly exclusionary to imply those identifying with other nationalities do not. While I have a great deal of pride in being American, I think what you were describing better defines a good human being more than being linked to birth or residence in any particular geographic location.
    I did try to address that in the opening post by saying...

    Quoting myself...

    "I am wondering if being an American has nothing to do with nationality. But instead, perhaps, the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity."

    I'll try to rewrite to be more clear:

    I am wondering if being an American has nothing to do with nationality.

    But perhaps the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity, a foundation of principles that may enhance prosperity for all nations of the world.....

    So yes, I agree, in a way it is also a "what makes a good human being" question.



  9. #9
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    OK, that clarifies some, but I still feel from this line, "But perhaps the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity, a foundation of principles that may enhance prosperity for all nations of the world." you are attributing some things to America and Americans that I think are more universally found in good people everywhere, not necessarily attributable only to our founding. It may have been a highly concentrated factor at our nation's founding, but the world is a large and old place, and I till feel there are a lot of other highly caring, brave, strong, principled people throughout time and space.

    Maybe I am not reading your right, it is definitely possible. Just my take on it...


    5 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedmondDressage View Post
    Personally I think that we should stop focusing on what it means to be American (or Canadian, or French, or Saudi, etc). We should focus on what it means to be a human being and a citizen of this planet. Anything else is divisive and just perpetrates the us vs. them attitudes that is the cause of so many atrocities in this world.
    I agree that citizen of the world is of the highest importance.

    Yet there remains differences throughout the world that significantly divide us.

    The question I wonder then is, what the definition of "United", for the United States of America?



  11. #11
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    But perhaps the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity, a foundation of principles that may enhance prosperity for all nations of the world
    I think you've failed to notice that the US doesn't fare so well when compared to many other nations on many different measures.


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  12. #12
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    Extremely interesting post... not being an American (yet- next year I'm taking the plunge), I actually end up defending that "being an American" represents a mindset, a set of values... and still believing in opportunities.

    But just like Noms described it- it all comes down to one thing: FREEDOM

    Now, I end up being appalled by some "true Americans" aka- individuals that were born here who take some of these things for granted and want to change the system to their advantage. Somehow/somewhere, they must have missed the boat that justifies that's why people came here in the first place- to flee control, injustice, have a true opportunity, etc...

    So in that sense- I'm more "American" than they are because I've seen what certain governments can do to their people, business, etc... I don't take it for granted nor do I want to see this country become one of "those" countries.
    Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!


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  13. #13
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    You may, or may not think this is relevant to the question, but I'll share anyway.

    While conversing with an elderly man a while back he said to me that in history if you asked a person where they were from, they would reply with their state. They had a sence of pride in being a Texan, Californian, New Yorker, ect. But now, by not having a people to identify with, many people simply call themselves Americans. He believed that by broadening the self identity, people loose a sence of nationalism.

    At the time I thought what he said was interesting, but I'm afraid my words, cannot do justice to the point he was trying to make. I know it may sound a little backwards, but it is a conversation that has always stuck with me.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpingmaya View Post
    Extremely interesting post... not being an American (yet- next year I'm taking the plunge), I actually end up defending that "being an American" represents a mindset, a set of values... and still believing in opportunities.

    But just like Noms described it- it all comes down to one thing: FREEDOM

    Now, I end up being appalled by some "true Americans" aka- individuals that were born here who take some of these things for granted and want to change the system to their advantage. Somehow/somewhere, they must have missed the boat that justifies that's why people came here in the first place- to flee control, injustice, have a true opportunity, etc...

    So in that sense- I'm more "American" than they are because I've seen what certain governments can do to their people, business, etc... I don't take it for granted nor do I want to see this country become one of "those" countries.
    Thank you JM for your response as it is very similar to comments made by other immigrants/naturalized citizens.
    Congratulations on your journey to become an American citizen. I am in awe of people who are courageous enough to take that step.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alittlextra View Post
    OK, that clarifies some, but I still feel from this line,

    "But perhaps the principles on which the United States of America was founded have come the closest in the history of humanity, to embodying those qualities for creating a foundation of prosperity that has the potential to last into perpetuity, a foundation of principles that may enhance prosperity for all nations of the world."


    you are attributing some things to America and Americans that I think are more universally found in good people everywhere, not necessarily attributable only to our founding. It may have been a highly concentrated factor at our nation's founding, but the world is a large and old place, and I till feel there are a lot of other highly caring, brave, strong, principled people throughout time and space.

    Maybe I am not reading your right, it is definitely possible. Just my take on it...
    I do think these are things "universally found in "good" people everywhere".

    I do think "It may have been a highly concentrated factor at our nation's founding".

    We have to keep in mind that the United States IS a nation of immigrants from all other parts of the world since it's founding.

    So the good the originated with the founding, did actually come from the rest of the world.

    But I'd speculate that the founding intentions were to form a nation using the "best" available ideas and philosophies from the lessons learnt from the history of the entire world.

    I suppose my thoughts are attracted to just exactly what those ideas and philosophies are, and if the citizens bare the responsibility of upholding them?


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  16. #16
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    Noms
    In one word,, FREEDOM.
    My itty bitty FREEDOM poem:

    I am an American because I am free
    Freedom for me, but not for thee.
    I choose what's right, you are what's wrong
    Don't think such freedom
    is really that strong.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    I think you've failed to notice that the US doesn't fare so well when compared to many other nations on many different measures.
    From the moment of it's foundation, or afterwards?

    If at the moment of it's foundation, what could have been improved upon, other then the extending of the embodiment of all of the foundational rights, onto all genders and all races which occurred in later amendments.

    We could also go into antitrust stuff, but do we need to?



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by happymom View Post
    My itty bitty FREEDOM poem:

    I am an American because I am free
    Freedom for me, but not for thee.
    I choose what's right, you are what's wrong
    Don't think such freedom
    is really that strong.


    That is in a nutshell, exactly what I'm wondering about.

    Hence.... What make one an American?


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  19. #19
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    Americans talk about freedom a lot, but many Americans seem to have forgotten what freedom means.

    Freedom is not about protecting the right of people like you to do things that you like to do. That's just self interest.

    Freedom is about protecting the right of people different than you to do things you don't like.

    If you want to interfere with others building mosques, getting abortions, waving offensive signs, marrying who they want, or voting then you don't really believe in freedom.


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  20. #20
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    Americans are not one size fits all, sorry.

    There are many true americans that are not for freedoms, but follow extremist ideas and are not any less americans for it.

    One just the other day told me, when she retires, she is going as a missionary for her church to China, because there is a big need to bring Jesus to the chinese.
    An in most measures perfect, all american lady all her life.

    She is not any less an american than those that wonder about her need to go tell others what they need to believe to be good humans, others of a completely different culture, much older than the one she wants to represent and it's religion she wants to convert them to.

    Or what about animal rights extremists, wanting to convert all to being vegans and keep hands off animals and so impinging on the freedoms of the rest of us.

    What is an american?
    Sorry, it is down to, those that are natural born citizens or those that have a certificate of citizenship, nothing more or less.

    Any other pigeonholing we may want to put "americans" into just won't fit.


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  21. #21
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    Americans are not one size fits all, sorry.

    There are many true americans that are not for freedoms, but follow extremist ideas and are not any less americans for it.

    One just the other day told me, when she retires, she is going as a missionary for her church to China, because there is a big need to bring Jesus to the chinese.
    An in most measures perfect, all american lady all her life.

    She is not any less an american than those that wonder about her need to go tell others what they need to believe to be good humans, others of a completely different culture, much older than the one she wants to represent and it's religion she wants to convert them to.

    Or what about animal rights extremists, wanting to convert all to being vegans and keep hands off animals and so impinging on the freedoms of the rest of us.

    What is an american?
    Sorry, it is down to, those that are natural born citizens or those that have a certificate of citizenship, nothing more or less.

    Any other pigeonholing we may want to put "americans" into just won't fit.


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