I would like to start this blog post out with with an ode to America… in the form of a Carl’s Jr. commercial. Enjoy:
Aw sweet, sweet Kentucky fried, carnival ride America….
But in all seriousness, American culture is much more than hot girls, guns, bald eagles, fireworks, big trucks, and freedom–though it seems like a lot of people don’t realize it. I’ve heard way too many friends, acquaintances, and strangers curiously, questioningly, or quizzically ask, “What is American culture even?” It’s disheartening to know that American citizens don’t know their own culture and that they don’t understand national identity to the point that it is being erased. Yes, America has a culture and that culture is not defined as ‘a mixing pot.’
What’s worse than native American’s not knowing what American culture is, are those who are bent on shaming American culture or calling it what it’s not: oppressive, a failure, wrong, broken, bad. I’m not saying America is perfect, but it is by far the best country live in on the planet and the number of people flocking here yearly is enough of a statement to that. Our poor have cellphones, washing machines, and (most) have dishwashers. The poor in other countries have to eat their dogs (or the giraffes at the zoo). Our poor are so rich, most of them claim iPhone ownership and food stamps as a right. Our country currently has real free speech. You cannot be arrested and imprisoned for saying anything about anyone. Meanwhile, Europe, and even Canada you can be fined for making a joke, and in some cases, TELLING THE TRUTH if the truth is considered ‘hateful.’ The supreme court has stated, “Truth is no defense,” in terms of classifying ‘hate speech.’
It’s gross to listen to people trash and actively destroy or erase American culture. It’s sad for natives to lack understanding of their national identity. To make spotting American culture in your everyday life easier, think of these five key principle characteristics that make America the greatest country on earth:
America is a land of innovation, creation, and free-thinking. The founding fathers didn’t like the monarch leaning over them, telling them where and what they could do, and when they set out for land, they wanted to find a place where they could build without limits. Because of this, America became a global superpower in the blink of an eye. The United States is a baby of a country, it’s foundation not even 300 years away, and yet it superseded other countries in power and influence, despite their much longer standing.
The founding fathers had a vision of a place where the only limits to what you could build were your own personal limits. Where the government wasn’t in charge of your life, and your decisions were all your own. They fought to build a country that would thrive when people applied themselves for good and from the way the United States grew as fast as it did, they succeeded and we can still see the fruits of their labor today:
We live in a place where regardless of what social class you were born in, as a citizen, you have the ability to pursue whatever level of success you want and you are only limited by your skill and determination. We are the country of self-made millionaires. We are the country of innovation and success. The quality of our life and skills can also be proven with how many medals USA takes home from the Olympics every year. This year happened to be 121 medals total, with second and third place holding 67 and 70 medals respectively. This level of success is not an accident and it is uniquely American because of how our country was founded.
Our people are strong. Our soldiers are strong. Our leaders (should be) strong. Our spirit is strong. This is why America came out on top and if we maintain American culture, we will always be on top.
One of the main reasons the founding fathers broke apart from Great Britain is because they didn’t like big government. They wanted people to be in charge of their communities, not some figurehead some far away off making decisions for the country that usually ended with them becoming richer while the poor (and middle class) become poorer. Heck, one of our national documents is called the Declaration of Independence which spells out human rights, including your ability to be an independent body. This is why so many are able to succeed and we will continue to do so as long as we support the individuals over the corrosive, coercive group-think mentality.
Despite the huge fight and focus on individual independence, the United States has always been very well-known for its sense of community, humility, and generosity. On a national scale, when our allies have been in danger, we came to their call. On a local scale, communities here don’t have to be offered rewards in order to help each other out. For the most part, most people are happy to lend a hand to a stranger because giving is just bred into our very foundations. Consider the recent flood in Louisiana. The government was hardly able to help at all, yet locals with boats were offering their services for free in order to help those in trouble. The local communities have always been there to support each other. In many interviews during the little news coverage found in Louisiana, locals talked
about the cohesive, caring, and kind community they lived in that helped one another without force, or threats, or government intervention.
And before all the freebie programs like welfare, counties and smaller communities were in charge of putting together charities and other programs to help those in the same way the welfare does, however, it was all maintained on local level. Churches, smaller governments, and other groups looked out for the people in their communities, communicating opportunities and building personal connections in ways that big government and welfare just can’t. If those programs were cut, our poor would likely be better off as communities have always helped each other more than government ever could.
“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
I’m not sure I know of any other country that was strictly founded on the idea that everyone was created equally and that we all had a right to liberty, life, and pursuit of happiness. That we have the ability to build what we want to build. That no one is free to simply murder for the sake of not wanting to deal with you, and liberty–the freedom from government (though it appears our freedom is getting strangled right now).
If you’re a poor kid from a family that has never seen success, you can still say, “I want to be an astronaut” and there are ways to make it happen. Personal determination is such a deciding factor in American lives and our people aren’t reminded of it. People face failure, but the problem in current society is we’re not told that our failure is typically our fault. If you’re still working as a cashier at 55, it has to do with life decisions. No one is taking your opportunities to grow away from you.
You can go to school to learn anything, but the kids who get in trouble with school loans and poor paying jobs is they don’t think about it as an investment. It’s not a conscious decision that, “I want to get to B, school is a tool I will use to get from A to B. It’s an investment.” If you plan, if you think, if you apply yourself you can get where you want to be. However, unfortunately with personal determination, if you do apply yourself, you will not get anywhere and it’s important to understand that you create your own momentum so if you do not move, it is (almost) entirely your fault.
Justice is important in American culture because we’re very much founded in “doing the right thing.” However, many people nowadays confuse justice with receiving free things or, in many cases, vengeance.
Justice is defined as, “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.” Individuals cannot define justice because when we define justice for ourselves, it is always self-righteous. Many will argue that the US was not founded on Christian faith or God, but our laws take much note from the Bible. Religious liberty and freedom is something God himself believed in which is why Adam and Eve were given freewill to begin with. Forcing someone into something does not create trust, honesty, loyalty, or genuine feelings of anything but hatred. Forcing everyone to say they’re Christian would have never made anyone Christian who wasn’t already and would have only proven to isolate people and create another revolution.
Again, the idea of the United States was liberty and freedom and creating a governmental mandate for religious requirements of its people would have completely abolished the founding fathers belief system of freedom and liberty to all..
So justice doesn’t mean giving free things to people who have had crap shoots for life. No matter how ‘unfair’ life seems, justice cares about righteousness and morality, not ‘what’s fair.”
One of the most important things to remember about any country is that their laws, culture, and rules are their own. People who are not US citizens do not have the right to use American law in their own country or as visitors or illegals in this country just as I don’t have the right to claim Canadian law in the US or Italy or France or wherever. If I’m a citizen or legal visitor in that country, then I am protected by their law, anything else does not apply. If you want to talk about human rights in other countries, talk to their leaders.
One last point I’d like to make is that there is not only a national identity and culture to America, but there is also the physicality of being American. Anyone can move here and sure, become a legal American through the government system. However, there is a difference between being an American citizens and being of American blood. I could move to Germany and gain German citizenship and live there for 30 years, but I would never be German by blood (unless it’s in my distant past or something). The same can be said for the United States. There is a genetic makeup for United States citizens that gets erased along with its culture the more people mix it and the more people deny it exists. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your native culture. If someone’s Mexican, they practice their holidays. If someone’s Canadian, or German, or Russian, or whatever, they practice their holidays, so don’t ever feel ashamed to celebrate the fact that you are American and you have an incredible culture and are a citizen of the greatest country on earth. Celebrate your country’s success, independence, and don’t fear being patriotic because it ‘might offend’ someone. Be proud of you and your country’s accomplishments for what they truly are and allow its citizens to be: Marvelous.