Many foreigners assume that Americanism is a beautiful thing; something to be proud of. People from all around the world see the United States as a safe-haven, where there is room for growth, agency and hospitality. However, great deals of American citizens often take the country for granted, why is this? What does it mean to be American?
Growing up I believed being American meant that everyone had a chance at a great education, well paying jobs, homes and more. I have come to understand however, that Americanism is a culture, a form of solidarity that demonstrates an appreciation we have for each other. In John Winthrop’s A Model of Christianity Charity, he writes
“…we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love, and live in the exercise of it…” (pg 156).
This connects to my idea of solidarity because just as Christians have a practice they share with other Christians, we as Americans share a similar practice that integrates us as a functioning society.
I believe that to be American we have to accept the pros and cons of our civilization. Many times our system fails us and we live with consequences of those events. Winthrop admits
“[Christians] partake of each other’s strength and infirmity; joy and sorrow, weal and woe” (pg 153),
…which reminds me of my neighborhood solidarity. After a couple of robberies in my area, members of the community created a neighborhood watch program. Another good instance was moving into the neighborhood and making friends with the cashier at the deli. When he learned I was new to the neighborhood, he gifted my family a Chinese calendar. In my opinion, this is an ultimate form of Americanism because the citizenship is looking out for others while still expressing a form of integration.
So why do we take our country for granted? I do not know. I love my country and I especially love my city, however I can see how people are tired of our corrupt systems. Many do not understand the American Dream (homes, well playing jobs/business and education) is just an aura wrapped around our heads to prevail our nation. Nonetheless, I try to stay informed but still carry a positive attitude about my surroundings and my fellow Americans.
Photo Cred: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/missing-ingredient-americas-melting-pot