While there are many issues with Lockian thought, the idea of self and that ideas are extremely important is one that permeates American thought. To be American means to have the freedom to think and communicate ideas with whomever you want to. Words, spoken or written, can be communicated freely. This is why we are a country that published Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, beloved literary classic, as well as, say, In Trump we Trust by Ann Coulter (yes, she is serious). Books based on all sorts of ideas are published every day, whether beautiful or wretched, enlightened or idiotic, full of love or hatred, without punishment.
For this reason, I think that this is what it means to be an American. Anne Bradstreet demonstrates this in her poem “The Flesh and the Spirit.” The poem features two sisters, one named Flesh and the other Spirit. The sisters argue and Spirit is the victor.
For I have meat thou knows’t not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content.
“The Flesh and the Spirit,” Bradstreet.
I think it’s interesting that Spirit says that her food is the word. Words are the vessel of thought, of spirit. All Spirit needs to do to survive is speak. In this sense, I think I am an American. I can say and think what I want, and the fact that we are even able to write these blog posts shows how the communication of words and ideas is an integral part of everyday American life.