Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is a good American?

Technorati Profile

In speaking about culturism I’m asked what is an American – what is the majority culture of which you speak? This question is, of course, hard to answer because we are not easily defined, like other countries, by religion or race. We have a shared history and ideals and a shared future. But beyond that you have so many options that it boggles the mind: Gay ministers are good Americans and conservative gun proponents are good Americans too. We are a nation full of liberty and spectrum. But some general answers come to mind.

First of all, to be an American is to want what is best for America. This sounds like the utterance of a politician, but we have forgotten it. If you violate our laws and only complain about America you may not be a good American. Like being a Lakers fan, being a good American requires love. Fans can complain about their team –when will Kobe get some serious help and Mitch Kupchak leave – but at heart you have to really want your team to win.

The analogy with sports breaks down at the level of action. As a Lakers fan I am inactive. As an American, I speak with people about what I think will make America better. I attend rallies. But more than that, I try to improve myself and be a really good person in order to do credit to my grandfathers and our forefathers and our traditions. I work hard at what I do and take my work and role in America seriously.

If we need to change our institutions for your cultural group you are probably not a good candidate to be an American. For example, Muslims are currently challenging our basic holidays – holiday – build footbaths in quasi public institutions; change our photo identification laws and who gets served in markets and taxis. This is a bad sign. People are not fitting in. They are not conforming and in an era where individualism has eclipsed culturism, we are caving. We have to remember we have a culture and it requires some accommodation. If you are too inflexible to meld to our ways, you are probably a bad candidate for being an American.

Immigration that does not recognize the rule of law is another area of concern. Again, if we need to change our institutions to fit you, it is a sign you are not fitting in. Many immigrants believe that we need to dismantle our border laws to suit them. It is not clear that they want this because they think it is best for America. When people do not pay taxes once they are here or overuse public services and send money “home” it is not clear that they have America’s best interest at heart. A good American has upholding American institutions, fiscal stability and reputation as a goal.

This gets us to our last category. If you are a businessperson who puts profit above nation, you are a bad American. Divesting from America and running sweatshops domestically undermines our tax base. It enervates the middle class – which is a foundation of liberal democracies. If this country devolves into class hostility and violence – ala Mexico – we will lose liberties. Where will the businessman then live and enjoy a good quality of life? Do you really want to be secluded from America? Would it not feel better to be a part of an America that is strong free and something you can proud of? When your conscience is so checked out that you think porn on television and gangster rap on radio and no social questions arise, you have forgotten that we are all in this together. And remembering that we are all in this together is a big part of being a good American.
Post a Comment