What Being an American Means to Me

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Since Independence Day is just a couple of days away I thought I’d talk about what being an American has meant to me.

I honestly don’t even know where to start. Every time I try to write something I delete it. I don’t know what I can say about being American that won’t offend someone.

America is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave but it doesn’t seem like those two can go hand in hand. It’s definitely home of the brave, people who are brave enough to openly hate other people just because of cultural or religious differences. People think that freedom is something you fight for from the outside world but they forget that it’s also something fought for in this very country; the freedom to be heard or to openly be who you are without judgement. The freedom to walk to your car at night without the fear of being attacked or to walk alone on the sidewalk without being harassed. The freedom to go to school every day without wondering if you’re going to get shot.

People in America get so caught up in what’s right and what’s wrong with this country that they forget that the most important thing is the fact that we are one country. We divide ourselves by arguing about how issues should be solved that the ones who are suffering just fall through the cracks and are forgotten. We go round and round about who’s rights are more important instead of actually dealing with the issue at hand. I feel that sometimes we go too far in trying to make our point that we lose sight of how our actions affect other people, innocent people. The fact that we covet material things and maintaining a certain status more than the quality of life for everyone in this country.

America is a place where some of our ancestors came to get away from being told what was right and what was wrong. They wanted the freedom to make their own choices free from oppression. Why is it that we have now come full circle? Why do we feel so entitled to our opinions that we feel like we have the right to push them on other people?

This country was also founded on religious freedom. I think people forget this one a lot, either that or they refuse to acknowledge it. So many people in this country think that their actions are justified because it’s done in the name of their god; hateful actions that seem to do more harm than “good”.

People often forget that they are incredibly fortunate to be born in a country where they have the freedom to speak their mind and stand up for what they believe in. They take for granted the actual good they could do with their words.

We are a strong country and we have the ability to help one another. We have the means to make things better for each other. Instead of being proud of how well you can argue your point, how about taking the time to understand where another person is coming from. This country is made up of all kinds of people from different walks of life. We may all have different cultural backgrounds and customs and ideas but we are all a part of this country. We are all human.

America is diversity. Being American means being a part of something bigger than yourself. Being American means we show the world we are made up of all the best parts of it. We can stop dividing ourselves and be what we are, the United States of America. Please be kind and stand behind your fellow American.

When at first I learned to speak, I used all my words to fight. With him and her and you and me, but it’s just a waste of time. It’s just a waste of time.” –I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers

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