People immigrated to the United States for the freedoms, opportunities, and liberties that are granted to its citizens.They were told there were no kings or queens, and your religious choice was not assigned. Through history more opportunities were given to citizens such as voting, possession of land, and religious practices. The US has progressively became known as one of the greatest countries in the world. In today’s day in age is it still progressing?

The definition of the “American Dream” varies from person to person. Caroline Crosson Gilpin from The New York Times states, “Reclaiming our values start with standing up for them at home.” Meaning that we need to face our country’s biggest problems and reevaluate our values. If everyone had the same interpretation, our country would be more successful. To be an American means that everyone is accepting of those around you and to have a purpose or a place in something that makes your country succeed. This needs to be taught to the future citizens of our country.

Google defines the American Dream as: the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. The definition on Urban Dictionary, a parody dictionary, says the American Dream means: to sue someone for something incredibly stupid and living off the money; 2. To otherwise make a lot of money for not a lot of effort, and spend the rest of your life being rich and getting plastic surgery. Our country follows the perspective of the parody version rather than the true definition. We focus more on how to better ourselves rather than bettering everyone else.

There are people in America who judge those who are slightly different than others. Joan Blades, CoFounder of moveon.org stated in the documentary American Creed that, “People forget what we all have in common.” Blades is saying once we put aside race, religion, and economic status, citizens of the United States have at least one thing in common.  We are Americans. We are all apart of this country and we will always have that in common.

People are judged for simple things like race, or religion. Throughout history, people set out for the Americas seeking a fresh start. America has welcomed any and everyone, no matter race or religion. It wasn’t until late 1856 when all white males could vote regardless of where they owned property. In the 1870’s most all races were allowed to vote; it wasn’t until 1920 where women could vote. Our country has been divided ever since its independence.

The United States is often called “the best country in the world.” But is it really? According to Sebastian Junger in the book Tribe, “The United States is so powerful that the only country to destroy it, is the United States itself.” Our country has showed that we only come together in a time of devastation. Over $100,000,000 was donated to heal the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

These small Texas communities came together because of this disaster but should it take a massive hurricane to bring our country together? As Junger writes, “Intact communities are far more likely to survive than fragmented ones.” In the events of the hurricane, communities were all intact, which allowed multiple survivors. Being an American is helping one another out, not only when most needed but in everyday life. That type of character is just a glimpse of how true Americans should act at all times, not just during the worst. American citizens needs to come to realization that our country will not change unless we all work together.

CC BY-SA 4.0 What It Means To Be An American by Maddi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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