Being American means I can kneel during the national anthem if I want to. Being American means we can fly a flag that stands for freedom and equality. Being American means I can join the military and serve my country if I want to. Being an American means I watch football on weekends in the Fall and watch baseball everyday in the Spring/Summer. And being American means I can write, create, and say what I want whenever I want to.
The essence of being American is that I am free to do those things and I am free not to do those things. At the same time, the essence of being American is celebrating and embracing that freedom, not just for ourselves but for everyone. We are free to agree and to disagree.
Sometimes, especially now when our nation is divided politically, division and disagreement is the normal instead of agreement and compromise. For example, we are divided about President Trump and his policies. We are divided about Colin Kaepernick and football players who kneel during the national anthem. He did this in “protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States”(Wyche). We are divided about how to control our borders and resolve the problem of undocumented immigrants.
Yet, while political fights like Trump and Kaepernick are divisive, Americans are typically united when it comes to helping others. At our core, we want our neighbors to succeed and that belief doesn’t depend on where those neighbors came from, their race, or their ethnic background. Nearly 250 years ago, thirteen diverse colonies united to become one nation and beat the British. Today, we can still find strength when we unite to overcome challenges. Just look at how we respond to disasters like the California wildfires and Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. The bottom line is that while politics can divide us, humanity brings us together and makes us stronger.
Jenkins,L.”Citizenship.”A More Perfect
Union.amhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/memory/topic.asp?TopicID=4, Accessed 1 October 2018.
Vargas, Jose Antonio.”What Does it Mean to be an American.”HuffPost, 3 September 2012,
www.huffingtonpost.com/jose-antonio-vargas/jose-antonio-vargas-meaning-of-american_b_1647894.html. Accessed 1 October 2018.
Wyche, Steve.” Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during the national anthem.” NFL.com, 27
at-during-national-anthem. Accessed 1 October 2018.
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