What does it mean to be an “American”? An American is someone who has values like equality, or beliefs like the American dream or a sense of American creed. Across American culture, there are several examples such as in the Declaration of Independence, and even books like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.
Equality is a value that Americans should have. The Declaration of Independence states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”(US 1776). This says that all Americans are equal and that everybody should be treated the same way. If we as Americans treat each other equally, we can see the good that everyone brings to the U.S. as a whole.
A belief of the common American is that of the American dream. The idea of the American dream is that in America you have the chance to dream big and earn wealth and live happily in a nice white picket fenced home. There are people like Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian, who have done well from their poorer upbringings and have done well for themselves in life.
American creed is summed up by “I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies”(The American’s). stated by William Tyler Page. It is like American nationalism, you have to find pride in your country no matter who is there. If we do that, then we can see that everyone is American, no matter their color, gender, religion, it doesn’t matter if we all love and support each other in this country.
If we can see that everyone has values, beliefs, and American creeds, than we can see that we are all American. No matter how diverse we as U.S. residents may be, we are all still just Americans.
Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York, Little, Brown and Company, 2007.
The American’s Creed, www.usflag.org/american.creed.html.
What it means to be American by Cooper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.