When it comes to the topic of “America”, most people think of Freedom. The video titled “Marine life in the Midwest” stresses the importance of patriotism, which speaker connects this to why we should fight to preserve the ideals of our country. Tegan Griffith first gives her piece of mind on what it means to be American, “When your country needs you, you serve”. In other words, Griffith believes that part of being American, is the ideals in which are the foundation of our country, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, is worth dying for. In another segment, Griffith states how she enjoys watching people protest, exercising their right to freedom of speech. Which she further elaborates on when she says, “Even if I don’t necessarily agree with their opinions, I appreciate them because that freedom is the fabric of my uniform.” I believe this source portrays America as “a city on a hill”, and implies that it’s an honor to ensure the rights of American citizens.
In contrast, a clip from “The Newsroom” suggests why people shouldn’t take pride in being American. During a press conference, the main character, Will McAvoy is asked a simple question, “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world? The woman to his right says, “diversity and opportunity.” The other says, “Freedom, and Freedom.” Mcvoy answers with it’s not, “You’re going to tell students that America is so star spangled awesome, that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? … 180 of them have freedom!” He then goes on to list every single statistic that we aren’t first in, which is almost every single one. While McAvoy doesn’t share the popular opinion, he only states facts, which makes his argument especially more powerful when exposing blind patriotism. Simply put, the author believes that America was great when we were working towards ideals. However, currently, our nation’s progress has slowed, as if the problem has been solved.
In my opinion, the question, “What does it mean to be American?” Is poorly written. You can’t group an entire country under one word as diverse as America. While the first source says America is great, and the other says there’s more work to be done, my family has a different experience. For me, being American is having the opportunity to get somewhere in life, if you work hard enough. My Dad immigrated here after fleeing the Khmer Rouge. He always stresses that opportunity is a privilege and how lucky I am to choose the direction of my life. I believe that you don’t have to be American born, to have an American experience. I think any story that’s been influenced by being in America, or American people, is American literature.