America is nowhere near perfect. Our history is not all sunshine. The shadows from our past loom over us and we still continue to make mistakes. However, in America, we have a drive to improve. Americans always want to take things to the next level. Once we complete one goal, we want to hit an even bigger goal. I am confident that with our drive to improve, Americans will create a better country for future generations.
Americans are very goal-oriented. We have individual and common aspirations. A lot of the time, we have different goals than the person next to us. In the film American Creed, an interviewee states, “in America, it does not matter where you are. It matters where you are going”. In America, we have the opportunity to work hard to achieve our goals however, Americans are in an unfair race. Two different people could have the same finish line, but drastically different starting lines. Americans continue to try and make the starting lines closer together but unfortunately, the reality is, that things will never be fair or completely equitable. Some people will have to work harder than others. In America, we are forced to “break the idea that we are a prisoner of our own circumstances” (American Creed). It’s hard to be a proud American knowing that things are not fair; especially when you have to work twice as hard as someone else. On the other hand, there is a guilty feeling when you realize your achievement is nearly impossible for some. Americans value the opportunity to achieve their goals even if their starting line is not the same.
Often times our goals bring us together although, they can drive us apart. Americans value their freedom and individualism. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of freedom is, “ the quality or state of being free: such as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”. The definition of individualism is, “ the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals”. Freedom and individualism go hand in hand. With this comes a lot of responsibility. Sometimes Americans get caught in the gray space between freedom and rights. This causes a lot of division in our country. However, when we have a common goal it brings us together. Americans value the freedom to achieve their individual goals.
Currently, our nation is divided on the Coronavirus Pandemic. We have some people with the common goal of getting the virus under control. On the other hand, we have another group of people who don’t fear the virus and want to continue a normal life. Some people are in between these viewpoints. The opposite common goals are what is currently dividing our country. Americans fear opposing views. Right now, it is hard to live in America and not judge other people for views you don’t agree with. This crisis has been treated as more of a political issue rather than a public health issue. It seems like America is in a “virtual civil war”. We have two different views that are fighting through media and it is resulting in deaths. On October 13th, 2020, the Washington Post stated, “at least 215,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19”. To be an American, you eventually have to realize that it is not about you; it is about everyone else.
So with all of this division, what has held us together? That would be our American Creed. The American Creed is not one size fits all. With the millions of people in the United States, it is impossible to have one specific value or goal that every single person agrees with. One of the interviewees in the film American Creed stated, “the American Creed is what holds us together and all we have to hold us together is a story”. Change is inevitable and Americans are constantly growing and changing. This growth is what influences our culture. In America, we are lucky to have so many different cultures. And each individual culture has experienced different changes. What is holding us together, is the lessons we have learned from our past. Maybe not everyone agrees with the specific lessons; but the mistakes, hardships, triumphs, and continual growth will never go away.
“American Creed.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 27 Feb. 2018
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.”
Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/.
William Wan, Jacqueline Dupree. “Coronavirus Cases Are Rising in U.S., Sparking Worries the next Big Wave Has Begun.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Oct. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/13/coronavirus-cases-rising/.Tags: AmericanCreed Okemos High School