What It Means To Be American

By Olivia Hess

Many Americans need to be better informed. The 2018 PBS film American Creed talks about what it means to be American. The film encourages us to think a lot about what it is to be an American or what we think it should mean.  The film has connections with a book called Tribe, by Sebastian Junger which also talked about our society, and some problems America is facing with it.  


Less than 20 percent of Americans feel like the American Dream is real or attainable. That is about 1 in 5 people. CNBC article. In an article by Erik Sherman that was published in Forbes, it says 77% of Americans don’t believe in the American Dream. Another article by CNBC that talked about how most Americans think that the American Dream is within reach. This is fairly different than the first two. People are uninformed, or have different opinions of the American Dream.  The big problem is the last group has a different definition of what the American Dream is.  The first two believe that it is rags to riches. Anything we want we can have as long as we are willing to work. The third article thinks that it is just about family and home, but that is possible in a lot of other countries not just America, which doesn’t really make it an American Dream. It’s more of just a world wide dream.


American Creed talks a lot about how we are stuck on the idea of individuality instead of the idea of working together or being a community.  In the film Condoleezza Rice says “In America it doesn’t matter where you came from it matters where you are going.” The rich people in our country are often focused on how to get richer while the poor become poorer, and nobody does anything about this. This is why our society is so unfair and unequal. We need to bring ourselves together and work for the same common goals that we all share instead of focusing on the things that separate us and make us different.  If things were more equal and we tried to work together to help everybody, we would be much better off as a country.  People have different views and we can’t change that, but we can change how we work together to compromise and make the country better.


In the Forbes article by Sherman, he says that “Anyone through gumption and hard work, can achieve any degree of financial success.” Many people don’t feel as though the American Dream is attainable. A big part of this is because of the way our society has become.  You are going to have to work hard to accomplish your goals, which is harder for some people than others. It has become almost impossible to equally have a better life for everybody in the United States because there just isn’t enough money to give everybody what they want.  This isn’t something that can easily be overcome everybody has to come together to work hard for it, which will be easier if we do it together rather than be against each other.


In a Military Times article by Leo Shane, he says that  “One in four troops say that they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service member, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.” This shows that many people are uninformed about things like this because it gets covered up by other things in the media. People don’t seem to think this is a big deal, but we need to start spreading the word about what it means to be an American.

image_printPrint this page.


0 0 votes
Rate This Post
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Email allisonpr@gmail.com Call or Text 917-612-3006

Missions on Youth Voices
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account