What comes to mind when you think of the phrase, “being American?” Is it freedom, and justice, and laying down your life for your fellow man? Is it religion, or religious tolerance? Is it acceptance of those around you, or staying in line with a set code of morals and way of living? With as often as people spout the phrase “proud to be American,” one would assume there is an underlying code of ethics.
A checklist, if you will.
Not so much.
America is adjusting to #Islam. https://t.co/NR1E0aaiZg #beingmuslim #donaldtrump #beingamerican
— This Is America (@thisisamericatv) October 23, 2016
#BEINGAMERICAN does NOT mean free hand outs @BernieSanders #RNCinCLE @realDonaldTrump
— Jennifer ❤︎ ✞ (@ur2laugh) July 26, 2016
so crisps are chips and chips are fries… Got it #beingamerican
— Peter Tellone (@petertellone) May 12, 2016
Putting aside local colloquialisms and philosophical statements, there is a drastic divide between America’s two major parties on what it means to “be American.”
President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban,” for example, is plummeting down the bottomless cavern that has ripped between the two parties, and it’s made everyone question what it actually means to “be American.”
Let’s look at the stances that each party considers to be “inherently American:”
- Around 60% of Republicans believe that a country rooted in a particular religious belief (AKA: Christianity) is important to the American identity. Only 30% of Democrats believe the same.
- Because of those religious influences, Democrats have a tendency to be more open towards other lifestyles, while Republicans holds “Americanism” to the standards set out in traditional Christianity (i.e.: marriage between one man and one woman, pro-life vs. pro-choice, etc.)
- Republicans believe that social programs should be granted under criteria that promotes future self-sustainment, while Democrats believe that social programs should be available to all who meet specific criteria without being hassled as to their current situation.
These are just a few of the dozens of varying platforms that we, as a country, talk about when we are talking about “being American.” We talk about how we care for our own, how we look out for one another, how we have particular traditions on particular holidays, and how we are a sanctuary. A melting-pot. A safe-haven. An “insert stereotypical umbrella term here.”
But, are we really?
That’s the question.
When you talk of how “American” you are, are you talking about what this country actually is? Or what we all wish it was?
This is the final map of the 2017 general election, and here is what it shows us: that Blue America and Red America rarely interact.
There is a massive divide between the people of this country, and its visible right there on that map.
If we can’t agree on what it means to “be American,” how in the world are we supposed to find common ground on… Well, anything? Running this country? Helping its citizens? Standing for liberty? Bringing about justice?
How are we supposed to agree on anything that has to do with being American if we can’t even agree to interact with one another?
There isn’t an easy answer, and many would proclaim that there isn’t an answer at all. So, this is what is left: our current presidential administration is the most controversial it’s ever been. It features some of the most hard-right individuals that have ever taken office, and it is incalculable in the lies that have been perpetrated right on national television from the start.
Do you know where a good place to start it?
Admission would be a very good start.
I'm beginning to regret my Trump vote. First of all, every time he turns around he's causing a riot. Kissing up to Russia too. What in hell?
— Steve Bosell (@StephenBosell) February 20, 2017
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay/Public Domain.