Raise the Nation Up

Posted by Dani K. Oklahoma
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My op-ed piece on why it's good to take pride in being American

What does it truly mean to be an American?

Like many obscure definitions this has no true meaning but instead means whatever people want it to. But I believe there is an actual meaning that unites all of us. The real meaning of being an American is straining to achieve the best possible future for everyone. We all have a bond to a common goal of improving this nation in ways that “Raise the whole nation up”. As Condoleezza Rice put it, “It didn’t matter where you came from, it mattered where you were going. You could come from humble circumstances, you could do great things”

When most people look at America they think of opportunities. Even in the film American Creed, many people whose parents were immigrants said their parents came to America because of the prospect of a better life. For example, one student participating in the seminar said that her father ”came here to America from Poland without any money in his pocket, and without knowing any English”. Why would people move here blindly for opportunities? It is because America raises its citizens along with its government. We bring the whole country up to achieve great things together.

My parents immigrated to America in the year 2002. They came from Pakistan to receive higher education in the field of medicine. They moved to Pennsylvania in 2004 and a month after moving they had me. My parents believed in a better life and more opportunities in America. When asked about why he moved here, my father said that they moved here “for a better life. There were more opportunities in medicine, and though we originally came for an education we ended up staying because we thought our kids could live a better life here.”

Some people say that being an American is not a good thing, that people should not take pride in their nation. I believe this is simply not the case. Anyone and everyone should show nationalism, but when people use this argument against America, they are usually targeting just us. They mostly use the same basic arguments such as:
Americans have high obesity rates! Actually, America is ranked 19 worldwide, and compared to the top country with more than 50% obesity, America only has 34%. This is still a big number but it is not nearly as large.
They spend too much on the military! We are actually fighting on the front lines right now, and spending money on something like this has usually been worth our while.
Most arguments are similar to these, and while there are problems with America, the reason we pride ourselves on being Americans is trying to solve them.

Being an American is about taking opportunities to improve our lives. Americans are resilient. We wish to make the world a better place by giving people equal opportunities. We all want to ”raise the whole nation up”. We take pride in being Americans. We are not better than anyone else but we do have a sense of nationalism that keeps us together.

Published on Oct 4, 2018
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