Over the course of American history, Americans have had separate views of what it means to be an American citizen.

Over the course of American history, Americans have had separate views of what it means to be an American citizen. There have been and still are protests in the streets of who are “True Americans.” There are also arguments all over social media about who should be allowed to live in America. Aside from all of the arguments on who is American, there are the people who argue that the American dream cease to exist. These issues may all lead to bigger problems for Americans in the future.

One of America’s biggest problems is that the people are only focused on the small personal problems that tear it apart instead of taking the time to slow down and see the bigger problems. People are focused on the “here and now,” that they are distracted from the bigger problems at hand that affect everyone in the future. Religious and racist arguments are some of the biggest factors to this cause. It divides Americans, rather than bringing them together and uniting in strength. According to Sebastian Junger, “The United States is so powerful that the only country capable of destroying her might be the U.S. herself.” America’s society has fallen from its unity in a way that many can’t see because it has become normal. As former president George W. Bush stated that, “major institutions of our democracy, public and private,” need to “consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.” The declining trust in America only breeds directive hate and eventually separation.

When the U.S. Constitution was created, there was quite a lot of doubt among the people. After the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution, a reporter sought out Benjamin Franklin, and asked him if we had a sustainable democracy. Mr. Franklin simply stated, “We have a Republic, if you can keep it.” The Founding Fathers built the Constitution so that we could have diversity, but not so much that Americans tear the country in two. The violence that comes with division breeds hate within our country. The United States of America is up in flames, and the rest of the world is just watching in the movie theater, waiting for the climax. It’s as if America were self- destructing, and every small outbreak just contributes to its eruption. It is almost how Sebastian Junger stated in the book Tribe, “the ultimate terrorist strategy would be to just leave the country alone.” As Steve Holmes, a British Observer, states that “outrage and offence become the primary forms of interaction, creating a situation that can no longer sustain nuance...” Finding that even observers around the world can see what is going on should be a wakeup call for the American people.

People still seem to state that America is the greatest country in the world, but why? America isn’t the greatest anymore, not to say that some other country is, but America is not as great as it once was. It’s divided, it’s focusing on every little problem, it’s turning against new leaders that haven’t had a chance to make a difference. Americans need to realize that they are different, and that difference is okay. Differences are what makes America great, but if taken too extreme, it can also tear it apart. It is as Joe Maddon said in the documentary American Creed, “Put people on the same team, and you’ll see all of the differences disappear.” America needs to be a team again, forming together as one and rallying behind one another in strength.




Columbus High School What It Means To Be American

This group is comprised of Columbus High School students in Columbus, Montana. They have written arguments with the National Writing Project's C3WP materials to answer the question "What does it mean to be American?" posed by Mark Meckler in the documentary film American Creed.

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