Our "United" States of America

This argumentative essay talks about my American creed. The importance of unity and community and working towards achieving them is my American creed.

By Yao Wang from UCLA CS in California

What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to live in America? Here’s the problem. America should be a united country with people being of native descent to those that fly across the continent to live here. However, America does not have one singular narrative that all Americans can identify with. It's separated into the left wing and the right wing; the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The country is divided into two and both societies function based on opposing beliefs. According to the New York Times article “The Collapse of American Identity” written by Robert P. Jones in 2017, "This end is not inevitable, but if we are to continue to make one out of many, leaders of both parties will have to step back from the reactivity of the present and take up the more arduous task of weaving a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves.” To weave a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves will be the biggest and most needed advancement of this country. The problem with our country being divided is more clear than ever. To form one singular narrative and to come together as one community is what the quote is saying and it’s significant because a lot of the events happening today are caused by highly biased beliefs from each party. To avoid the end, the country must become united. Everyone no matter race, color, religion, or sexual orientation should be free to be who they want to be. Working towards unity and community should be the American Creed.

Deidre Prevett is an educator to the Native kids in Oklahoma. She's a 5th generation educator and she teaches her students their history and each others' histories as she believes it is one of the responsibilities of freedom. Deidre Prevett is Creek Indian and she spends her time working towards making a change for the future generation, teaching her students to learn about people’s histories and to accept everyone because that’s the way she sees freedom. To understand everyone’s backgrounds is a responsibility Deidre Prevett thinks that comes with achieving freedom in a community that people can call their own. She is striving for change, however, America is still too divided. In the article, “The Collapse of American Identity,” a 2017 survey showed the opposing reactions to the changing demographics with Democrats, who are twenty-nine percent white and Christian, embracing these changes as they envision an evolving American identity, strengthened and renewed by diversity. However Republicans, who are nearly seventy-five percent white and Christian, feel that they are being besieged as diversity increases and white Christian nationalism ceases. This is because of the differences in each party's cultural beliefs. An Associated Press-NORC poll showed that sixty-six percent of Democrats and only thirty-five percent of Republicans agreed that the merging of cultures and values from around the world are very important to the American identity. Sixty-four percent of Republicans with only thirty-two percent of Democrats say that a culture based in Christian religious beliefs is very important. Also, large majorities of Democrats believe that minority groups like African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims, and the LGBTQ+ community face a lot of discrimination in America, while most Republicans believe that Christians and whites face just about as much discrimination. Only about twenty-seven percent of Republicans believe that blacks are discriminated upon. These different perspectives cause America to create two different narratives for Americans to follow. This separation can be seen down through history and America isn’t great and hasn’t been. People like Deidre Prevett educate the next generation to teach them what a lot of adults today don’t understand.

To talk a bit about history, America’s reputation has only been going downhill. In comparison to other countries, our system of government is very dysfunctional. The differences in each party are creating segregation and discrimination that is ruining this country. Based on the article, “The Collapse of American Identity” just a century ago, America's demographics were very different. Christians and whites felt "secure" as it was simply making some room for new groups at a table they already owned. The new reality and the fact that it's no longer them sitting on a pedestal makes many of the Republicans uncomfortable. This new reality is causing the two parties different temptations. The Republicans feel the need to keep a form of white Christian nationalism, with racial and religious beliefs as the American identity. They want to shrink the demographic to support the absolute power of one ruler. The Democratic Party struggles with organizing its more diverse coalition with temptations to include all groups but white people who strongly identify as Christian. This is no small matter as many countries that aren’t on good terms with America are using the division of this country to their advantage. From the New York Times article “We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us” written by Susan E. Rice in 2018, "The Russians, too, have preyed on our divisions, interfering in the 2016 presidential election; they reportedly continue to amplify false news stories on social media that stoke fear of “the other.” This is how Russia reached and likely influenced voters with messages that magnify mutual hostility and favor particular candidates.” Using the fact that each party feels hostility towards the other party, Russia was able to use the platforms on social media to deliberately create more tension between the two parties. However, our administration failed to get it together and two out of the three congressional investigations into the Russian meddling in the 2016 election fell apart. This was because of the biased efforts from each party made to distract Americans from finding the mounting evidence that pointed to this incident ever even occurring. Even the different parties in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee couldn't agree on the Russian threat. Not only did America dig a hole for themselves, but they also couldn’t get out. It was more than clear that America couldn't put country over party as neither the administration or Congress had done anything to reduce our vulnerability to electoral interference after the 2016 incident.

However, some people might think that the Republicans and the Democrats should just stay in their own lanes. In the 2017 article “The Collapse of American Identity” it states, “The temptation for the Republican Party, especially with Donald Trump in the White House, is to double down on a form of white Christian nationalism, which treats racial and religious identity as tribal markers and defends a shrinking demographic with increasingly autocratic assertions of power. For its part, the Democratic Party is contending with the difficulties of organizing its more diverse coalition while facing its own tribal temptations to embrace an identity politics that has room to celebrate every group except whites who strongly identify as Christian.” Both parties strongly oppose each other’s beliefs with the Republicans feeling the need to bring back white Christian nationalism and autocracy and the Democrats feeling the exact opposite. The importance of community unfolds lists of problems with our country. Although what I am arguing has involved a lot of politics, it shows how our system of government is trying to ruin itself. Building a community is vital to saving America and it even connects to the latest news regarding the 2020 election. What kind of country deliberately tries to “demonize” another part of the country? It’s like there’s two Americas. The “United” States should be a place full of diverse cultures and a country where the idea of another race being more superior is eliminated.

Many people come to America for a better life. My family moved for that exact reason. My dad had work in America and my family didn’t plan on moving to America just yet. However as time passed, my dad felt that life in China would be too hard for me and my older brother once we grew up and stepped out into the harsh society. He and my mom agreed on moving to America and on the first day of second grade, I noticed the immediate differences. Though I didn’t even understand what the teacher was saying that day, I felt the light atmosphere in the classroom and made friends with students that looked so different from me. The major league baseball manager, Joe Maddon, seemed to share a similar story to mine. Joe Maddon grew up with his dad working in coal mines and his grandparents, from both sides, emigrated to America seeking a better future. However, he experienced many hardships of poverty and grew up as a descendant from another country. Hazelton was the city Joe Maddon grew up in and it passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. The Act was passed to primarily target those who didn't look white and were latinos. The people in Hazelton defended the Act and had negative views on those who were immigrants and those who were not white. Having gone through such a toxic environment, he grew up wanting to create a warm and accepting community for the future generation and he did so by gathering people from different backgrounds to come together to play baseball. Joe Maddon’s grandparents emigrated to America hoping for a better future, yet Joe Maddon witnessed the destruction of his hometown and it was caused by none other than his own community. This sounds all too familiar to me. As I grew up, life in America had changed. The 2016 election marked a horrible time in my life and terror continued to reign on my community with the recent news on police brutality and the BLM movement. 2020 has been the worst year of my life so far with a spreading pandemic and the 45th president of America, Donald J. Trump. Ever since he entered the White House, America has not been great. Instead of unifying the country, he encouraged division and set fear in the mind’s of his own people. He, as a Republican, caused so many setbacks in the goal to uniting America. Now because of him, there is even more tension and hatred between the Democrats and the Republicans. But why was he even elected in the first place? Why would Americans elect him after the long presidency of Barack Obama, a Democrat. This points out the problem with having two different parties in a country and the consequences of it. Trump was elected and thousands of lives were lost when he served as president. With problems from revoking acts Obama had passed to protect the people of America to ignoring the health of deportees as he forced deportations to continue during a spreading pandemic, which he still isn’t educated about. The people of America are divided and so is the system of government. How can life in America be great when there’s clearly two Americas?

On November 7, 2020, America turned over a new leaf. The 46th president has been decided and Trump won’t be serving another four years. However, that doesn’t mean life in America has been changed. The system of government is still separated into two and America still has a long way to go before creating a united community and a united country. Both Deidre Prevett and Joe Maddon strive to create positive changes for the future generation. Deidre Prevett is an educator who teaches children their own history and teaches them the importance of accepting who they are and who the people around them are. Joe Maddon is a major league baseball manager and he teaches baseball to people of all backgrounds. They both recognize the problem with discrimination and with white supremacy in this toxic society and are doing their best to create change. What is my American creed? It is to build a community, to unite our current system of government, and to weave a new national narrative that all Americans can call their own. Like our forty-sixth president, Joe Biden, had said, “We choose hope over fear, truth over lies, and, yes, unity over division. So, folks, it’s time for us to lift our heads up, open our hearts, and remember who we are. We are the United States of America.”

UCLA CS

English

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