What exactly is Americanism? Nowadays, the meaning of such a word has been lost, muddied even. With tensions at the highest they've ever been, now more than ever, we must recall true Americanism...
American. We all know the word ‘American’ (as well as its entire ideology) has been tossed around with no regard to what the term actually means. To rub salt in the wound, not only have we lost the true meaning of Americanism, but we’ve also been too concentrated on reaching the top that we’ve lost sight of other’s perspectives. Completely disregarded them. Only one person can be right, and that person is you. However, that isn’t what America is about nor what it should ever be about. I believe that Americanism should be about freedom, unity (regardless of who you are or where you come from), and help from others.
While there may be some people who haven’t lost sight of true American values, the people who did lose their values have garnered so much wealth and so much power that as individuals there is little we can do to stop them. I’m not saying that self-growth isn’t important, that you shouldn’t be trying to achieve that prime version of yourself, in fact, I advocate for it. However, what we need to take the time to do is remind ourselves that we live in America. Nevertheless, one cannot simply live in America, because to live in America is to be a part of something. Something bigger than ourselves. We are a part of America, just as much as America is a part of us.
What about the facts? Where are the facts that support this idea? Well, let’s look at it this way. As per the data provided by Samantha Smith from the Pew Research Center, “This financially comfortable, male-dominated group overwhelmingly supports smaller government, lower corporate tax rates and believes in the fairness of the nation’s economic system. And a large majority of Core Conservatives (68%) express a positive view of U.S. involvement in the global economy 'because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.' A large majority of Core Conservatives (68%) express a positive view of U.S. involvement in the global economy 'because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.”
Some context; this data provided by the Pew Research Center details key differences between the right and the left. Which, for those who don’t know the left wing party supports socialism, somewhat constrained government, and yearn for economic equality. The right wing party supports hierarchy, order, and traditional views. An assertive way of categorizing these parties would also be to say that the democrats support the left and that the republicans support the right. The quote listed above is from the right wing party and shares their views. Views that support an unjust order that has continued for way too long. An order that allows the rich to profit, take advantage of the less fortunate, and give them a strong political standing that they can use any which way they would like.
Regardless, we can debate all day about which side is better or why the other side is worse, but rather than wasting time, I can offer a suggestion. We can all collectively agree that we are Americans. Undocumented or not, if you are in the US, you are a part of America. I’m not particularly fond that America is being run with split views (ie. the left and the right; the conservatives and the liberals; the Democrats and the Republicans), but instead of comparing the two parties (or more) we can combine the best of both worlds and agree that what we do is for the future of America. America isn’t just a place, it’s our home, our community, it’s our freedom. Don’t jeopardize others’ position just to further your own party, or social standing, or whatever it may be. When we win, we do it together. When we lose, we do it together. As Americans.
Another problem that heavily harms Americanism is racism. We all know that America’s past hasn’t exactly been ideal. From slavery to 9/11, we have all experienced a lot (Some more than others, to which, my condolences). Unfortunately, there have been some people who were overly swayed by harmful and toxic propaganda. The ideas spread by such propaganda, still exist and are being used today. The idea that other races are dangerous, underhanded, and that they steal jobs. What’s worse is that some people are quick to voice that ‘white’ is the best race. Which, quite frankly, is not true.
As stated in the book, Islamophobia and Racism in America (2017), written by Erik Love, “Such opinions find expression in nearly any discussion about terrorism, whether it takes place on the floor of the United States Senate, on nationally broadcast news programs, or around the family dinner table. This stereotype is so deeply ingrained that only acts of violence committed by “Muslims” are immediately and unquestioningly labeled as “terrorist attacks.” In today’s political climate, it is seen as a mark of seriousness, of “telling it like it is,” to assert impudently that “Muslims” are uniquely dangerous and predisposed to commit terrorism.”
These types of ideas undermine true Americanism and prevent true acceptance of others. The way that media portrays situations, word choice used by officials/people with very strong social and political influence, as well as our past with slavery and the way those ideas of being better than others has been passed down, all contribute to the current situation today. However, what we also need to remember is that America isn’t just white. It’s also yellow, red, brown, black, and so much more. We need to remember that it is our duty as Americans, to make sure Americanism prevails and is with all.
There are some who argue, people have their own skills and abilities. That they should stop making excuses, and just accept that sometimes, things are the way they are. Well, the statement in and of itself isn’t entirely false; it entices to some realism. What does need to be clarified is that, there’s a difference between being able/skillful and having expectations being set too high. Just because one successful entrepreneur was able to succeed and defy the vices, doesn’t mean the next entrepreneur will. Sometimes, we need help and helping others is a big part of Americanism and success. It isn’t just about who’s skillful or who isn’t, it’s about knowing your own strengths and using those strengths, not only to your advantage, but to the advantage of others as well.
With tensions at an all time high, and with the election just having recently been called, now more than ever, we must adhere to Americanism. To our American Creed. My American creed and what I believe in is that; America is a place of freedom, unity, and helping others. Instead of swaying, and disagreeing with others whose views oppose our own, we should be helping each other. Maybe it's integrating other’s ideas with our own. Pointing out certain flaws, that may affect a certain proposition or law from being passed. Whatever it may be, we must help one another. We must adhere to freedom. We must remember what Americanism truly is. That is the true American creed. That is my American creed.