Our society seems to be self-centered and too focused on their own individual issues rather than helping others. We have to work hard and accept everyone’s differences in order to build that American Dream.

Uluwehi Brooks

May 11, 2018

The Great Depression spanned from 1929 to 1939. This was a very severe worldwide recession and affected millions of people. Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with the idea of the New Deal and became effective after becoming president. According to the Library of Congress, explained in the article, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1933-1945, the New Deal had many different programs to help get people by during the depression.

On September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were attacked. At this time many people in the United States were devastated, frightened, and angry. Over 2,900 people were killed as a result of that attack and a little over 2,600 people were injured. This event caused a drastic increase in airport security and secured areas in general. The whole idea of working hard and coming together as a community and as a nation, then we will be successful at what we do. After both the Great Depression and the attack on September 11, our nation came together to get out of the devastation that our country was in.

The problem that we have today is that our society seems to be self-centered and too focused on their own individual issues rather than helping others. In the PBS documentary film American Creed, Junot Diaz, a Dominican-American writer and professor, stated, “I think that often, the idea of patriotism in this country tends to be turning away, not looking, denying.” To further elaborate on that, putting forth the effort to help others who need it and recognizing there is a problem that needs to be fixed and fixing it, is the best thing that will help our country prosper. It seems as though as a nation, we only come together when a very tragic thing happens to us, rather than maintaining that nurturing state. Diaz gave a background of his childhood experiences. He explained that as a young immigrant kid who didn’t really know much, it was actually for the best. There weren’t any racial gap because they didn’t “know any better.” After experiencing that, he explained that with this profound diversity, they could still make things happen. He stated, “But I think there is no greater love of a nation than to look for the places where we’re not doing our best job.” A nation together, needs to help those who are most affected by those big tragedies that occur. Instead of only picking yourself up, we need to turn to picking up our neighbor, our community, our state, and our country.

Eric Liu, an American writer and founder of Citizen University who served as deputy assistant to President Clinton on domestic policy at the White House between 1999 and 2000, stated in the same film, “I want for us as citizens to be as prepared and powerful and engaged and literate and ready to participate and contribute as we possibly can.” In a TED Ed film titled How To Understand Power, Liu explains the six sources of power. There are six main ways that everyone can deal with power on a daily basis. The sixth source of power is numbers. Numbers meaning people. Having crowds of people cooperate and doing what will make our country powerful. The second source of power is wealth. Wealth plays a role in who or what is powerful because there is that ability to buy over the ones who aren’t as wealthy. Diaz also stated in the PBS Documentary, that we don’t pay much attention to the poor which is the very reason why we can’t prosper. From those six sources of power, we need to figure out where everyone is at on that spectrum, and help those who need it the most. We see so many citizens homeless on the streets. We spend little to no time on trying to help these poor people become literate and become educated. Liu argues that the only thing that holds us together is a creed, not one that’s filled with laws, but one that truly identifies who we are.

If we don’t work on our unity and education, then we won’t be able to achieve much. We have to work hard and accept everyone’s differences in order to build that American Dream. The American Dream is a very make-believe concept that everyone wishes they were a part of. It is a very stereotypical thought that the American Dream is where we will end up rich, famous, and have every unnecessary thing that we could ever want. The only way to get the so-called dream is to work hard. 




Columbus High School American Creed - Continuing the Conversation

This group consists of student responses to the American Creed documentary from PBS and Citizen Film.

More responses from American Creed - Continuing the Conversation
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More responses from "community", "dream", "education", "self-determination", and "unity"