America's Survival

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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America's Survival What is an American? A simple definition would conclude that it is one would resides within, or has citizenship to America. So are we Americans? Are Mexicans Americans? Don't they live in North America? I'm not sure how we are Americans, it reflects nothing of the country I live in. Canadians are Americans, but they are also Canadians; Mexicans are Americans, but they are also Mexicans. We are only Americans; we have no major ethnic background, nor do we have an official language (i.e. France has French). The United States of America, in essence, small provinces conjoined into a large, prosperous nation.

Having just said that, I have decreed that one cannot be qualified as an American through his core beliefs and his actions supporting the growing dream called America. Everyone helps to build America, and that's why it's important that we all act like Americans, and by ideal American Standards.

I believe that for America to remain prosperous and fruitful we must return to patriotism, become unified, gain more tolerance for others, and remain progressive and forward thinking.

One is not just born an American, one must live as an American and you must believe in what American values stand for, and be a patriot. Patriotism is to be proud to be an American. My country: Right or Wrong. However, I don't believe that the phrase "America, Love it or Leave it," is an apt one. I think it should be "America, Love it or Change it," because that is the beauty of America, you can be heard and change things that may seem unjust or not correct. "Patriotism is saying "˜I regret I have but one life to give for my country,' before you're even fighting." (Higby, Colonel, Interview, Washington, DC 4/27/01) I think that Americans nowadays are too quick to put things down in America, and that they aren't proud to live here. "It's not till you leave here [America] that you realize just what it means to be an American." (Fetter, David R., Interview, State Dept. Washington, DC, 4/27/01) It seems that other countries are very proud to represent their country, whether their people are out of country on a vacation or right at home except for Americans, it seems. One can see this representation very well in international athletic events; both sides proudly wear their team's colors and support their side whole-heartedly. This simple support is what we need in America. Not just in sporting events, but all the time. Patriotism unites and brings us (Americans) together as a whole.

How would you think an American (meaning someone who lives in the US) would feel about his or her country? We learned firsthand in New York how these cultures mixing together is a very large and important part of our country. We learned that over 60% of the people in New York aren't natural born citizens. Americans have an identity crisis; we don't know who we are and are often confused about our heritage. Rarely do I hear people say that they are American in their ancestry. How many generations does it take to make one certain nationality? Unity is harder to achieve in America than almost any other country in the world because we are all so different. America has had some problems in the past with segregation in the past with the Black people, Indians, Latinos, and Chinese. Although most of this needless classification has been erased from our society, in some places, it still remains. As Americans, we need to not only practice unity within ourselves, but spread it to all of those around us in hopes of making America better faster. As former President Bill Clinton says: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America." Through all of the hardships of being a melting pot, America is dampened by understanding for others in our country and out.

Tolerance is perhaps the best quality we have as Americans, and in spite of small incidents, I believe that we have a lot of it. Tolerance brings us together as a country, and what we lack in physical unity or unity in mannerisms, we make up for by joining together and creating a prosperous nation built on equal and fair opportunities for all and respect for everyone. Its wonderful how we are so tolerating of the other races in America. Now, one may think that all of the racist action in America is bad, but it's not as bad as some of the other parts of the world.

Tolerance isn't just about different races getting along; it can be inter racial, local, commercial, and governmental. Americans aren't as governmentally tolerant as they should be, but I believe that for this to become a reality, the government must be trustworthy toward its people. People make up America's government and people drive America's government. Considering that, I think that the government could do a little more to benefit the populace. Having more people working for the government instead of against it would make America a much more proactive place to live and work in.

With all of it's diversity and change, this country continues to boast a very successful economy and business market, not to mention one of the strongest governments and military powers in the world. Once the country solves some of it's internal problems, it will do so much better and someday reach out to the other nations of the world and lend them a hand on helping their problems, as former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt says: "There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." -Franklin D. Roosevelt World peace on a basic level could be achieved if all of the countries of the world followed this regime. I know it would never happen because such things like war can never be abandoned until humanity advances mentally and morally.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." (Gandhi, Mohandas,, New Delhi, India 1901) I believe in America's ideals and I believe that fundamental world peace can be achieved through simple actions and helping others (and maybe a phenomenal diplomat). What I've just written about isn't what America's survival depends on, this country would survive in the state its in now for a very long time. What I've done is spoken my voice on what America is, and what it should be and CAN be, and what we as Americans can do to make this dream a reality.

All quotes taken from: "Quotes on Patriotism" 1997-2001, Inc., Http:// 6/14/01 "Quotes on Progression" 1997-2001, Inc, 6/14/01 "Quotes on Revolution" 1997-2001, Inc, 6/14/01