General Question

PupnTaco's avatar

What does it mean to be American?

Asked by PupnTaco (13865points) April 2nd, 2009 from iPhone

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17 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Either an accident of birth, or years of struggle and hard work to earn it.

jrpowell's avatar

My parents fucked here. That is about it. I don’t really care for the United States. I wish I was born in Sweden or New Zealand.

And the first motherfuton that says, “America, love it or leave it” gets punched in the dick.

This country is fucked up. And I would leave this place if it was as simple as buying a ticket. I have tried, it isn’t easy to get citizenship in another country.

sandystrachan's avatar

American = Native Indian American or an English/Irish reject .

mattbrowne's avatar

Honoring the Constitution.

(I’m a German citizen, but my two children are American because they were born in the US.)

rawpixels's avatar

I love America, but I’m starting to feel like my freedoms are slowly slipping away. For instance, the right to smoke. Tobacco is a legal product for those over 18, yet I won’t be able to afford to smoke soon based on the heavy taxes. Also, if I wanted to start up my own restaurant/bar in my city, I wouldn’t even be allowed to smoke in it. This is just one of many things that pisses me off about my once great nation.

kenmc's avatar

Killing brown people. Indirectly at least.

fireside's avatar

Citizenship.

aprilsimnel's avatar

As long as my fellow citizens ask me, “What are you?” and respond to my answer, “I’m an American,” with, “No, what are you really?”, then I can’t tell you.

Apparently, being born, raised and educated in this country and descended from people who’ve been here for thousands of years in some cases and since the 1600s in others counts for shit if you’re darker than a manilla folder, never mind Obama being in office.

wundayatta's avatar

The myth of the American: independent go-getter, not afraid of the unknown. Loves his/her country. Wraps themselves in flag. Reveres constitution. Believes American democracy is the best system in the world. When travelling, is loud and doesn’t understand, nor care to understand other cultures. Everything is a Disney experience. Forthright. Stands for God, Truth, and the American Way. Religious and patriotic. Hand over heart, facing flag, reciting pledge of allegiance. Family-oriented (in old-fashioned way).

Of course, real America is much different; it is not so monolithically religious, it has room for cooperation as well as competition, it views family in much more complex ways, it is quieter and more respectful overseas, it thinks and cares about science. It is technologically savvy. It questions its leadership, and takes action when it believes the leaders are wrong.

I love being a real American. I can’t abide being a mythological American.

PupnTaco's avatar

Right on.

VS's avatar

@daloon – EXACTLY RIGHT!!

augustlan's avatar

<Gives daloon a standing ovation.>

tinyfaery's avatar

Umm…do not dis Disney. Without him we’d have no Disneyland aka The Happiest Place on Earth.

When I think of Americans, I think of daloon’s myth. I see it in the media, and I feel like that image is what is being sold to me. When I think of Daloon’s 2nd definition, I envision a small percentage of the population, educated (formally, or not) and knowledgable about other cultures and ideas, who are capable of looking beyond themselves. Even in my own little microcosm, in socially liberal (for the most part) Los Angeles, I’d say that more than 50% of people adhere to the idea that the “myth” is the ideal reality.

sandystrachan's avatar

@daloon Real American so you are a native Indian then ? !

wundayatta's avatar

@sandystrachan: If we’re gonna play “who got here first,” then my people were here 20,000 years before the so-called Native Americans ever set foot on the continent. So yes, I am a Native American, and a Native European, and a Native African, and, for all I know, A native Asian.

I reject notions of boundaries, and believe we are all citizens of the world, and we should behave as if we all have responsibility for assuring the future of all children. I still think that is a perfectly legitimate extension what it means to be an American (citizen of the United States). I’m sure most people will disagree with me, but hey, that’s the beauty of agreeing we should all have freedom of expression.

VS's avatar

@daloon – Once again, I salute your answer!

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