Social Question

Steve_A's avatar

Am I responsible for my fellow American?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) March 2nd, 2010

Not in the literal sense I would mean, but rather in a sense of what is going on in the country. Where do I as a citizen stand? How do we each impact our country and if this country is made by the people for the people what can I do to make it better?

How can I become more aware of what Americans need and the issues that have them hard pressed in economic,doubtful situations,and war.

In what matter do I decide that my decision is the right decision just not for you but my fellow American?

What can I do to possibly enlighten,inform and give hope to people who have nothing but fear and doubt?

And to the current people who are in government,congress,both parties, and even the president and the like. Do you a fellow citizen,American, equal to me regardless of your job title or the amount of money. Do you have me and my fellow American’s best interest in mind?

Thanks to people here on Fluther I was once again reminded me of a great quote.
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

My question then today is, I ask you people of Fluther what can I do for my country?

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24 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Depends on what your idea of “country” is.

noyesa's avatar

Do things in the interest of everyone, no matter what that might mean. Much of the trouble we’re having in this country right now is because people are largely self-interested, and our capitalist mindset has us believing that it’s in everyone’s best interest to be self-interested. The decisions being made by the banks (high risk investment), the Fed (riding the housing bubble), all of these things lead to catastrophic events that ruined millions of lives in the interest of chasing higher (inflated/non-real) profits.

Don’t do that. =)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Just vote and stop worrying about being your brother’s keeper.The USA is a country of rugged individuals who have the right to fail.We shouldn’t try to take that away.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Try to “Buy American” and help keep your fellow Americans employed.

tinyfaery's avatar

No, but you are a citizen of the world and you are accountable to everyone and everything. Otherwise, you yourself will suffer.

davidbetterman's avatar

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

philosopher's avatar

I wish more people felt like you. I feel as you do Steve. Sometimes I feel that those of us born here have become the minority.
If you are a hard core American up bought up with American values your a minority;unless your wealthy. Middle class people have to work with many who hate America. I do not want them here.
America is a wonderful nation. We welcome everyone. We all work hard.
We should help American’s first. Other nation’s would never put American’s first.
If anyone denies this they are deluded.
You can not even work in Australia if your not a citizen without permission.
This nation must concentrate on what is best for us. We can not save the world. Anymore than you or I can.
The problem is the L and R wing Politician’s do not care about the Middle Class. They do not care about America. They care about their power and bank account. They are morally corrupt.
I will simply laugh at anyone attempting to deny this. L wingers will but they do not live in reality.
I Will not waste my time auguring with them or the morally corrupt extreme R wingers.
America has a right to make American’s top priority just as everyone does.

Cruiser's avatar

In the literal sense yes. Stay employed so you can pay your taxes to help pay for our kids educations and the social services for those who are less fortunate than you or I.

wundayatta's avatar

To the degree that you need to cooperate with other Americans, you are both responsible for them and dependent on them. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. For we also need to cooperate with others who aren’t Americans. America is no more independent of the actions of other nations than your mythical “rugged individualist” is independent of others in his community.

Of course, we are all responsible for ourselves. We are also responsible for those we choose to be responsible for, such as children or others who can not survive on their own.

However, on a larger, less tangible level, we are all responsible for each other. It is our agreement that we will all watch out for each other, and if one gets into trouble, we’ll help out. Some of our helping out is directly in our own interest, too. Like putting out the fire in your neighbor’s house. Other forms of helping out are like insurance—helping out the disabled person is not just altruism. It helps make it more likely that if we ever become disabled, people will take care of us, too.

As to becoming aware of others’ needs—all you can do is get to know others. You walk the streets and attend the meetings and find out what people are thinking and what they want and what ideas they have for getting what they want. You learn where those ideas can complement each other and where they clash. You learn who has power and who doesn’t.

You can not, on your own, know what is best for everyone. You can’t be a dictator. This is why we elect representatives and leaders. No decision you can make will be right for everyone. No decision. Almost all your decisions will be right only for a small minority of people. People’s interests are too varied.

To enlighten and inform people, you should become a teacher. Or a writer. Maybe a movie maker. Certainly not a politician.

Do I have your best interest at heart? Of course I do! You, however, may not agree. I assure you that I know better than you, and you are merely ignorant or misguided. However you don’t have to worry. I know what’s best for you—and everyone else. Yes. I do.

So give me a break. You can’t have everyone’s best interest at heart. Where did you get such an idea? Think about it for a second. Think about how many different interests there are in America (or any other nation) and think about how many clashes there are. You are dreaming if you think it is possible to act in everyone’s best interest. It’s all about compromise. It’s all about making sausage (legislation). If you want to see something really disgusting, go to a sausage factory—or to a House or Senate back room where they are cutting deals to get some law passed.

What can you do for your country? You can pursue your interests honestly without seeking to cheat anyone else. You can be empathetic with other and more concerned with the community’s need than your own personal need. You can provide service to the county in any number of ways. You don’t have to serve in the armed forces or work for government. Starting a business and employing people is service. Going to your elderly neighbor’s house to check on her each day is service. Bringing up your children to be kind and smart and hard workers is service. All of these things serve others and help build the cooperative society we need in order to survive into the future.

davidbetterman's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I agree. Especially when so many don’t want help. I mean, you can’t help those who don’t want it, can you?

Judi's avatar

Everyone needs to answer this question for themselves.
For me it is one of the age old questions. “Am I my brothers keeper?” I hope I can always be strong enough to answer YES!

susanc's avatar

@wundayatta‘s right. None of us can know what everyone else needs; we have to negotiate that within each small or large community. Being closed to negotiation isn’t the American way. None of us are alone.
It’s our national mythology that each of us can take care of ourselves independently of the rest of us. It’s kind of cute. In a very, very babyish way.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@susanc Also in a train wreck kind of way. I think our society has too much “I’ve got mine, now everyone else go to hell” attitude.

susanc's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Word. 8 years of Bush scared us and taught us this.
The difficulty for Obama is to not only model decency but also fight for decency. Not sure if he’s figured that out yet.
Maybe it just takes longer….

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@susanc Hopefully he’ll figure it out soon.

susanc's avatar

Dear Mr President,
You need some adrenalin! Here, have some of ours!!!
love, Dr Dredd & Susanc

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

If you are satisfied that all your fellow Americans have equal access to opportunities and get all the chances to make the most of their lives for themselves and their families, then you have no need to do anything about poverty, discrimination or injustice in America.

If you do not believe all Americans deserve such things, then you need not do anything.

Otherwise, find a place to apply your concern and your time to making your country better for those of your fellow Americans getting the short end of the stick.

philosopher's avatar

I agree. I advocate for Autistic people for appropriate programs and research.
I advocate for American jobs and putting American tax payers first; before saving the world. Which we can not do on our own; or on the backs of the American Middle Class.
The current policies resource out our jobs and allow other nations to manufacture products that should be made here. Our manufacturing base must be rejuvenated.
We own china nothing and certainly not our jobs.We should not allow are manufacturing to be done in China, India or any other nation. We should keep technology jobs here.
No one in congress is addressing this. Their do busy with their ideologies and fights about nonsense. No one is helping the people that are out of work. It should not be politically in correct to put American citizens first.
If you think I am wrong I hope your foolishness affects your family next. I know too many people that are hurting. Most of them are intelligent hard working people. Many are well educated.

Judi's avatar

@philosopher; I didn’t see where anything @Dr_Lawrence said disagreed with you.
I will on one point though. We now owe billions (trillions?) to China. Thanks George.

philosopher's avatar

I agree with you and Dr Lawrence. I can not start with Bush the Morales again. I pray we do not have Romney the fascist next.
No one listens when I tell people about how Bush gave China our Smart Bomb technology.
I am an Independent and I believe they are corrupt on the R and L.

laureth's avatar

@philosopher – I agree with you about jobs and manufacturing that need to stay in America. However, let me be the devil’s advocate here for a minute and remind folks that in a down economy, people want to buy things at the cheapest minimum price possible. This is why Wal*Mart has thrived since deciding that “buy American” is no longer the cheapest option, and so many places source their goods from places like China where employees can be had at pennies on the dollar of what they’d pay Americans. This is what people call “letting the free market solve the problem,” and they would argue that it’s only right to be able to offer American shoppers the goods at the lowest possible price – since so many are out of work.

If I were a spin artist, I’d say something like, “Why do you want the hard-pressed, value conscious Americans to pay out more of their hard-earned money than they really have to?”

philosopher's avatar

I want the American Middle Class to have jobs.
China would like to end all our manufacturing and steal all our technology. They have already stolen much.
Wealthy people and companies have had their files broken into on the Internet.
If American’s leaders were intelligent we would be working hard to build a manufacturing base; and technology for alternative energy sources.
I am not wealthy but I would prefer to pay a few bucks more for something that last. The clothes I buy lately are poorly stitched. My Mother taught sewing. The clothes that were made in the NYC Garment Center served me well. They lasted. I buy expensive jeans today and and see loose threads.
I buy electronics and they do not last.
My Husband bought a new Dell computer and had problems. Customer Service is in India; and they speak English poorly. They do not even call back at a time when American working people are home.
Our economy will only come back when we can export more than we import. This is economics 101. It is also common sense.

laureth's avatar

Good points, all. I wish more people realized that a completely free market doesn’t work as well as they hope it will.

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