That pleasant sentiment started me thinking. Words like "Spanish," "Japanese," or most nationalities carry an ethnic identity with them. Quite a few people seem to think that there's an "American" ethnic group.
Understandably: since most immigrants were from northwestern Europe for the first century or so. I'm part of that bunch.
But that's not what being "American" is. What I wrote almost six years ago still applies ("An American Family" (June, 2002)):
As of June, 2002, we're still seeing those "I am an American" public service announcements on the television.What got me started on this post is an article I read today, "What Is An American?" The (anonymous) author wrote more than I did, and had a different point to make. It's worth a read, though.
Being "American" is, I think, more than just having ancestors from scattered points on the globe. It's being willing and able to accept good ideas, no matter where they showed up. It's an American strength that we're able to pick up what works, use it, and sometimes even make it work better.
What is an American family? I think I'll use my own as an example. Here's a "typical" family event: The parents and children in a Norwegian-Irish-Scots Irish/German-Dutch-Swiss family, having finished a supper of (Italian) noodle and chicken soup, practiced Tai Chi, using a VCR made by a Japanese company.
What Does This Have to Do With the War on Terror?Some Muslims think that the "Great Satan America" is out to get Islam. Some Americans think that "Christian America" has to defeat Islam.
There's some truth to both beliefs, but not much.
- America Against Islam? I don't Think So
America is no more against Islam than it is against Catholicism, Hinduism, or any other religion. My homeland's laws and culture aren't in full compliance with my beliefs, or (I suspect) those of a devout Hindu or Muslim.
But I can go to a Catholic church down the street, Muslims (where there are enough to build one) can go to a mosque, Hindus are free to go to a temple, and the same applies to other religions.
- Is America a Threat to the Terrorists?
Yes, but not for the reasons the terrorists and their supporters seem to believe. America allows individual freedoms and economic opportunities which threaten the values of people who seem to want, above anything else, to live in the seventh century. America doesn't have to do anything to be a threat, other than exist as a place where people can come to live without clearing everything through an imam who doesn't like electricity, or women who know how to read.
Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.