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How To Be A Good American
Many have come across articles online on how America has lost its way; it is no longer the land of dreams and free as it once was. This is disheartening and disappointing, to say the least. While many American citizens and even immigrants may hold a different opinion, the reality is America has changed, and in many ways not for the best. We continue to see the escalation in moral rot pointing to an eroding culture that was once held with high regard. As such, every American must learn how to be good, in a bid to bring back the greatness it once held. Below are a few things I believe a good American citizen or resident should do.
To begin with, a good American needs to be loyal to and have respect for their country. Being loyal means one is patriotic to everything that is America’s, both on land, on seas, or in the skies above. It means remembering and embracing how powerful America is, and how responsible it has been with such power. Respect means that you have integrity and moral ethics and support your country no matter what (Gellhorn, 2014). One needs to understand and accept the responsibility they have to stay informed of current affairs, and what one can do to help the societal/economy if called upon. Often we see people criticize new policies without context which is wrong and an example of a bad American.
A good American must also promote the freedom and rights upon which the whole American society is based on. This means not forgetting the basic premises the government was initially founded upon. We must ensure others their freedom to practice their religion, freedom from persecution, to love, speak, protest, and vote (White, 2019). This is crucial because we continue to observe a modern America that is fighting about religious rights, or a government determined to keep out refugees, some of which are fleeing persecution America may be responsible for (Wuthnow, 2021). A good American needs to remember what the country stands for, and steer our government/leaders back on the right course.
Last but most important, a good American needs to welcome, understand and appreciate the beautiful diversity within this nation. For this, it is crucial that one learns about the United States’ history and how it came to be, its successes and failures (Bean & Stevens, 2003). It will help you appreciate what America truly is. It will also allow you to chat freely with a gay couple, all while eating the best Mexican or Chinese food in the heart of Los Angeles or New York. It also means appreciating that our children play together at school or the park. Or that we all share the same sidewalks, gas stations, or grocery stores regardless of the different religious beliefs, skin tones, or political opinions one may hold.
There is so much more a person can do to become a good American, whether citizen or resident. Being loyal and having respect for thy country, promoting the freedom and rights we hold so dear, and understanding and appreciating the beautiful diversity within this nation are just but the few that come to mind. Being a good American does not mean making hard stands, nor does it mean not being critical of the country. The above is a great starting point for a course change towards a better America.
Bean, F. D., & Stevens, G. (2003). America’s Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity. Russell Sage Foundation.
Gellhorn, W. (2014). When Americans Complain. In When Americans Complain. Harvard University Press.
White, C. (2019). American hierarchy: White, “good”; Black, “evil”. In Psychoanalysts, psychologists and psychiatrists discuss psychopathy and human evil (pp. 138-152). Routledge.
Wuthnow, R. (2021). Why religion is good for American democracy. Princeton University Press.