Written By Zach Champ
Cover Photo Courtesy Aaron Burden (Unsplash.com)
When I was a kid growing up in Virginia I attended a relatively modest-sized elementary school. One of the most distinctive things I remember from my earliest experiences at school was how diverse my class was. This always remained a consistent theme as I got older and moved from elementary to middle school and then finally to high school. It was only when I first went to college (a private senior military college) that I found myself in an environment where most of the people were white Americans of European descent.
In Virginia, I always had a wide circle of friends from various backgrounds. I went to school with kids from all over the world- Afghanistan, Britain, China, Russia, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexican, Peruvian, the list goes on and on! We all were able to bring our unique cultural experiences into the classroom through our diverse backgrounds. It was amazing and fun to go to school on the days where people were doing events passing out food, singing songs, sharing their experiences.
At the end of the day, we were all American citizens, most of us born and raised in this country. Our cultural backgrounds and identities were, for the most part, inherited and taught to us from our parents and grandparents. Lately, we have been hearing a lot of divisive political rhetoric on social media and in political debate about immigrants. People keep focusing on the question of what it means to be an American.
But maybe the real question at hand is WHO IS AMERICA?
The reality and answer to that question is obvious! In America, we are all immigrants of some kind here. The USA is the melting pot of the world. We have all heard this saying before, and we must all acknowledge its truth! The USA is truly the Empire of the World! Our unique legacy, heritage, and history have led us to be a “Nation of Nations”, with different types of people all around the world coming here to live in America. Immigrants are the heart of America- from the original European colonizers to the Pilgrims, to the immigrants who arrived by boat at the shores of Ellis Island, to those who explored and built up the frontiers of the Wild West. When all these different peoples came to this country throughout the generations, they imprinted their unique cultural attitudes, beliefs, and practices onto the foundation of our new country and land. Immigrants are essential to the American legacy!
Photo Courtesy via Ximena Torres Rodriguez (Unsplash.com)
WHAT MAKES THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BEAUTIFUL?
DIVERSITY is what makes our country so beautiful because America is a country of the world, reflecting a variety of cultures and different ways of life. According to the U.S Census Bureau website as of July 2018, it is estimated that nearly 13.4% of the population consisted of Black or African Americans and 18.3% which were Hispanic or Latino (U.S Census). Asians made up about 6 percent of the total population (U.S Census). Nowhere else in the world can you find such diversity, and we need to cherish that diversity because it gives us power and strength.
Infographic Courtesy via American Immigration Council
America’s diversity is what gives us the ability to be such major players on the global stage. It allows us to help define and craft a global culture. The USA traditionally sets the standard for all other countries to strive for! It is American movies, music, art, and food which is cherished and imitated all over the world, even in some of the most authoritarian and totalitarian governments.
This is why it’s critically important for us as American Citizens to take seriously the responsibility of our civic duties and help contribute to society in meaningful and positive ways. This goes beyond just voting or paying taxes. This is about how you live your life and view yourself in relation to those around you.
WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'S BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
The single greatest achievement and power of our country lies in the fact that we can bring all our best and brightest to work together and solve our most challenging problems and issues culturally, technologically, politically, and ecologically! America is known around the globe for its problem-solving ingenuity. The ability to never give up and push through all obstacles regardless of circumstances is part of the American Ethos.
CREATING A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR AMERICANS & THE REST OF THE WORLD
For America to create a bright future for itself and its legacy we must come together as a nation and address the issue of climate change! We must recognize how serious a threat to our society that climate change poses, and implement solutions that worsen and reduce its effects. The people must work together to find solutions that grow our economy and private sector, so as to create wealth, abundance, and prosperity while still protecting our environment and reducing our impact on the ecosystem. This isn’t an impossible task, and if we can dismantle the grasp of certain corporate and private interests on the federal government and state governments, then we could easily begin implementing real solutions to real problems.
In order to truly help the United States of America become an amazing country, we need to reorganize the government and make it EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT so it can provide for the common good of ALL citizens. It is critically important that we work together across political ideologies to remove criminal corruption and unfair corporate lobbying practices that bring down and limit our true potential as a nation. This has to also occur simultaneously with efforts to enhance the political power and voice of the common American so that the perspective of REAL EVERYDAY WORKING AMERICANS becomes prevalent in public policy creation.
This is the first article in a series of articles exploring the topic of WHAT IS AMERICA.
We hope you enjoy these opinions and reflections and feel free to tell us what you think in the comments below!
Stay tuned for the second article!