Has anyone ever asked you what makes you an American? This past week, “Bryan” posited this question to a media audience in which I took part. Today is a great time to think about being American, especially since our nation and identity are under daily assault. Here is my answer to the man making the presentation. By the way, he thinks that a common language makes us American. He also had one civics error that I endeavored to correct. Without further adieu, here’s my email response:
Thank you, Bryan, for this thoughtful question, “What makes us American, if not a common language?” I think the key is belief. What we believe is how we will behave. So, if we are American:
-We are a freeborn people. Therefore, we endeavor to learn our founding American documents and pass them on to our posterity. These documents are a cornerstone of the American way of life.
-We recognize the value of a government of, by, and for the People, equal justice under the law, all men (people) are created equal, not born equal, and that our rights (the right to life, liberty, and property) come from God, not government.
-We think like Americans. That is, we acknowledge freedom means many things to many people. We are not defined by our differences but by the founding principles of our country.
-We endeavor to speak the same language because I believe English is recognized universally as a language of success, and communication is key in any relationship. However, we do recognize the value of preserving one’s native language.
All of the above makes Americans who they are—hard-working, action-oriented, ambitious, competitive, self-starting, freedom-loving people. Belief determines behavior. What we believe and how we behave is what makes us uniquely American.
One final thought: Bryan, “Pluribus Unum” “was retired as our national motto in 1956. Our national motto now is “n God We Trust,” “which was signed into law by President Eisenhower. 🇺🇸
Common Sense Civics and Citizenship
Certified Instructor, Institute on the Constitution
Have a great week, fellow American!
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸