Americans: We Are 'The' People, Not 'Those' People

Politics & Views 10

eagle american flag

American values are difficult to define succinctly. There are the wild west boot straps ideals, the immigrant tenacity, and Mayflower archetypes. American values are a mosaic of cultures, religions, and stories. What brings us together and defines us as decidedly American is different person to person. We do not look alike or sound alike or worship alike. We do, however, share in some basic manifestations of our American privileges. We vote. We speak out. We worship freely. We pursue a happiness we define for ourselves.

There is no better way to make American values come to life than to engage in our government and democracy. For the people, by the people. We are the people. It is so easy to take our rights for granted. I tell my sons that voting and speaking out against oppression and injustice are privileges as well as rights. I tell them how so many people around the world are not free to vote in open elections and participate in their government. It’s more than rights and civic engagement. It’s more than the don’t-complain-if-you-didn’t-vote mentality. Taking an active role in our participatory democracy is a privilege, one that many around the globe will never experience.

This includes our ability to pray and celebrate our heritage. This is about how we respect each other’s religions, cultures, and paradigms. We sustain our American values through our faith and family, but the way to light it up in a banner of star spangled fireworks is to take part in our system. We enjoy a freedom of speech and prayer like no other. It is our voices, no matter how different, that make us all American.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see "How Do We Best Sustain American Values?"

Image via TheRightClicks

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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Lovely post, Ilina. Politics are so cuthroat and controversial that we forget that we are all in the same boat and enjoy the rights that billions never will.

wamom223 wamom223

Really really great blog Illen.  I agreed with everything you said.  It made me think of my grandmother that passed away this summer.  She was heavy into politics and participated heavily in her district.  She was a die hard Republican that didn't care how you voted as long as you voted.  She loved debating politics and everyone no matter what party was invited to join into the debate, unless of course she knew you didn't vote.  She always said you don't have the right to complain if you didn't want to use your right to vote.  Great job, Illena!


Bruic... Bruickson

Love this post. The stir needs more articles like this!

bills... billsfan1104

I hope that posts like this continue from all on the theStir. I enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of my grandfather that was Democrat. But he was a Kennedy Democrat. He never voted party line, was into politics and volunteered where he could.

My Babcia was a Republican through and through. But like my grandfather, she also didnt vote party line. She would read up on the politicians and meet the local politicians and then cast her vote.

My dad being in the military and the family being stationed overseas, solidified my beliefs in the need to vote. I vote in local elections as well as national elections. You have too.

Again very nice blog.

Flori... Floridamom96

While I agree with the sentiment expressed, I'd like to point out that we are not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic.

wamom223 wamom223

True florida very very true.

nonmember avatar kevobx

John 3:16? *Deuteronomy 7:4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee sudddenly. *Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

nonmember avatar kevobx

America, is pushing pride and culture against the lost souls. The Lord hates pride, and the most High took away our heritage for worshipping other gods (Jeremiah 7:4)

nonmember avatar kevobx

Obadiah 3-4 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.

nonmember avatar jamee

Beautiful post! I think during this political season we need to acknowledge that we are all not going to agree on everything but we still need to be respectful of we treat one another. The mud and anger and downright hate that is being slung by both parties and their followers is disgusting. We need to respect each other and our right to have a different opinion and find a way to have healthy discussion about those differences and even if we don't come to an agreement then we can still respect and appreciate each others views.

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