Citizens actively engaged with their communities sustain American values. Whether it is at the local church bake sale, or voting in a presidential election, Americans taking part in things that are distinctly American build us up as a community. Yes, America as a whole is a community -- a large one -- but still a community.
For the most part, we Americans all want the same things: Health, happiness, and a better tomorrow for our children. We want equal opportunity, poverty to be eradicated, a robust economy, and for people to stop abusing animals because that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan always make us feel awful.
By participating in local, state, and federal government, we set up the infrastructure to function in business and recreation. A town may vote to appropriate funds for a little league field, where families and friends will gather to cheer on the kids rounding bases and catching grounders. The kids will learn competitiveness, how to be gracious winners and not to be sore losers, coordination, and they’ll get some exercise to ward off that national security risk of obesity.
Families and communities helping one another, lifting each other up, cheering successes and soothing when tragedies occur, encouraging kids to set goals for themselves and giving them the tools they need to accomplish them – these things are embodied in the American Dream.
Through participating in democracy, we elect officials who hopefully hold dear the same values that we do.
The government can only do so much, and taken too far it can harm the very values it seeks to protect. How does shutting down kids’ lemonade stands help advance anyone’s idea of American values?
It is through both participation in democracy and engagement with our friends and families that American values are upheld.
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?"
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