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The Idea of America
For all those who are confused about what Americe is, I.m posting something from a book "The Idea of America".
There is much more, but this is like the foreword, and I cannot duplicate the whole book. If you ever have a chance to get your hands on a copy of this book, I highly recommend you read it CAREFULLY.
Here it goes:
On the 3rd of July, 1776, John Adams, wrote a letter to his wife back in Boston. "I am apt to believe," he said describing the 'grand event,' the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, "that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival...
"It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward. for evermore."
And so it is some 227 years later. The Fourth of July is one of our nation's most important holidays. The day we celebrate the unique American experience.
After 9/11, so many people bought flags that the shops ran short. Old Glory festooned nearly every porch and bridge. Patriotism swelled every heart. Europeans, coming back to the Old Country after visiting the new one, reported that they had never seen anything like it. Citizens wave, wear, display and decorate airplanes, windows, baseball caps, car bumpers, dog collars and front porches with Old Glory. Sometimes they even fly them on flagpoles.
And sometimes, when necessary, they send their sons and daughters to die for it.
But what is this "America" that we love so much? What has drawn millions of immigrants to America? The American Dream? The American Way? What is it that Adams suggested ought to be celebrated with pomp and parade? What is so important about the nation that prompted him to also write the 4th of July ought to "be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty"?
Why should we care more about America
than say, France, for example, Lithuania or Chad?
A Frenchman takes his country for granted. He is born into it, just as he is born into his religion. He may be proud of La Belle France the way he is proud of his cheese. But he is not fool enough to claim credit for either one. He just feels lucky to have them for his own. Americans are different.
America is different.
Nations are usually composed of groups of people who share common blood, a common culture and a common language though there are plenty of exceptions, especially among the made-up nations of former European colonies. Americans are different. They come from many different cultures, races and language groups...
Americans don't even share a common history. The average immigrant didn't arrive until the early 20th century. By then, America's history was already three centuries old. The average family missed the whole thing.
If Americans weren't united by blood, history, religion or language ... what else is left?
What does it mean to be an American? What is, or what used to be, the idea of America? And what is happening to the idea of America today?
"An Important Collection of Deep Thinking About America"
The so-called "neo-cons" - a self-styled group of politicians with a lot of influence in Washington and with the Bush administration - believe that the idea of "America" is something to be proselytised the world over. And - despite warnings of the nation's first president to be "wary of foreign entanglements" - spread by military might, if necessary.
"Our power is so great, and so unlikely to be challenged for many, many years," Admiral Stansfield Turner, former head of the CIA, recently declared "that you have to go back to Rome for any kind of parallel. It's a misnomer to speak of the United States as being merely a super-power. We're a super-duper power, and I don't know that the world has seen one of those before."
The experiment set forth by the signing the Declaration of Independence has been the most successful political endeavor in human history. That is clear. But should it be exported at the point of a gun?
Before answering that question, we suggest a return to a time when America was scarcely more than an idea....
In an all-new, important collection of essays called The Idea of America , we explore the very questions at the bedrock of the nation. This book represents some of the most important ideas that have shaped thinking about America -- what it is and what it is supposed to be.
Some of the pieces are well known, like the Declaration of Independence, others much less conventional, for example, Voltairine de Cleyre's Anarchism and American Traditions.
Unfortunately, even the most well known documents like the Bill of Rights are little read or understood by any Americans. Perhaps it is a good thing they don't read them.... who knows? Maybe they would begin to wonder if America were really all that it was intended to be. Maybe they would ask questions: is the country really on the right track?
Surely, most people would prefer to wave the flag and not think about such things. But if you are the sort of person who is not afraid to wonder, this book may be the perfect thing for your summer reading. It's not a long heavy tome; just 238 pages of what must be the essential texts for those thoughtful enough to want to understand the Idea of America.
You'll read some sparkling diamonds of clear-headed thinking from our country's Founders, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
You'll discover select passages from Alexis de Tocqueville's famous Democracy in America, about decentralization, the dangers of powerful democratic governments and the usefulness of private associations. This classic is much quoted and little read. You may find after reading the highlights that you want to read the entire original.
And you'll gain the perspective of some of America's most insightful critics, H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain.
end of article.
So, how does that make you feel? Are you ready to get the book? Can you get this book in a bookstore in your country?
BTW, I'm Swiss born, 50 years old, and an American by CHOICE!
Have a great week!