What makes America American

We who created this bogsite did so because we found that there was no place among the various media for rational discussion.  Reasoned discourse in politics has been replaced by ideological rants, sold to the public by the rules of propoganda.  Chief among these rules is that the truth of what you say is irrelevant; the entire object of discourse is to sell the listener on a particular course of action.  If, to get you to vote for a Republican candidate, I can make you think that President Obama is a Muslim, I will do so regardless of the fact that it has been conclusively established that he is not.  The same pattern follows for arguments about the economy, the environment, social welfare, health care and a host of other subjects. 

     What has been lost in all of this is the fundamental principle that unites us as Americans.  The founding ideal of our country is found in the Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …”  This is the enspiriting core of the American ideal, and it is the litmus test for those who are either American or are in agreement with the American spirit.  If you are American, you agree with these ideals, and all the rest of our discussions have only to do with our varying opinions on the best means to most fully implement those ideals.  The most radical rightwinger and the most radical leftwinger, then, differentiate themselves, not at all by ideals, but rather by the means to best effect those ideals in practice.

     The real core question, however, is:  what exactly does that statement of the American ideal mean?  Here is where the core discussion needs to take place.  It is possible to interpret the ideal, that all human beings have certain unalienable rights, to mean that the most important thing is my own private and individual freedom to do whatever I want, and government is best operated by leaving me alone to do whatever I want.  I put it to you, however, that the true meaning of this ideal is, on its face, precisely the opposite of that view.  If I hold that every human being has certain unalienable rights, then I am really stating that I have a core obligation to respect and further the rights of each and every other human being on the planet.  So, rather than being the announcement of pure personal license, the American ideal is the recognition of, and commitment to, the rights of all human beings. 

     It is this ideal that all the world admires.  It is this ideal that preumably stirs us to spread democracy throughout the world.  The American ideal is not about me.  It is about you.  The American ideal is not about freedom but about obligation, responsibility.  The American ideal is not about garnering great wealth but encouraging and creating the opportunity for all human beings to live and to live in peace.  The American ideal is not a declaration of my rights; it is a commitment to your rights.

     It put it that, if one interprets the American ideal in this fashion, most current political rhetoric will be instantly seen for the shame that it is, for propoganda used solely to promote someone’s personal agenda.  Be that as it may, before we can evaluate that rhetoric, we need first to debate the meaning of the ideal.

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