What does America mean to me?
I’ve been thinking about this question, I confess that more than one year. In order to understand this culture, you need to live here for a while, and it is desirable to be born. I experienced here no one cultural “breaking”. Because coming to a country as a tourist, we usually don’t speak their language, and are located in the tourist euphoria, we have no time, and there is actually such a task to notice the shortcomings of the country or to adapt. So no wonder they say that you can’t confuse tourism with immigration. After the documentary immigration processes and language don’t bother, life in the US to become very comfortable and familiar, there comes a time of active assimilation and integration.
What does it mean to be an American citizen?
To be American is to have an American passport. Yes, that’s right. This unique this amazing country and welcoming to all, no matter where you were born, what color your skin, what your religion and what language were you born said. You have an American passport you are an American.
In European countries, the dream of wealth also existed, but she has been involved in a wide range of views about the full existence, was dissolved in the General culture of the caste society, where, for the vast majority the dream of wealth was pointless fantasy.
The American idea was originally a religious idea. English Protestants who arrived in 1620 on a new continent, never dreamed of wealth, their goal was to build the Kingdom of God on earth where the person will direct all forces on the heyday of his spirit. In the eyes of the first settlers, puritans, in the Old world there was no room for the Kingdom of God, Catholic Europe, living the baser passions, have betrayed the ideas of true Christianity, spiritual life in it faded and it was doomed also, as once Sodom and Gomorrah.
On the new continent, far from the corrupt civilization of Europe, unspoiled nature, the Protestants hoped to build a new perfect world, and in the process of creation, in the process of labor, cleansed, and enriched the spiritual nature of man. Labor is service to God, it increases the wealth that He gave to man, and the result of the work should belong only to Him. He who creates wealth only for himself, loses his soul, sinking into the abyss of sinful pleasures of the flesh, as the Bible says: “Flesh decay, incorruptible spirit”, spiritual wealth is more important than all the physical wealth of the world.
The Bible for the first settlers, the Protestants were not just a Sacred Book, it was a guide to life, all the actions of the members of the community checked with the divine law. Following the biblical principles of the Protestant community were limited attempts of personal enrichment. The power of the community over the life of its members was absolute, as in the first period of development of the new continent alone it was impossible to survive.
But when subsequent generations of the colonists have adapted to the new conditions of life of the communities begun by families and groups of like-minded people, creating their own little colonies, and by the mid 18th century single could not just survive but to create wealth for yourself.
The Protestant community, adapting to changing conditions, began to change its tenets. A righteous man was considered the one who created personal wealth, but a portion of the proceeds was given to the needs of the community. Poverty was classified as defects, so as to be poor in a country of enormous potential, means only one thing, the failure of the person, lack of willpower, character, moral inferiority. The poor don’t put anything into the community, and although it got her help, respect to could not.
The biblical commandment, “all men are brothers”, took the place of the commandments of Success that has become a kind of national religion. America has created a new civilization with a new morality, a morality of work, morals of the universal competition, in which success a sign of God’s love.
All that leads to success, to riches and virtuous. Immoral all of which leads to failure. Failure is proof of human depravity, and the ability to create wealth is a divine gift that allows you to bring a person closer to God, to God the Creator.
“Christianity, ultimately, had adapted to capitalism, which was deeply alien to the teachings of Christ”, wrote the German philosopher Adorno.
In the second half of the 19th century, the mass immigration from Europe, and its purpose was other than target. It was an escape from European poverty in the earthly Paradise, where “the sidewalks are lined with gold.”
To leave his native country and go to a distant continent, with only the emerging signs of civilization, could not only the very desperate, but the desperate, capable of risk, dynamic and aggressive in achieving goals, fortune hunters. A significant percentage of immigration was also “gentlemen of fortune”, the criminal element, the murderers, the thieves, the crooks, the fugitive from European justice in a country full of freedom.
New immigrants came to the New world to serve God, and Success. For the European of the poor material well-being was more important than the spiritual improvement and moral life. Near attractive, bright dream of wealth and all other aspects of life have lost their value, and the diversity of human desires and interests, passing through of the American melting pot, went into the sediment.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French lawyer who visited the U.S. in the early 30s of the 19th century, saw in the American economic democracy of enormous benefits to European authoritarian system, but noted its specificity, affecting many Europeans – “the Passion of the Americans to acquire wealth has surpassed the ordinary limits of human greed.”
The availability of resources created an unprecedented intensity of the struggle among numerous applicants, and those forms of life that arose in the process, dramatically different from the traditional norms of the Old world, shocked the Europeans, for whom wealth was only a means to a decent life, but not its purpose.
In the hierarchical Old world wealth passed from generation to generation and the struggle for it took place only within a privileged, propertied class, the lower, poor classes fought only for physical survival. And America gave full freedom, and the struggle for wealth were involved millions.
Unlike other countries in the world, built on the traditions and experience of the past, America has created history again. It was a society of immigrants and it was in the process of merging of the polar ideas and ideals of many cultures and moral values. America contradictions fused into a single unit, combining prudent pragmatism necessary for survival, with the religious ideas and the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and created special, different from the European, the American way of life.
As wrote Friedrich Engels, “America has created its own traditions itself, based on the particular facts and circumstances formed needed a new form of relations.”
New forms of relationship extremes are merged in an unusual symbiosis of Europeans that Europeans could not decipher. World renowned travel guide to many countries, Bedeker, in 1890, prefaced his description of America following a brief commentary, “America is in the place where the two merge into one river, one that flows in Paradise, another to hell. The United States is a special country a country of contrasts.”
America is a country of immigrants, in the tenth generation, the third or the first, doesn’t matter. This distinguishes America from other countries. This is one reason why I loved her. If Europe, Asia, the visitor may forever remain a stranger, “the eternal immigrant” in the eyes of the local, in the US it’s different. In the European ,Asian and many other countries, a very important ethnic point of origin. When I lived in Europe, not just ran with it. For example, in the search for a good job always a privilege to be local, born in the country ethnic citizen. In the United States – the privileges for the best specialist, the most intelligent and professional. This America is so attractive for all inhabitants of planet earth. So here seeking all.
America is a country of great opportunities, where you can realize your wildest dreams. To arrive with $100 and make a million. Unless of course you are talented, smart and hardworking.
To be American means to be a patriot. I never, in any country seen so many flags. They are everywhere, in every house, every store, every school, and even cars. Americans love and are proud of their country and freedom. And what does American mean to you?