Shortcomings Of American Culture

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Title of Your Report
America is commonly characterized as the greatest country in the world, the glorious “land of the free and the home of the brave”, “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. We began as a group of rebels who fought the status quo in order to earn our rightful place as a nation. “[We] stood up for freedom, honesty and justice; [we] protected the innocent,” (Atwood ¶4) even when all odds were stacked against us. We say that our doors are open for people to become new Americans, those who are just like we were when we joined. We call ourselves the land of opportunity, the place where everyone has a chance to strike it rich. This idealization of the American identity conveniently focuses on what people want to believe
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America is no longer characterized by its freedom and democracy, nearly every first world country can afford that luxury. Nor are we set apart by the great opportunities given to our people, for those are far from universal. We aren’t equal, we aren’t unified, we aren’t the leaders that we used to be, we aren’t even truly free, not anymore. It’s easy to find the shortcomings of American culture, all the things we are not, but the things we are have proven to be more elusive. First, let’s examine the nots.
American life isn’t characterized by equality or fairness, despite our founding principle that “all men are created equal” (Jefferson ¶2). Although we acknowledge that each member of humanity bears equal value, we fail to provide them with such equality in life. Racism and anti-immigrant sentiment are two factors that prevent America from being equal. Frederick Douglass identified this gap between value and reality for Americans when he found himself
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On almost every issue, there seems to be a steep divide, with every American, and every candidate, firmly planted on one side or the other. The primary candidates range from Bernie Sanders, a “democratic socialist”, to Ted Cruz, the “true conservative”, warring between themselves for votes as their supporters fight each other for airtime. Alan I. Abramowitz, in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, characterized America as “two different countries”: the Republicans and the Democrats. In his metaphor, the “citizens of these two nations look at each other with deep suspicion and hostility” (¶4), even seeing each other as enemies. This idea is relevant because it goes beyond a relationship of civil discourse and ventures into the region of ideological warfare. Every morning, at nearly every school in America, our nation’s children pledge allegiance to an “indivisible” nation that is very much divided. We have strayed so far from our tradition of unity that we are weakened. But there was a time when we were strong and unified, at least ideologically. Our nation began as a consolidated movement to throw off the “long train of abuses and usurpations … under absolute Despotism” (Jefferson ¶2). Then, during WWI and WWII, we were unified because we had a cause for action, we “fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil,

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