Sweet Land Of Uncertainty: What Is America?

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Sweet Land of Uncertainty: What is America? The United States of America certainly does not have “streets paved with gold”. Though this was how it was first described to attract hopeful refugees and adventurers, we have since learned that, in some respects, this country’s actual state is far different from what it was hoped to be. “Land of the free!”, its people chant, as they brush off those who cry at injustice. “Home of the brave!”, others exclaim, as they cower in the shadows of privilege and comfort. However, since first reading the poems and songs that we discussed in class, my views on “what’s American” have not changed. Though America does face problems with racial tensions, lack of opportunity, class gaps, and greed, as the documents …show more content…
Though it does attempt to do this, it is clear that not every American can not achieve greatness as easily as others. This is because many are born into poverty, with little chance at getting a proper education. “This Land Is Your Land”, by Woody Guthrie, addresses this issue. Guthrie states that “By the relief office I seen my people; As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking is this land made for you and me?” (Guthrie) This quote means that, though some Americans have no problem succeeding, as they are born into wealthy, privileged families, others are left in destitution. I do agree with Guthrie that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, however, this song did not change my view on “what’s American”. Over the past century, the United States has taken tremendous steps to decrease its poverty rate. Between acts such as creating social security, giving welfare benefits, increasing the minimum wage (just recently the minimum wages in New York and California were raised to fifteen dollars an hour), and creating the Affordable Care Act, it seems we have been expanding upon aid that is vital to our country at a non-stop rate. Though America is still not perfect, and is certainly not done with its efforts (the poverty rate is still much too high), we are at least trying to make our country an equal place to live in for …show more content…
Depending on who sees this sign, they would usually have very different reactions. Some may look back to the economic stability and prosperity of the post World War II United States, and wish that our country could have stayed exactly the same over the years. Others, though, may look back to the bigotry that was also deeply embedded in this time period, and are thankful that drastic change took place. In “Let America Be America Again”, Langston Hughes takes the latter view of the United States. He says “O, let my land be a land where Liberty is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, but opportunity is real, and life is free, equality is in the air we breath… America never was America to me, and yet I swear this oath-- America will be!” (Hughes). This quote means that, though the United State’s past has been riddled with injustice and the suffering of the less fortunate, the American people must not give up on their country. They must, instead, work to make their country a land where all can prosper, and live their lives in equality. I completely agree with Hughe’s point, and all the statements he made. Still, this poem did not make me change my view of America, as these are all opinions that I already held previously to reading Hughes’ work. It would be ignorant to claim that the United States has a

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