With the July 4th holiday last weekend I thought about America. What is it about America? What does America promise citizens and people all over the world that take a chance and come to try their luck at the American Dream?America promises nothing, sometimes nothing can be a good thing.
America strips a person of all previous titles, castes, preconceived notions and offers them a blank on which to create their life story. It’s completely up to the individual to determine what they can make happen. America says bring your “A” game and show us what you’ve got. America is merely the chance that things could be better than they were before. For many people a chance is all they need while others, try as they may, do not make it the way they’d hoped.
The idea of America is merely a mirror reflecting back to the dreamer what they want to see. Because America can be anything. That is how it was in the beginning. It was an open forum to experiment, to create, to answer the question “What if?”. Now with that, over the years people began to answer that question in many different ways. Some ways caused great happy things to happen and sometimes it caused great pain and suffering. Because again, America was simply a construct in which to play out these scenarios.
With that need for structure for safety came the feeling that some ground rules need to be in place. This is necessary because some people are not by nature the type of folks who have a basic sense of restraint when it comes to creating scenarios that are not conducive to human life and the continuation of life on this very unique planet of ours. As such rules and regulations were put in place much the same way that a mother may place a child in a playpen to explore for their own safety.
Some prominent debates in America right now are about whether the ability to roam with no constraints is the only way to fully express this possibility of America. Less regulation more Freedom and the like. Another question is about how open the door should be for people to be able to come and explore the possibility of America. And still another battle is the one between wanting to feel safe and secure versus wanting individual Freedom to be unfettered by outside influences.
These debates are tightly wound into the fabric of American culture. They are a constant. These questions are answered everyday with the day-to-day choices of Americans. Yet, in the end being a land for the people, by the people means that the ever changing demographic of people and their character is ultimately what America is. It is nothing, a bunch of nobodies getting together but what we have found as a nation is that when a bunch of nobodies get together with ambition, passion, vision and a can do attitude there are many things that Americans can do and in the end that is something. It is something extraordinary.