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I asked a version this question at the Ace of Spades HQ:
I have been thinking about this a lot, lately, as the effects of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” manifest themselves. Today seems like an appropriate day to ask you what you think is the most American value. For me, it is exemplified in the following words:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
–Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963
This is the most fundamental of American values: that each of us is created equal and that, through hard work and determination, we can rise above the circumstances of our birth.
America is–or should be–a meritocracy, not an oligarchy. I think that’s why so many of us chafe at the ruling classes in our government, media, business, and other segments of society. And it is, of course, why most of us rebel against the trend toward protected classes who do not truly demand protection from discrimination, but special treatment.
What value do you think of as distinctly American?
The discussion veered off into a history lesson (and argument). Not what I intended, really.
When you think of what it means to be American” what comes to mind? I liked this answer:
We have a neighbor with a deployed husband who is 7 months pregnant. Been busy helping her move. THAT is who we are.
And this one:
Practically everything in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Seriously. Consider: A reindeer with a shortcoming really wanted to be on the sleigh team. He worked hard, and eventually his flaw was deemed to be an asset. He made the team. Just because one is born an elf doesn’t mean one is destined to build toys. If an elf wishes to become a dentist, he can learn dentistry and pursue that career. Everyone has value, even the misfit toys. Even the Abominable. Leadership (Santa) is important, as are individualism (Yukon Cornelius), community (the Island of Misfit Toys) and support from loved ones (Clarisse). There are so many American values in that story that I can’t single one out as the most important. It’s how they all blend together.
Many of the commenters answered, “liberty.” Others valued freedom of speech or movement.
What about you?