What does being an American mean to me?

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What does being an American mean to me? Well, I was born here. I didn’t care for learning History growing up. In fact, one of the only times I was passionate about History as a child, was when I heard about what the Europeans did to the Native Americans. I wrote a furious essay to my Grammar School History teacher. Most times, though, History, Politics, and the Evening News seemed like something that didn’t apply to me. It was boring, and didn’t engage me. The speakers on TV were drab, and monotone. My eyes would glaze over in boredom, and their words would run together into a meaningless blob of Ambiguity.
I learned far more from Fiction, and Cartoons. The Power of Myth is not lost on me, especially after taking a Class in Mythology. The Stories that carry over long distances, and across the Ages, are those that Engage Emotions, and pull at something deep within all of us. A pattern that was discovered by Campbell in “Hero of a Thousand Faces”.
So, if I were to try and build an Understanding of my Identity as an American, I would need to build it with Stories that pull at my Heartstrings enough for my Long Term Memory to prioritize them over all the other Memories. That means, my Identity as an American has nothing to do with Politics, and everything to do with Myth.
What does American History give me in this regard? Christopher Columbus? Not exactly a Morally Concious Role Model. Our long list of Political Leaders? Glazed over, and Sugar Coated in the Intellectual Oppression of American Public School Textbooks. Politics itself is not a Moral Endeavor by any Stretch of the Imagination. “Political Corruption” is an equivlent statement to “Strong Warrior”, or “Wise Teacher”. If a Politictian is not Corrupt, they have failed at thier own Trade, like a Plumber who swears off Wrenches.
From the Start of our Country, to the Present Day, I have looked for Inspiring and Emotionally Moving Stories. The moment I try to think of even one off hand, I freeze, like I didn’t study for a Pop Quiz. That failing does not lay with me. It lays with the Storytellers. Most Great Civilizations have Thousands of years of Culture and Myth that form a sense of Nationalism in thier people from a young age. Pride in thier Country. That’s all the word means, despite all the 40 dollar words you might spew back at me in response, only a quarter of which you could actually define. I care far more about Cartoons and Video Games than I ever did about American History. I happened to be born here, and I’m taking advantage of the privlidge that grants me, but I can’t think of anything that constitutes an American Identity. I’m a US Marine. I was in 2 Wars. Do you think I was fighting for you, or your freedom? I was fighting to stay alive, and to protect the men fighting with me. I saw those sending us to War as Distant Powers causing good men to die for reasons that even then, sounded just as nonsensical as all the 40 dollar Memes running through your head as you read this. What does being an American mean to me? Why don’t you decide for me, because I’m very sure you’ve already made up your mind.


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