American Identity Crisis

Posted on December 20, 2010


What is it to be American? What are the qualities that would identify someone as a American?

As this country struggles to find a path to better financial soundness and to get back our faltering position as leader of the free world, we must get back to our core principles as a country. Only then will our path to success be clear. If we try to copy European principles, or China or even Brazil-we will fail. We cannot succeed as a country if we loose our identity.

And what are those principles and how are they demonstrated? As this blog progresses-I will be researching that question and look for examples from the past and the present for clear demonstrations of those principles. We must begin at the beginning, or maybe before the beginning. How did the notion of a government whose power existed in the governed come to be conceived of? The stranglehold of the British government on the colonists is well documented. England had fought an expensive war with the French (the French and Indian War) and needed revenue. The Stamp act of 1765 resulted followed by the Sugar Act and the Townsend Act that created heavy taxes for the colonists who were angry about this government intervention into their lives-a government in which they had no voice. In 1773-the East India Company was granted a monopoly on importing tea-trying to force colonists to purchase a product against their will. All of these rising taxes and expenses were just too much to bear for many and they formed such groups as the Sons of Liberty. And groups of Boston citizens got together to dump East India Tea into the Boston Harbor in protest. (We celebrated the 237th anniversary of this event last week.) So the seeds of the notion of a free republic in which the governed-or the citizens possessed the power-was sewn.

Now let’s look at the parallels to what is happening now. For many decades, the number people who chose to vote in elections has been dropping. When this happens-the people loose their voice in the government. This creates a disconnect between the government and the people it governs. The people have been asleep and have allowed government to function irresponsibly and to ignore the very Constitution that created it; and spend and to tax to the point that we now have a financial crisis which affects us all. Also-there are so many regulations, from environmental regulation to what we eat-this has put a strangle hold on businesses and has limited our individual choices and freedoms. And now with the new Health Care bill-government has overreached-forcing people to purchase a product against their will-or be taxed. This has pierced the American Soul. The people have awakened and have begun to protest and to organize such as the TEA Party. Americans have begun to take their power back. The last election saw a larger turnout than in past elections and it was the biggest shift in power in decades between the 2 parties. More incumbents lost elections than in any time since the forties. Many people are discovering their Americanism. They are holding their government accountable and putting in people who will represent the governed instead of special interests such as unions, corporations, and financial institutions like Fannie Mae. This is not only high drama, it is essential for our survival as a country.

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