It’s the 4th of July in the United States of America, and that means there’s talk of flags, patriotism, explosives, and all things red, white, and blue in this corner of the world.
The idea of “American* experience” is a complex and difficult one for many right now, for a big variety of reasons. While I often try and shy away from offering personal opinion in the podcast, I can say that I have a complex relationship with what being “American” means, and not only because my chosen family is not entirely from the USA. It also has a lot to do with trying to square the circle of political systems and political representation that, structurally, creates conflict.
With that in mind, I’ve been exploring the archives, and there have been 6 episodes so far that explore ideas that seem central to at least these “American” ideals.
1: Building a Dream
At once inspirational and aspirational, the “American Dream” is a concept that anyone can become anything they want — or perhaps it’s the ideal of a white picket fence and 2.5 kids. Or maybe starting a company? It seems that the “American Dream” is more about what you want out of life.
2: Finding a Shared Dream
The “American Dream” seems to be one of those big ideas that many residents have, and everyone defines differently. It does, however, serve as a cultural touchstone. But are those important to have?
3: Building Your Own
The political parties that (at least currently) run the system rely on platform points that try and build alliances around shared ideals. A choice of two major and several minor parties, however, may not be what works for you. So what platform point would you consider most important?
4: Making a Run
If you have a platform, then perhaps that means you should run for office? After all, one element of the seemingly shared “American Dream” is that everyone could take part. Would you do it, though?
5: Handling the Truth
If you did choose to run for office, then how would you handle the supposed truism that all politicians lie? Or how does that impact how you think about the USA?
6: Having a Say
Running or not, lies or not, American Dream or not – voting is what creates the basis of representative democracy. So how (or do you) choose to participate in that system?
*I recognize that “American” is also a complex term, as the Americas range far beyond just the USA. Thus I put the term in quotes when referring to residents of the USA.