Thirteen Ways of Looking at Being an American

i

The old images of America,
whatever they were,
are no longer working.

ii

America is not a land of immigrants if it closes its borders to all immigrants,
regardless of worth,
ideally accepted in spite of their worth.
The main thing immigrants have in commmon today
is not ability
but race.

iii

But the American ideal is still desirable?
or is it a manifestation of a communal desire
to have such a desire?

iv

We even assumed that
of course!
the Indians would rather be Americans than Indians.

v

Many of the problems in American history
could be forgiven
if we were moving in a posiive direction.
But we have stalled.

vi

A nation taking a continent from a large diverity of native peoples.
A nation forcing millions of people to work for them
the for those people to value value their individual American dreams.

vii

Why do you understand the lyrics
to Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows? "Everybody knows."

viii

The American game is to go to a place
work hard
and you will be rewarded.

The game is not unwinnable
but the game has been heavily skewed
towards certain people who are white
and away from others.
"Everybody knows."

ix

The first and fundamental question?
Can you be an American if you were born in Asia?

Or does that seem if not impossible...

What do you have to feel inside
and understand
to be an American?

x

Perhaps the question is
as possibly it may be,
What can I see being comfortable with
as a fellow American?

xi

It is also a questionable assumption
that I have to be comfortable with your ways of being American.

xii

Should you be agreeable?
And find everyone you human equal?
But Americans are not doing this now!

What do I a liberal have in commmon with this Republican?
It is not politics.

xiii

What do I have in common with those who disagree with me?
We have a commonly recognized right to life?
We may come to accept each other.

xiv

Even just thinking that there is one common way to be an American is bound to be predjudiced against other ways of being in commonalities.

[ back ]