In a scale of North Korea to Freedom, how American are you in general?
If the calendar and my memories do not fail me, as they do individuals of a certain age, I believe it was early last week when I saw the survey. I didn’t know initially what the ultimate intention of the questioning was, after all I was just seeing the first query; although now and thanks to the 20-20 hindsight, with the added understanding of living in the a posteriori life, and after having seen the totality of the questions and the context in which they were posed—specially with the awareness of this appearing a day before the oh-so-holy 4th of July—it’s more or less clear to me what a possible intent could’ve been.
But at the very least the first question tried to start the charade off with a semblance of parity:
Ah yes, the age old question “are we heading in the right direction?” asked without a clear explanation or definition of what a right or wrong direction can be.
Yes, there are clear actions that can be defined as wrong with a heightened sense of morality, or with a heightened sense of social equality, or under religious parameters, or under an ecological point of view. Under those certain subjective guidelines of life, as well as many others, there can be a clear distinction of both right and wrong; but, the belief that those terms are universal and can be used in an equal exchange of ideas and/or rectitude is—at the very least to me as narrator/author of whatever this text may be—somewhat misguided.
We forget the simple yet notorious truth that human life is not homogenous and that it has not been so through the years of humanity forming societies. Human life has so far been, or appears to be, an experiment of conciliating differences.
We forget that truth, regardless of the fact that our current era is one of points of view having more validity than facts, will be a constant. It will be a universal constant of undeniable facts, measurements, tests, adjustments, and re-tests.
If it were as simple as driving a metaphorical vessel from right to wrong, or vice versa, then course corrections would be the everyday norm and it would be, ideally, painfully clear when one was mistaken and needs to be chastised or decried—unfortunately, our every day life of discourse (or lack thereof) and leadership (or lack thereof) has made clear that that is not the case.
And, to me, the survey went in a sad down-hill self-aggrandizing direction from there:
That’s a hard one. But hey, the survey designer should get his commendation for being able to craft multi-level questions that encompass philosophy, taste, emotion, geography and politics in one.
We are not told what construes to be an American, or which actions are defined as inherently American and which aren’t. Additionally, we are not given an example of how such pride may be felt and/or interpreted or espoused.
It may sound silly to some—usually to those who are sitting in their computer rooms in houses that great-grandpa bought after the depression, or the war, and where a same family unit has resided for decades and didn’t have to work through high school to pay for college. But why should it be considered silly?
There are still those in this world who are confronted with an impossibility of tasks to meet up and check-boxes to fill so that they can be considered “worthy” of a given nationality—in this case the American one. It is very self-serving to believe blindly in the fact that those parameters can be applied to ALL situations and ALL circumstances.
What pride can you feel for your own existence, when the fact is that you took no part in creating the self? The nationalistic pride alluded to is somewhat confusing, because you just are, by being born between certain parallels and meridians you became and no one, up to this point in history, questions that.
Yet someone who decides to leave the place where he or she was born, to travel, to toll, to work, to learn, to endure hardships, to not just survive but live and experience everything that there can be (bad and good), and, ultimately actually attaining a nationality, a membership into a different country, thanks to their knowledge, to their achievements, thanks to their own two hands, and by swearing an oath; that person (those persons) has done more than just being born, and still, after completing everything I just mentioned, the labeling is done so that they immediately fall within those who are questioned the most—listening until the end of the days the never ending: “Where are you REALLY from?”.
That is something, I believe, the survey was leaving out of the questions posed—which, incidentally, were not over yet.
But, again thanks to the survey designer, shades and levels of complexity as-of-yet unseen in online polling were added to what would otherwise be mundane queries; here turning from philosophical and geographical to quantitative and qualitative in one quick turn:
It was quite something. Maybe that’s what they are referring to whenever they bring up the term: “American ingenuity”. The ability of grasping concepts that would otherwise be complicated and in need of abstract thinking, by superimposing them into the everyday lives of the general populace—which is the basis of the American political system, some historians have said. Such ideas and effects are quintessentially American and, thus, worthy of being celebrated.
Or, a tad more cynically, there exists the possibility of the authors of the study being referenced here having been caught just pandering to the festive and patriotic mood of the masses. In search of some sort of “click-bait” type of effect perhaps—although those usually involve the name of a given celebrity and an implication of possible nudity.
Maybe, if we were able to survey those who completed and assisted in the aforementioned survey, then those results could help us clear our doubts…