What America Means to Me
America is a country that allows me to vote when I’m 18, I’ll have a say in who I want for as the next president, or governor of my state. America is a country where I have to follow laws for everyone’s safety. America is the land of the free. I consider America as a melting pot for all nationalities. America is a country that our allies can rely on when in trouble. America is a superpower. America is the world’s wealthiest nation. America has had its failures. American leaders have made poor decisions in the past that still affect us today. Failures such as pushing the Native Americans westward, to not giving African Americans the right to vote until 1965. But that was normal in those times. Most Americans didn’t know it was wrong. But the ones who did, made sure their voices were heard. Pilgrims came to America by sailing over the sea on the Mayflower. The pilgrims pushed the Native Americans westward off their land so they could start building their colonies. The 13 original colonies were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and New Hampshire.
America has stood up to the government before to make sure their voices were heard. An example of this is the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty was an organization that was created in the original 13 American Colonies. It was a secret society that was formed to protect the rights of the colonists and to fight taxation by Great Britain’s government. Also the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence announced and explained the separation from Great Britain. We celebrate the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Patriots fought in the American Revolution against the redcoats to become independent from Great Britain. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic depression that originated in the United States of America during the 1920’s. The depression caused many farmers to lose their farms. During the Great Depression, unemployment went from 3 percent to 25 percent of America’s workforce. Wages for those who still had their jobs dropped 42 percent. During the early 1930’s in the Midwest and Southern Great Plains, Americans suffered dust storms. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that impacted many lives. Although Franklin D. Roosevelt had the New Deal, which was a series of federal programs, public work projects, regulations and financial reforms enacted in the United States of America during the 1930’s, it did not have the effect on the Great Depression as the end of World War II. World War II helped America get out of The Great Depression by creating more jobs, this leading to the decrease of the unemployment rate in the United States of America. I consider America as a melting pot because of the Age of Mass Migration. The two immigration islands were Ellis Island, and Angel Island. Ellis Island is located on the east coast in Upper New York Bay. Ellis Island opened in 1892. Immigrants from Great Britain, Germany, and Ireland came through Ellis Island. Angel Island is located on the west coast in San Francisco Bay. Angel Island opened in 1910. Immigrants from Japan and Korea came through Angel Island. The diversity of race, religion, and culture in America today all contribute to my opinion that America is one big melting pot. America is a superpower. A superpower is a country that has enough political, military, and economic strength to immediate another country. Some of the American allies are Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and The European Union. Academics become the responsibility of public schools in the mid- 1900’s. Public Schooling in the South was not widespread until the Reconstruction Era after the American Civil War. The United States of America has a wide range of universities. There is a wide range of careers and schools. There are military schools, all girl schools, all boy schools, and there is a such thing as an all-black school such as Howard University, Hampton University and many others.
The United States of America is the wealthiest nation in the world. Although America doesn’t have the highest minimum wage, we do have an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. The United States of America is a nation with 50 states. Major Atlantic Coast cities like New York, are a global finance. Hollywood is famed for filmmaking. The United States of America spends the most amount of money on its Army than the whole world.. The United States of America spend close to 711 billion dollars on all the military branches combined. No other nation comes close other than China at 143 billion. No other military could inflict the number of casualties on the United States military in a conventional war. Americans have very different opinions about politics. The most debatable topics are the immigration ban, legalization of marijuana, rigged elections, Donald Trump, torture, Kneeling during the national anthem, confederate statues, and North Korea. I think our legal system has failed. Police brutality is one of many forms of police misconduct and abuse of power. Racial discrimination is one of the major contributors of police brutality in America. Racial profiling refers to a situation where a person of a different race is considered more likely to be involved in a crime or criminal behavior because of the color of their skin. Racial profiling is making assumptions based off one’s race. Racial profiling is when accused of committing a crime by an officer, but that officer has no evidence you did the crime. A form of police brutality is excessive force. Excessive force is when the police make unnecessary moves on the person being arrested. An example is Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray died in police custody with a broken neck. He died in the back of a police van. Natasha McKenna. Mckenna was shocked four times with a stun gun while her hands and legs were cuffed. She suffered from mental illness. A deputy used a stun gun on her on a different occasion while in jail. She died on February 8th, 2015. False arrest or imprisonment is made when someone holds you captive without a warrant. Or with a lack of probable cause. If all charges are dropped, sometimes the person will sue on the grounds of false arrest because there may have never been a legitimate reason to arrest the victim. It is unlikely the victim will win. Another definition for false arrest is when someone who does not have the legal authority to arrest you arrests you . For example, if you are robbing a bank and you hold people hostage, that is false imprisonment. The hostages won’t leave because they fear you’ll hurt them.
Trayvon Martin was killed by a bullet shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had all charges dropped. He is not behind bars. Zimmerman called emergency services to report a suspicious person. He was instructed not to get out of his car. Moments later, neighbors called and reported gunshots. Zimmerman claims it was self-defense. This case caused an uproar all across the nation. Trayvon Martin was 17 years old. February 24, 2015, George Zimmerman had no federal civil right charges against him. There are so many victims of police brutality. I think there are many good police that do their jobs and have positive attitudes towards all citizen as long as they do the same. But then we have police officers like Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown. Or Brad Miller who killed Christian Taylor. Taylor was a 19 year old young adult who played football for his school, Angelo State University. Or Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who killed innocent 17 year old Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times by one gun. Or the policeman who killed 36 year old LaTanya Haggerty. He mistaken her for holding a gun in her hand, when she was only talking on the cell phone. Nor Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12 year old Tamir Rice, for playing with a toy gun in the park.36 percent of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015. Black people are only 13 percent of the United States population. Black men are nearly 3 times more likely to die from police force. I think our government should refine police training. Police brutality is a huge political debate. When I hear the word America, I think about police brutality. 91 percent of Americans support criminal justice reform. 43 percent of Americans say the justice system is unfair to most African Americans.
What does it mean to me to be an American? To be American is to have the right to go out and vote on election day. To be American means I can live my life to the fullest. Being American means to lend a hand to your enemy, and keep a smile on your face. Being American means to be united as one, once all differences are aside. To be American means to be dependable, rely and to give hope to one another. Because being American isn’t just to live in the land of the free. You have the opportunity to be anything you want in the land of the free. To be an American is to have patriotism in you, deep down. To be an American is to have a strong love for your country. Being a proud patriot is to be an American. Being American mean you can choose any religion you want. To be American is to speak your mind, and be a slave to anyone. To be a true American is to understand the different people around you. To get along with the people around you. To embrace the differences between the both of you. Understanding their cultures, understanding their religion, understanding their way of life, and understanding how to get along with one another. We are our brother’s keeper.
But to be an American also means bad things. America has the highest poverty rate in the world. To be an American is to pay the man 10.4 percent more than the woman in the same job position. To be an American is to live in the country with the worst murder rate. Although America spends the most on its military, is it always a good thing? To be an American is to live in a country that is over 18 trillion dollars in debt. What does it mean to me to be an American? To be black and to be an American is always questioning the worth of my life. Will I die today because the police officer sees me as a danger. Will my name become the next hashtag? Or will it be my father? That’s what it means to me to be an American.
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