It’s late. I should probably be in bed. However, I ended up talking politics (online) with a former student. He knows who he is… Anyway…here’s my wacky take:
It’s election season here in the USA, and there’s a lot of talk about the -isms. Capitalism. Heroism. Judaism. Communism. Pokemonism.
But no one seems to talk about Americanism.
Not all Americans are Christians, but much of our country’s founders were. Thus, there is a large percentage of Christian-oriented language in our early political documents. While “Americanism” is on nary a page of those documents, I firmly believe we as a nation subscribe to this lesser-known -ism.
An Americanismist is probably inclined to donate a buck or so to the wounded veteran sitting in a wheelchair outside a Wal-Mart. To us, that seems like a obvious choice. We think, “I’ve come to this shit-hole store to buy something. I have money. This guy can’t walk anymore because he put his life on the line X amount of years ago to protect what I believe to be my freedom, so…yeah! Here’s a buck!”
Someone who follows Americanism also thinks it’s nice to have a firm structure above him or her at the time of sleeping. That roof could be made of torn umbrella pieces, crystal, or something in between. We tend to prefer to reside in some type of living space that covers us. Gosh. How many times has anyone reading this learned of a family or friend who has suffered through some type of accident or damage to one’s abode? Here, we think, “Your house burned down? That’s terrible! What can we do? Would you like to stay at our house? Can I take your kids to school? I know your insurance is pretty good, but we’d like to help you out because, you know, you’re my uncle.”
Example three: Americanismists are pretty touchy about education. While I can’t possibly gauge what all readers do while engaging in social media interactions, I can wager that the following occurs quite frequently: Parents discuss teachers’ methodology (positively or negatively). Teachers discuss parents’ involvement or lack thereof. Students’ discuss their parents’ and teachers’ ability to constantly piss them off. Politicians or political strategists discuss the importance of mainstreaming, inclusion, individual educational plans (IEPs), schools’ performance grades, schools’ performance scores, schools’ accreditation, schools’ budgetary states, etc. Every damn one of these Americanismists want kids to not only go to school, but to be educated to the point where they can a) contribute in some way to society, and b) move out. For this example we say things like this to young people:
“Boy, school wasn’t like that in my day, but I guess times change, huh?”
‘When you’re older you’ll understand how important it is for you to graduate.”
“I work hard so you have opportunities I didn’t have.”
“Please, for the love of God, put down that phone and listen to me!”
So…a while back a few of those “founding” guys thought that our new country ought to have some type of basic educational system for every child. In their infinite senselessness (ahem), they further thought that said education should not come at a huge cost that would leave some young people out of those schools. Make it free, they said. They’ll be like an investment toward the next generation. We can teach them all how to read, write, understand trapezoids and protons, and they’ll strengthen our local-, state-, and federal work force to a higher point YEAR AFTER YEAR! (I’m paraphrasing, of course…)
That’s why, in 2016, it’s pretty much illegal for a public school to turn away a student who wishes to enroll. It’s Americanism. It’s because we care about one another.
Which, if you think about it, is a societal thing.
We are also quite social. We attend social gatherings such as church, PTA meetings, AA meetings, and even ice cream socials (if you went to my elementary school).
At these social events, we talk to one another, ask about each other’s families and work. We engage in what is commonly known as “respectful behavior” and “common sense.” We support fundraisers. We buy lemonade from the neighborhood kids every summer. I mean…come on. We’re not against being social, right? We’re not anti-social. Right?
We can’t wait to hang out.
We can’t wait to leave work and see our families and friends.
We can’t wait for our lunch break at work to have some time to socialize.
We love to be social—in person and online.
But are we SOCIALISTS?