What it means to be an American

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “We have not passed on what it means to be an American to the next generation.” Dennis Prager on the biggest threat to our countryWhen people ask my fears for the future I quote Dennis Prager. My future and the future of my country are the same. But the America to which I was born is not the same country today. My grandparents would not recognize this country. Over the last fifty years our unique American values have been intentionally destroyed.
These next generations have not been taught what it means to be an American. They are not conversant with the American value systems of their grandparents. Therefore, lacking a grounding in American values, they feel free to adopt values from Europe or Asia.
When I was a child the purpose of our country was understood. Also there were obligations each American had to our country. I grew up understanding the sacrifices made so I could have liberty and the obligations of a free country. I understood that America became America by the ideals of personal liberty, responsibility and that our country was and is guided by a higher power. 
Years ago I had a clear picture of our country as to purpose: protect the world and ourselves from evil. Live a God-Fearing life and to make sure this country gave equal opportunity to every citizen. During my lifetime the words, “…Under God…” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. 
 Starting in the 1960s, however, came the attack from within on American values. Over these last five decades God is no longer welcome in our schools and workplaces. God is no longer centric to our country. We did not seem to notice this loss of a core value in our society. It changed without a vote and without the consent of the governed. Next went our liberty. A coincidence? 
 During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “...I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” Read column