The American

The American invents things, develops new technologies, seeks efficiency, strives for productivity, turns a profit, pays taxes, lives and dies.

The American wants to be self-reliant, but expects there are times  when seeking the help of others is necessary. Independence is a state to be sought after, but when in the course of human events in becomes necessary to link with others in order to get the job done, then so be it. He doesn’’t want to ask what others can do for him, preferring instead to ask, “How can we help you today?”

The American takes personal responsibility seriously. She works hard, but takes some time off now and then.  He generally knows what he wants, but realizes you get what you can until what you want is within reach.

The American collaborates with others to build bridges. Sometimes she discovers deep down inside a destructive impulse to burn those bridges. Maybe she herself has been burned, with injustice or abuse. But what good can come of being vindictive? To forgive is divine. To move on is necessary.

An American gets a transfer, or switches jobs when it just ain’t happenin’

He plans ahead, but expects the unexpected. If something can go wrong, it will. He’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it. She sees obstacles ahead, but doesn’t obsess about them; they are understood to be part of the landscape. Trouble comes with the territory.

Yet is he faithful, and knows when to persist, and when enduring humiliation is a chasm that must be crossed. She perseveres through thick and thin.

The American may occasionally use objectionable language, but he learns that inserting the f-word, the n-word, and a few other ill-advised utterances can prove self-defeating. A tactful propriety may prove more productive, and even political correctness has some value now and then. Euphemism can be fun, but speaking truth plainly when others are occupied with beating around the bush can prove quite expedient. Cut to the chase.

The American speaks correction to a bully, a thief, or a drunk.

Most of the time, he is kind, but every now and then a little means streak comes out, and must be checked.

She’ll cut you some slack, but understands there comes a time to take it back, for your own good, of course.

The American is neighborly, but he doesn’t pry into other people’s business.

She is tolerant, peace-loving. He defends the weak instead of exploiting them.

She minds her own business, but persists in making appropriate inquiries; he sees that some folks want to be left alone.

The American wants to discern the difference between a means to an end, and an end itself.

She tries to save money, like grandma used to do. He wants to work hard for everything he has, but sometimes just an afternoon of NCAA basketball will contribute miles of inspiration that neutralizes exhaustion. With potato chips and a beer or two.

He doesn’t do pie in sky, nevertheless understands the power of dreams.

She appreciates the liberty of being casual, but enjoys spiffing up when it is time for cuttin’ a shine.

He takes a shower every Saturday evening whether he needs it or not.

The American turns on his hot water spigot, his car ignition, her electric light, but takes it for granted. It may not always be so easy.

Playing by the rules is a prerequisite for order and for decency, but there are some times when practicality, or fair play, requires that the rules to be set aside. Wisdom is knowing the difference.

The American respects law, but has been known to occasionally scoot under the changing red, on a bad day.

On a good day, which is most of them, he’ll wait his turn.

The American avoids talking about religion or politics. If you believe that, I’ve got some swamp land in Arizona I’ll sell ya. De Tocqueville can tell you more about that.

The American is a democrat, or a republican, but that third-party possibility is always in the back of his mind; it could happen, although when’s the last time it did? 1840? Who knows? Wikipedia?

The American is liberal, maybe even a socialist, but possibly a conservative, perhaps a libertarian, but not a communist, although those who wish to stand beneath that banner have liberty to do so. But they are barking up the wrong tree, or spinning their muddy wheels.

It’s a free country.

The American votes, and likes to keep up with what’s going on in the world, and to form an opinion of her own, although it is not so different from everybody else’s as she might think. Hey, everybody has an opinion, but what’s it worth?

What’s it to ya?

Through each American–through her, through him–government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth, if that citizen is willing to do her part, and pull his weight. The American says keep up the good work, and keep on keepin’ on.

Last one out, turn off the lights.

Btw, Are you an American?

Glass half-Full

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