People Are the Results of Culture

By Max Macrot

I’m an American. I am made up of American football and baseball and apple pie, scantily-clad women and McDonald’s, American cheese, and Tourette’s-like patriotic outbursts. I love America just as much as the next guy, but maybe not the next guy after that.

Since preschool (‘Merica!) I have been told that we are incredibly lucky to live in such a great country. This message has come from teachers, parents, TV, movies, commercials, and countless flags on lawns and cars. From chants of “U-S-A” to Rocky fighting that Russian in Rocky IV, I have all the evidence I need to prove that America is the greatest country in the world.

If this is the case, why should I bother learning about any other country? Mexicans are drug-dealing rapists. Muslims are terrorists. The outside world is scary. They want to hurt America.

What's truly scary is how those within the U.S. view those outside of the country. There's a culture of fear being bred in our nation, and it is affecting everyone. If we are at the point that a wall needs to be built in order to protect us from the evils of Mexico, then I request that a wall be erected around the cast of Jersey Shore. People are afraid of each other, especially those who are different. This isn't a recent development spurred by terrorist attacks. It has been a part of our culture since the 1600s, when Native Americans were thought of as heathens.

And unfortunately, we as a society would much rather pretend to be really interested by something on our phone than risk the possibility of making eye contact with someone else. Our society is becoming polarized and segregated to the point that people are afraid to express their thoughts. Politics has become an incredibly emotionally-charged topic, and we feel as if we have to defend our beliefs.

The irony of this is that we all want basically the same things: money, safety, and opportunity. This feeling of us against the world is creating a culture of fear and self-defense in our country. We don't want to live in fear. If we can view each other as people and not threats, this culture of fear will dissipate.