Are really Americans what they say about themselves?



Recently, I have scrolled through the content, the author of which theorizes that there is a considerable discrepancy between what Americans aspire to as a nation and what they consider "American", and the reality in the United States. We may not live in the States for too long yet, but the thesis posed certainly makes us think. The following is my personal perception and my feelings - I don't think I'm absolutely right, it's just my subjective opinion about it. You think differently? We are happy to discuss! Let's go!



Promiseland



From the very beginning of its history, the United States was to be the promised land, the new world order, the coveted Eldorado, the dream of all travelers there. Over the years, such a narrative dominated both the first pilgrims who lived on the site and all those who waited for their seat on the boats heading for the other side of the Atlantic. This narrative continues today, and a similar belief is harnessed in many places on earth. America - a wonderful land where life is a fairy tale. I myself was brought up in such a belief. The nineties were crazy about America. Everything that was "made in the USA" was wonderful and one of a kind. The unique atmosphere of the metropolis, casual and cool attitude of the people, modernity, great sports personalities, big companies, big money. Americans were able to make the whole world jealous and they did it with a big bang. Indeed, I was convinced that exceptional things were happening overseas. Anyway, I even wrote about it - you can have a look > here <. Besides myself, many other people believed in the legend about the States, they gave up their previous lives and set off on a one-way journey - for their dreams.



So what is America for Americans?



In my opinion, it is primarily a land of freedom - and everyone understands freedom in their own way. For some, the most important thing is the freedom to express their own opinions, some see the word freedom as unlimited travel possibilities, for others it is simply freedom to choose who you are, what you believe in, what you support, etc. Americans are sensitive to everything that limits their sense of freedom - which was clearly visible at the beginning of the pandemic, when there was a growing resistance to restrictions and orders to stay at home. Americans are a free nation, and that's how they like to think of themselves.


For many Americans, being "American" is also all about family, being close to relatives, creating and actively participating in smaller or larger communities, doing good for others, and improving the quality of life of others. Americans love this subject - lots of charities, neighborhood groups, fan clubs, support groups, hobby clubs and many, many more. Americans love to be part of something bigger and speak of it with pride.


Finally, the USA is also a country of opportunity. How many "from zero to hero" examples were there in this country? How many wonderful stories, big dreams achieved, wonderful initiatives and great achievements of mankind have been signed under the names of Americans? How many people have come here with nothing and have been extremely successful? Of course, the questions are rhetorical, we all know there's a lot of it. Dollars are pouring down the streets and alleys, beautiful skyscrapers are growing up really fast, and properties in high-end neighborhoods are selling like hot cakes. The market and the economy are like a ravenous monster that draws every solid idea and endows its authors with millions. Everything here is the best, most expensive and most wonderful.



So what could be wrong?



I mentioned earlier that there is a certain discrepancy between what Americans say and reality. Let's break it down into a few examples. Freedom? Americans love this word, but does this freedom still have its strength and the same message? Let's look at work. America stands for corporations. America feeds on millions of employees from huge multinational companies who spend most of their time chained to computers, stuck with work, cut off from reality, waiting for a vacation just to lie at home doing nothing, gather strength to come back and work again. Corporation is a cruel machine, but it is not only a corporate ailment. Speaking of vacation ...


How is it possible that in the "land of freedom" some companies do not offer anything like holidays at all? If you have 10-15 days off a year, some people will say "you are so lucky, we have NOTHING"! Sorry, this sounds like a prison. What is this freedom about? Freedom is the weekends? Freedom is time after work (which you have a little if you don't do unpaid overtime)? Maybe freedom is no longer measured in units of time, but in units of money? But why the money if there is no time to use it? Why money if your life follows the same pattern, day in and day out, for years ...


We will smoothly move from the subject of the work to the subject of the family. You probably know it from the movies - the father neglects his family because he works late hours, sometimes he even sleeps in his office somewhere on a chair or on the floor. He promises his child to appear at his most important baseball game, and of course fails - again, because of work. It is no coincidence that such scenes are played out in films on a regular basis - this is the American work culture, the American sense of responsibility with the obligations that bear on them. They even consider it to be something noble, extremely impressive, and inspiring great respect. For many Americans, work is a mission. And you see, there's nothing wrong with that ... as long as it doesn't affect your private life.


No vacation, late night work, no family life, what else? One of the topics that shocked us a lot is pregnancy leave. We are brought up on a standard where a pregnant woman can suspend professional duties for up to 2 years. When Americans hear about such layoffs, they refuse to believe - it's impossible! How can a company let a woman go for 2 years and still pay her money? But wait a minute ... Isn't the birth of a child one of the most important moments in life? Isn't this a great family event? So why should it be otherwise? Why is the closeness of the mother to the child to be immediately removed after birth because of professional responsibilities? Where is this wonderful vision of focusing on the family, sacrificing for it, putting it on a pedestal, etc? Is it really a normal thing for everyone to see a woman in advanced pregnancy barely moving between tightly packed desks? Something is not right here...



And here we come to the topic of health, and more specifically private health care. We've asked dozens or even hundreds of times - how is it possible that a day in hospital may cost $4,000? How is it possible that a simple blood test costs $1000, putting a broken leg in a plaster $5000? How is it possible that clinics and hospitals charge a bill of $15,000 for a series of simple medical examination? How is it possible that there is no general insurance to cover these horrible amounts and give people a sense of security? The old Yankee truth is - if you don't have good health insurance, you'd better not get sick in the USA. It's best not to do anything stupid, just go to work, come back from work, lie on the couch, watch a game, drink a beer, go to sleep - repeat the next day. Don't even think about playing football with your child in the backyard or fooling around a bit - unless you put your broken leg together yourself. We have seen many times people asking for money somewhere at the crossroads of busy streets. The cardboard rectangle says "my wife spent a month in the hospital, they took all our money, we need bread". You count it in your mind - a month in the hospital, a night of $ 5,000, multiply thirty days and you feel you're gonna pass out. Then you think again - how is it possible for a hospital stay to ruin your whole life? Apparently that's normal here. So where is this beautiful vision of caring, community, helping each other, making life better for the environment? Dunno ...



Uff...



These are just a few examples from the list that can probably be reliably expanded to include more cases. Of course, this is not a standard and it is not that it is impossible to live well and safely in America. We are a good example - we have a good job, good insurance and even a few days of vacation. We do not travel with our souls on our shoulders and we are not afraid to go outside. This argument is more about the fact that it really happens that what Americans think about themselves and about their country or system is sometimes not reflected in reality. Of course, many of these things are reflected here and there like many great organizations, people living dreamlike lives, fulfilling their definition of freedom, etc. The trouble is not with individual understanding, but with American society as a whole. After all, it is a country of huge contrasts. We are just wondering if the Americans consider it normal? Many countries around the world can set an example when the topics mentioned are compared and how they have been solved. Americans could draw inspiration from it, see how many opportunities there are to improve the quality of life of their citizens, but probably no one is in a hurry to do so. We are most surprised by family issues and health care - for us it is a true non-American approach, which is at odds with our beliefs about Americans and America in general. But the truth is that Americans are masters of wonderful and thrilling speeches, they are exceptionally gifted at inspiring each other, sharing high-minded ideas, sometimes it even seems that that's all they need. Exactly, it sounds great in theory, but there is still no coverage in reality ... Do you have similar examples? Share with us!





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