Symposium 2016: America’s original values and its culture have been undermined for at least 50 years or more with a resulting deconstruction of what the term America or American means. Is there true deterioration? If so, how can it be remedied?

Owatonna, NC Correspondent- To say that America’s values and culture have been undermined implies deliberate action by a person or group who is (are) intentionally working to “destroy” what once was in terms of culture and values. I’m not sure it’s quite as simple as wanton destruction. As more and different subgroups of Americans claim a direct stake in our society, these groups will work to change our culture in ways that will either right past wrongs or give them a greater say in the important decisions we make as a nation. They will also have more input into what we accept as normal in our daily lives.

A prime example is African-Americans gaining more prominence in society. They first were accepted as more or less equals in the professional sports and entertainment industries. After the Civil Rights movement, people of color gained more political and economic power. As minority populations have increased as a percentage of overall population, minority influence in all walks of life have increased proportionally.

Similar things have happened to other minorities such as the Hispanic, LGBT, Asian, Indian, and Muslim communities. Even the women’s movement has brought women more status and power as a subgroup. Each group has gained more acceptance and legitimacy in American life in recent decades. These varying viewpoints complicate life because consensus is harder to reach on what is right, proper, and normal in society. Most of the handwringing, not surprisingly, comes from the group that has perceived these changes to be most detrimental to their version of American culture and values—white males, who dictated culture and values for the first two centuries in this country.

Our culture and values aren’t so much deteriorating as they are changing. Change is always difficult, even turbulent at times, but ultimately culture and values are a direct reflection of the collective individualism of the population. America is no longer dominated by white males. Our society was different two hundred years ago, which was different from our society one hundred years ago, which was different from society today, which will be different from society one hundred years from now. The remedy is to be flexible, willing to change, but always trying to make changes that will benefit all Americans in the long run.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent- There is a true deterioration of American values and its culture, which has resulted in strong divisive and progressive  elements within the country that have forced their agenda on those who want to retain normalcy, balance and the true meaning of the term America or American.

This is not some new phenomenon that just burst on the scene as progressivism has been elbowing its way into the American landscape since the 1930s. The movement has gained momentum in the ensuing decades through the educational, political, social and economic systems of America that have incorporated progressive ideologies within their systems and used their influence to change the nature of America and its culture.

Opposing progressive elements and their agenda requires constructive approaches, tactics and policies along with real citizen involvement to stop the deterioration of America.  It also requires leadership at all levels to impress upon the left (liberals, progressives, socialists, communists and others) that a large percentage of Americans are not interested in or ready to change their lives and culture because these factions want to fulfill their ideological fantasies and force their beliefs upon others.

Understanding American culture and how it has changed is of critical importance as well as how it has been challenged by those wanting to change it.  Young and old need to recognize  the meanings behind America’s basic cultural concepts of liberty/freedom(s), equality,  sovereignty, individualism/self-reliance, family structure,  unity,  democracy/representative republic,  limited government, the American Dream,  the Rule of Law and other related concepts. Without knowledge of any of these concepts and how they have held American society together, uninformed citizens are robbing themselves of their heritage.

Other younger, impressionable, and less informed Americans are acutely unaware of what life is like under these leftist ideologies, and they have failed to realize and understand the effects of these ideologies   on the culture.  They lack American and world historical knowledge as well as the critical thinking skills to understand how to evaluate events and the ideologies as to their influence and measure of value. This lack of knowledge and skills can be blamed on America’s educational system as well as parents and even the young themselves.

With limited knowledge as to what being an American really means, younger generations and those enamored of and enticed by leftist ideologies must be informed of the differences between American cultural concepts and that of leftist ideologies.  In turn, they need to further investigate those ideologies and their cultural concepts and compare them to American cultural concepts.  A line of distinction needs to be drawn between the two cultural identities and the contrasts developed in a basis, easy to understand, outline form and presented in an educational setting either through schools, local city governments or other public means. If American citizens want to surrender their cultural identity with another, they at least need to know what they are relinquishing.

If American culture is going to exhibit any semblance of its former self, real leadership and the acceptance of the reality of the forces changing it need to be the focus of reform.  As American revolutionist patriot, Samuel Adams proclaimed in a letter in 1775 , “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”

 

Gastonia, NC Correspondent- At its base, being an American means cleaving to the Constitution and the other basic tenets and freedoms that make this country what it is.  Inclusion of immigrants (legal), freedom of speech, freedom of (and from) religion, no taxation without representation and all the other values we hold dear are still intact, but we must guard against the screechy special interests, especially those on the left, who seek to nibble away at them.  “Safe zones” on university campuses, banned books, banned speech and hypersensitivity to anything with even a faint whiff of religion are eroding our culture.  My hope is that with Trump in office, a national sense of “get over yourself” will take hold, and right-thinking Americans will once again find themselves in the company of fellows

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