Preserving the American Way at Home
From The American Way by Mark Fennell
Because America is based on self-government, then preserving and protecting the American Way is done primarily by individuals and the community.
The American Way is preserved and protected by these groups, in the following order: individual; family; community; civic organizations; city govt; state govt; federal govt.
The American Way starts with each individual.
The following statements are the personal ideals that I hold myself to. I hope that these will be your standards as well.
"As an American, I must try my best at all times. I must try to be honest, hard-working, fair, and courteous. I must be respectful and polite. I must try to be friendly and helpful to all. I will join others, for social or civic reasons. I will try to be a welcomed member of all my clubs and communities.
I must work to create my own success. I must make my own choices, and I must accept ownership for all of my decisions - whatever the results. I will try to pursue my happiness in my own way, yet try not to hurt others in the process. I will try to take life's struggles in stride and try to have a sense of humor about it all. I will try to keep my faith, as is my beliefs, to carry me through the most difficult times.
I will call attention to actions that harm others or are destructive to America. I will do my best to live by the American Way, preserve it for the future, and protect it from our enemies."
Families are an important social unit. Families are more than relations by birth, they must also be a foundation for life.
Whatever happens in the home will affect the community. That is why it is essential for parents to teach values. Children must learn to be responsible and respectful. They must be well-mannered, courteous, and honest. Parents must live these values as an example, and discipline their children as needed.
All family members must share the regular chores. Note that sharing in chores is the basis for all of America - each American doing his part to make his community better.
A family is like a safety net. One relationship is like a rope, connecting two people. That is a good thing, but one is not enough. However, build many of these relationships, build many of these ropes, and you have a net. You will have a crisscross of interlinked relationships, just like a crisscross of interlinked ropes. Ah, yes, now you have a safety net when you really need it. Whenever you have a serious problem, your fall is far less painful, and you can recover more easily.
With the disintegration of the family, and with more people thinking about themselves first, where does one go when problems arise? They go to drugs, violence, therapy, and welfare.
Lack of strong family has led us to a fragmented society where social problems have increased dramatically. The government has increased in size to tackle these problems.
This is not the way it was meant to be. If we get back to a traditional structure of stronger families, then everything will fall into place. Individuals will be happier, there will be fewer social problems, and the government will shrink down. Everything right now has grown out of control, but with a return to the solid family unit, most of America's troubles will collapse back down to normal scope and size.
A strong family is essential to a good life, and is an essential building block of the American Way.
Communities take care of themselves. We discussed much of this in the chapter on being a good neighbor.
Basically, Americans must have positive relationships with their neighbors. They spend time together socially, they respect each other, and they help each other. Local neighborhoods can be a wonderful place. However, we must remember that communities are people, not buildings, and therefore people must spend time with their neighbors, not shut away indoors.
To get things done for the community on a large scale, we need civic organizations.
A civic organization is essentially a group of people who want to do good for their community. The causes are endless - for every community issue, there is an organization who looks into it. Nor is it just service, for the members have fun times as well as doing good deeds.
Remember that in America the people take care of themselves. Remember that in America we believe in limited government. Yes, Americans care. Yes, we are generous. But no, we do not believe the government should be involved in charity or welfare. It is up to the people to take care of their own communities.
These civic organizations do many things. They raise money for all kinds of diseases. They raise money to help victims of disasters, or for children with health issues. Some organizations work to raise the youth with good morals. Other organizations work to reduce crime, reduce drug abuse, or increase literacy. The great things that these civic organizations do are amazing.
Yet, we must emphasize, that the organization is still just the contact point. It is the people themselves, the people of the community, who make these things happen. The people are the ones who selflessly donate their money. The people are the ones who give so much of their time. Without these people, the organization would be just a name. It is the people of the communities who make the results.
Thus, civic organizations are the idealized form of self-government. They are larger than a family or a local neighborhood, so they can coordinate larger projects and coordinate larger distributions of money. Yet they are not the government. These organizations provide services for the community, but they are still voluntary. No one is forced to do anything, and yet good Americans still give their money and their time so freely. That is why I say that all these civic organizations, together, form the idealized form of self-government in America. Civic organizations are people voluntarily taking care of their own community.
Governments - city, state, federal
After the primary levels of individual, the family, the community, and the civic organizations, then, and only then, does the government get involved. However, there should always be local control first and foremost.
Preserving our Communities is up to us
Preserving the American Way is up to us. It is up to us, the ordinary people, to keep our communities healthy.
To anyone who is disturbed by something, I ask: what did you do to try to change it? If you are seriously bothered by something, and you feel that it is not being changed, then you should work to change it yourself. If you are not proactive, then you have no right to complain. In addition, when a group of people with the same grievance join to become active, you should join them. When they offer suggestions for improvement, you should listen and support them.
The community and country in which we live is ours. It belongs to me and you, and we want it to be as beautiful as it can be. To do that, it is not enough for individuals to act alone. Everyone must be involved.
It is not merely the responsibilities of legislators, clergy or a few leaders to work for our community - each of us must work for our community as well. If each of us looks for improving the quality of our community when we interact with it, then the overall quality of our communities will be improved. Each person should select an issue to work with, and join a team of others with the same vision so that progress is always made.
You may think that your influence is small, but in fact anything you do for the community will be more effective than you think. There are many reasons for this, which we will discuss throughout the book.
Thus, preserving the community and preserving the American Way are primarily up to the people. We must take care of our communities, and must do it ourselves. You may think that your one act is small, but that is really how America works. America's communities remain healthy by individuals taking care of their own communities, in small ways, every day.