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This post was edited by KIyer at 2017-10-13 13:17|
The current political news from the USA brings to mind the above question.
Every country and society has all kinds of people - good and bad, strong and weak, rich and poor, clever and foolish. It is the relative distribution of these characteristics that varies a little bit among them, but not as much as we might be led to believe from the media. However, cultural acceptance of certain traits or qualities as 'desirable' or 'undesirable' can vary markedly between different countries or societies. This gives rise to certain stereotypes which can certainly represent a significant number of people who are considered as typically representing the 'best' in that society.
Here is my take on 'the best of Americans' - the citizens of the USA, as defined in their own local perceptions and traditions, based on my observations.
Freedom loving. Will accept nothing less than the maximum possible freedom to pursue happiness in life in their own way. Of course, it is accepted that it is done without trampling on the rights of someone else to do the same.
Fearless, loud and clear: Totally fearless in speaking out their mind. While they are sensitive to others' feelings as well, they will not try to be politically correct at the expense of the truth that they need to say. There is a certain, unmistakable energy and power to their speech.
Brave: Even if there is a danger and certainty of opposition and painful consequences, they will say what they believe. They will expect to face resistance and overcome it.
They will not be cowed down by intimidation, threats or fear of 'punitive consequences'.
Willingness to fight for what they believe is their right or against being tyrannized or subjugated: They cannot tolerate living a life of being enslaved.
An associated charming quality is that they respect others who also exhibit these qualities. There is something to the slogan - 'Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.' They do not, at heart, respect those who are not willing to fight for what they believe is right or fair, to face resistance, danger and take risks.
"Well, if you are not willing to fight for your rights, you likely do not deserve them!" seems to be their attitude, summed up beautifully in the saying "Freedom isn't Free".
Honest and straightforward: There is a raw honesty in their words and deeds. They may say things cryptically, but do so clearly, in an unmistakable manner. There is no 'saying one thing, meaning another and doing something else'. They will not say different things to different people to please everyone, only to deceive most.
Acceptance of imperfection in humans: An imperfect person or someone who has made mistakes, made amends and moved on, gets another chance to succeed and aim for any high goal. Some of the top achievers in the USA are examples of such people.
Intelligent: There is a simple, penetrative intelligence that can always keep the most important and significant issues in focus. They get to the point directly, ask or pose the most appropriate questions. They are not awed or side-tracked by their adversaries' bullshit or high achievements in unrelated issues or the view of the majority in a crowd. They are confident in themselves as individuals.
Irreverent and Humorous: The best Americans are not impressed by titles - ranks, titles, wealth or intellectual pretensions. Their humour is quite irreverent and permeates most social interactions.
Desire to be The Best and The Biggest: There is a great drive from within to always be the best or get the best of everything the world. There is a recognition that all the best in the world cannot be only from their own country. Hence, there is a humility and welcoming attitude to the best from anywhere else in the world, to appreciate and learn from the best, even from their adversaries. This is the real secret to their being able to absorb a lot of the best talents from around the world.
Hardworking, resilient from failures and working smart: The best of the Americans can patiently work their own way up, without resenting someone else who has honestly succeeded or done very well, ahead of themselves. They try to learn and work smart themselves. They take credit and blame individually in many situations.
In some other cultures, some of these traits will not be looked upon as 'desirable' or worthy of a 'role model'. In many Asian cultures, speaking loudly, not showing unconditional reverence to age, rank, or taking individual credit are not qualities they associate with their local notion of the best among themselves.
Of course, it is also true that in today's world, many of our traditional heroes would not stand a chance of being accepted, revered or become heroes in a modern, developed country. As some often point out, if a Jesus, or Gandhi were alive today going about doing what they were reputedly did, they would not make such a public impact in our modern society. They would probably have been locked up in some kind of state facility!!
We all like the general notion of these heroes, but modern society and culture in developed countries cannot easily accept the reality of people with such qualities. We, predominantly, prefer people and heroes who do not 'rock the boat' of our thinking -challenge us to change or speak their minds. Society seems to want people who will tell them comforting lies that we know to be so. It is interesting to watch the current political climate and wonder -
Where/Who are the best of American heroes and leaders? Will people even recognize one if they saw them on the street or heard them on TV?
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