What is American Culture?

One need only look as far as the Nacirema’s ritual of signing its history for a definition of culture. “for the land of the free, and the home of the brave”. The perception that this nation is free is of monumental importance. Equally is the reminder that this country is also where the brave call home. The American Culture is one of not only being one of freedom and bravery but to espouse that edict at every opportunity.

There is more to the American Culture than braggadocio ~ there is also gluttony. As much as the natural inhabitants of the United States would like to portray their country as the sole beacon of justice there are other facets of American life that shine through as bright as our starts and stripes. Similar to the idea in advertising that one’s brand is not only a collection of actual behavior exercised but also how it is perceived.

Further, I asked the question could brand replace the word culture in most contexts. The brand of the United States is more than just its logo ~ the brand is blood on that logo. Fighting for independence, either phenotypically or otherwise, is a feat worth defending in conversation and standing on in attitude. That independence was earned and was the last (and most recent) such independence of note.

And too often, the American Culture is all these traits combined into just one anecdote or just one look or whatever the proverbial contextual response required of the moment.

Similar to “Kii mac inwol in wikech” I often find myself saying “Life is good.” Each day, as Americans meander through life, eating their burgers and earning their diplomas, we find ourselves indulging in life’s great pleasantries. Albeit simple and often mundane we celebrate the freedom to be mediocre ~ the freedom to simply exist unabashedly.  There is a quote from a renowned American poet/artist that reads,

“Never looking back, or too far in front of me. The present is a gift and I just want to be.” ~ Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.

In this excerpt is a solemn cry to simply exist. A demand to stand in the moment and be. I believe subconsciously the American Culture seeks refuge from the world’s doldrums as wraps itself in the Constitution, not out of fear but because it was earned.

A friend of mine, in answering a question about the origins of Native Americans, made it very clear what his definition of American Culture was. – the ability to know or be concerned with the world’s problems and know that in America those problems would not infiltrate our freedoms. Our bravery would prevent those conflicts from ever reaching our shores and that as long as that were true there would always be at least one beacon of light in this world.

I admit, if this is somehow the case then I am glad we have shaped our American Culture to be impenetrable against criticism. Even if it means we’re blinded by ignorance, we’re protected by hope and opportunity no matter what.

What American Culture ~ that one.

Sex-less Marriages, But Not The Kind You’re Thinking Of

This appetite for same-sex marriage reached a tipping point when it was clear that traditional marriage was entering an era of failure. Traditional marriage are starting and ending for more ridiculous reasons nowadays. And Since heterosexuals can’t seem to get it right, the entire conversation about alternative styles has taken a front seat and appears to be hear to stay. The why not’s have come out of the wood works. It would almost seem as if we’re moving into an era where marriage is less about the sex of the individuals seeking them and more about their motives.

N.J. Senate rejects bill legalizing gay marriage

N.J. Senate rejects bill legalizing gay marriage

In society’s hasten nature to compare the now with the then the movement is being compared to the Civil Rights Movement. So I decided to at least consider it. Other than marriage (and it entails), are there any other “rights” the Gay & Lesbian community are being denied? I’ve always been confused about the idea of readily comparing a same-sex marriage campaign with the litany of discrimination that the Civil Rights Movement sought to reconcile.

They are indeed both wicked restrictions on an otherwise “free” society but a line item “limitation” compared to an entire culture of “restraints” don’t seem to add up in my mind. Let’s remember there were anti-Afro-American laws that needed to be purged from the books and not simply expanded for inclusion.

“Someone penned laws against our (Afro-American) Freedom and convinced otherwise good & thinking people to vote in favor of them. This is a monstrous manipulation of democracy.” ~ Unknown

Although, I will cede that the Gay & Lesbian civil liberties conversation would not have legs were it not for the Civil Rights Movements. It is a cog in the wheel of all that was considered the Civil Rights Movement – but certainly just a part of it. And actually if prodded longer, I would also go as far as to say it is an extension.

Same-Sex Marriage

The only real crossroads “same-sex relationships” and “the law” should share is in determining whether it benefits society. Removing all religious  arguments from the table and dealing specifically with the creation (or limitation) of laws – should the definition of marriage be expanded to include two consenting adults? When examined in its naked form – yes. Is it legally healthy for a society to systematically exclude any citizens from anything that any other citizen has access to?  No.

Adversely, as long as two adults can buy a home together, pay a mortgage together, pay property taxes, adopt a child and send her to college why wouldn’t their also exist a clean legal instrument to represent that partnership? Marriage seems to be that instrument.

Alan Keyes made possibly the realist argument against same-sex marriage.

In one of the few debates where Obama has ever gotten his *ss handed to him, Alan raises a “principled” argument that simply must be considered. Though ultimately wrong on the basis that marriage no longer represents just those interested in procreation. Keyes argued that, in principle, the institution of marriage was put in place to facilitate the growth of a family. A very interesting perspective, indeed.

Religion, Or The Lack There Of

I typically leave religion out of any substantive discussion/debate about same-sex marriage. It’s a straw argument. This country has gone out of its way to deviate from “God” and the Bible on many occasions. To be independent of any set religious edicts but still be able to cherry-pick its talking points seems to be the goal. Where God starts and stops in our laws is all over the place at best.

Religion only builds a wall that says the practice of homosexuality is (collectively) unnatural. But religion is not how our laws seem to be based or confined by. I’m merely saying it shouldn’t be included in a conversation about constructing laws.

I hate to even go here, but there are tenants in the Bible that would be considered illegal in the laws of the land but totally condoned in scripture. On the other hand, we have items in scripture that are perfectly within the law of the land but considered punishable by death in the Bible.

However, the Bible condemns, quite frequently, the practice of homosexuality. Either we commit to legally condemning even the casual relationships of the Gay & Lesbian community or admit that there is some separation between the laws we govern ourselves with and that of the scripture.

Laws created based solely on scripture would violate what our Constitution attempts to establish as freedom. Again, I simply find homosexuality unfortunate because I know what it’s like to love the opposite sex and I want others to experience it the way I have.

I’ve found myself, on occasion, even praying for their strength. Not to free them from “the binds of homosexuality” but to ensure they find the same internal peace that I exercise.

In Conclusion

What anti-Gay sentiment looks for is that advocates prove that not being able to marry is unlawful or unconstitutional. But being unlawful means a current law is being breached – this is not the case. What being unconstitutional means is to deviate from the freedoms designed in the constitution – this doesn’t do that either. This is what makes same-sex marriage so complicated to lobby for in reference to the CRM or woman’s voting rights.

This issue of same-sex marriage is a state-sanctioned practice and must be dealt with within the confines of state laws. That’s what makes this conversation so enticing – the fact that same-sex marriage lives between so many or our previously vetted social victories. The fact is; it’s new.

Marriage is, in its safest legal sense, an instrument of partnership. If the Gay & Lesbian community regroup and start there they may find what they’re looking for is already within reach.

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