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“The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights – these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.” – President Barack Obama.
One might wake up in the morning, thinking to themselves ‘What do I really stand for, what are my beliefs, what are my values?’ Generally, the answers are subjective as the mindsets of individuals diverge from one another throughout the world, but habitually, the core beliefs and values of an individual are rooted in the soil on which they were propagated. The values of one’s country have an immense effect on the worldview of its residents, and the ones that hold the fundamental values, of their country, close to their heart, are known as patriots. For America, a portion of today’s important values have always been prevalent, those values are what led to the inhabitation of the continent, what contrived the abolishment of the English tyrannical government, what inspired new settlers to advance the frontier and they are what binds all Americans, recent and ancient immigrants alike, together.
An admonition is vital when choosing a path on a societal crossroad, everything has a price – especially when done on a country-wide scale. Americans have embraced some key values and therefore chosen to also accept what costs those values might bring. Individuality is an important part of American legislation, life, and lineage, but with the cost of self-reliance. “Every man is the architect of his own fortune” is the essence which this value encompasses and was inspired by. This value is the bedrock of other major American values, such as equality and freedom. Equality in America is meant as egalitarian equality; having the same rights and opportunities – not necessarily outcome, the price of which is competition which brings along materialistic tendencies and results in a great divide in social status within the population, such as rampant homelessness. Freedom is centered around the American individual and the choices which they can make, they have many freedoms, including freedom of religion, freedom of choice, and most importantly: their freedom of speech.
In present-day America, it is evident that these values, are still held in high regard. Constant disputes are made in efforts to improve equality of opportunity in many areas of the American labor force, notably regarding an ongoing battle for more diversity. Unfortunately, the American values are under constant pressure and even periodically under attack. The most recent attack on core American values was the repugnant choice of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to repeal net neutrality, in clear disregard of both the freedom of speech and principle of equality, in the direct omission of public opinion.
One might ask: “What is net neutrality and what did it do for me?” whilst being uncertain for the future without it. The internet is a platform that connects all users from around the world in different forums, in which they can interact with each other, the internet is perhaps the most important technology of our time in terms of creating connections and industries. Of course, someone must provide that internet for everyone, but one would expect the provider to not mess with their data or connection, they would expect neutrality on the internet. Net neutrality generates, enables and protects free speech online. After the repeal of net neutrality, internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon can block and/or discriminate against any type of content, application, platform, person or connection that operates through their networks, this could result in internet providers slowing down the connection when accessing streaming sites, such as Netflix, to compel consumers to purchase the providers own streaming packages. The repeal of net neutrality removes the security of both the freedom of online speech as well equality on the internet.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the sacred documents ensuring American values, rights, and beliefs for the American citizens. A portion of the American population, however, believes that the American constitution is outdated, and no longer reflects the American People, as their culture has changed. Whether the fundamental values of being an American is slowly deteriorating or will stand unyielding through the test of time, will prove to have an immense influence on what is currently known about American identity. As America moves to become even more ethnically diverse, it could quite likely change American identity forever.
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