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Old 10-30-2008, 12:35 PM   #1
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How is someone 'Un-American'?

Ok, so i've been following American Politics and news broadcasts for some time now, and I've noticed more and more that certain outlets, or people like to throw around the term 'Un-American'.

Now, as a Brit, it's pretty hard to understand - what defines this? And what makes one 'Un-American'? Or is it just a political insult used by those who wish to disparage another's patriotism and beliefs?

This concept of 'Un-American'ness is very strange to many outside of the US, and I'm seeking some input from anyone, Americans or not (maybe fellow foreigners also have similar questions).

I'd like to ask that people keep thoughts and opinions regarding the ongoing elections out of this discussion - i'm not interested in hearing accusations against the respective candidates here.

*Move this to the political discussion if it is felt that it will be better answered there - I didn't think it was necessarily a political topic.






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Old 10-30-2008, 12:44 PM   #2
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Onion-American.


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Old 10-30-2008, 01:05 PM   #3
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Un-American is a term generally used to discredit someone (ie a political figure) who doesn't agree with you or your standing/policy/platform. In my experience, it's used far more often by the Right than the Left. It's typically a fairly low and desperate attack on someone else's character.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:14 PM   #4
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The use of the term un-American today is an ad hominem attack and nothing more.

At one time in American history the term was used to battle things like real un-American ideas coming from organization such as the Ku Klux Klan, but today it is over used to battle anyone that disagrees with the status quo.


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Old 10-30-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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I think it's used more often by the Right than the Left, and is used to imply that anything that smacks of socialism/Communism and not capitalism is "un-American". I've seen it used by the Left very rarely to accuse the Right as being "un-American" as the equivalent of 'completely insensitive to basic needs of fellow Americans' because ultra-conservatives won't support things like universal healthcare.


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Old 10-30-2008, 04:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
I think it's used more often by the Right than the Left, and is used to imply that anything that smacks of socialism/Communism and not capitalism is "un-American". I've seen it used by the Left very rarely to accuse the Right as being "un-American" as the equivalent of 'completely insensitive to basic needs of fellow Americans' because ultra-conservatives won't support things like universal healthcare.
You are correct that the Right uses it more often than the left. It isn't just used to imply things regarding socialism/Communism though, it also has to do with specific media outlets praising or being sympathetic to terrorists.

Sometimes the charge is overused, though it's not like the left is a hapless victim in this. They tend to accuse conservatives of being sexist and racist.

It's kinda like two siblings fighting and calling each other names.

Last edited by El Sitherino; 10-30-2008 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Astor_Kaine View Post
Ok, so i've been following American Politics and news broadcasts for some time now, and I've noticed more and more that certain outlets, or people like to throw around the term 'Un-American'.

Now, as a Brit, it's pretty hard to understand - what defines this? And what makes one 'Un-American'? Or is it just a political insult used by those who wish to disparage another's patriotism and beliefs?

This concept of 'Un-American'ness is very strange to many outside of the US, and I'm seeking some input from anyone, Americans or not (maybe fellow foreigners also have similar questions).
I call someone Un-American when he or she takes action that is in contradiction to the founding laws and fathers. Laws that prevent The Freedom of Speech, The Right to Bear Arms, The Freedom of Religion, and so forth. Some other anti-American faculties include not standing up to speak out, not challanging authority, not picking up a gun in a World War crisis, not using diplomacy, and many others.

U. S. founding fathers commited treason to establish a nation that allows choices and extended freedoms. People physically died for other people's ability to be free. Un-American behavior is an action that spits and dismisses the foundations our country stands for.
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:31 PM   #8
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Reminder to everyone--Astor requested issues about the ongoing campaign and elections are not part of the discussion here. Those comments will be considered off-topic and deleted.


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Old 10-30-2008, 05:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yar-El View Post
Un-American behavior is an action that spits and dismisses the foundations our country stands for.
Which foundations our country stands for? Freedom of Speech?


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Old 10-30-2008, 05:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mimartin View Post
Which foundations our country stands for? Freedom of Speech?
The foundations that were settled when we created the Bill of Rights and Consitution.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Yar-El View Post
The foundations that were settled when we created the Bill of Rights and Consitution.
Yet, one of these is the Freedom of Speech. American men and women have fought and died to guarantee that right. Are we not spiting and dismissing the foundations our country stands for when we call someone un-American for speaking their mind. Under your definition, doesn’t that mean that anyone that uses the term un-American when talking about someone stating their opinion is in fact un-American?


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Old 10-30-2008, 08:05 PM   #12
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Under your definition, doesn’t that mean that anyone that uses the term un-American when talking about someone stating their opinion is in fact un-American?
A brilliant paradox

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Old 10-31-2008, 12:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by El Wikipedio
Un-American is a term of US political discourse which is sometimes applied to people or institutions in the United States in an attempt to deny the targets the identity of American. It implies a substantial deviation from US norms and may extend to internal subversion, espionage or treason.

The most famous use is in the title of the House Un-American Activities Committee which was started to combat Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) activity in the US during World War II and which later investigated the activities of Communists and purported Communists in the US. By 1959, however, former President Harry S. Truman had denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee as the "most un-American thing in the country today.[1]"

The use and meaning of the term is by no means uniform in the US. Due in part to these historical associations with political abuses and jingoism, the attitudes of Americans toward the pejorative use of "Un-American" are often critical or suspicious. Moreover, Americans may vary widely in what they believe to be un-American.
>.>
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:22 AM   #14
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I find this sad:

George Bush Senior:
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Source: http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm

Apparently my inclination to science, reason, peace, and understanding makes me unamerican...


Please feed the trolls. XD
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:56 AM   #15
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This is the answer to Arcesiou's reply. Above. ^

Some people are aware of this pieces of U. S. history.
The MayFlower Compact

The United States is a Christian-European Ancestrial Country. We want to create imigration laws; thus, protecting our European and African American roots. European Americans and African Americans must now work together to take back our country from illegal invaders. Asian Americans are the only other group that have come here legally and have assimulated. This is a subject and argument for another time. Atheists are in contradiction to our founding fathers; however, they are also protected by our founding laws.

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Old 10-31-2008, 10:05 AM   #16
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According to the people in the young republicans club of my school I'm un-American because I agree with most of John Lockes ideas.



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Old 10-31-2008, 10:19 AM   #17
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According to the people in the young republicans club of my school I'm un-American because I agree with most of John Lockes ideas.
John locke
Quote:
John Locke was a major investor in the English slave-trade through the Royal Africa Company, as well as through his participation in drafting the Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas while Shaftesbury's secretary, which established a feudal aristocracy and gave a master absolute power over his slaves.
They may be upset about his involvement in slavery. John Locke would be unpatriotic in current day America. Some of our founding fathers also had slaves; however, the Consitition and Bill of Rights made people realize that all men are created equal. This didn't happen right of way. It took several decades to start getting things straight. Was he Un-American? There were alot of controversial things going on at the time; thus, you would have to measure him up to his place in history. He was an English Exile.

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Old 10-31-2008, 12:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious View Post
I find this sad:

George Bush Senior:
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Source: http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm

Apparently my inclination to science, reason, peace, and understanding makes me unamerican...
I would recommend seeing if you can find the text of the original speech and get the whole context, and make your decision from there. Atheist sites aren't immune to spinning something any more than any other group.


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Old 10-31-2008, 12:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Yar-El View Post
This is the answer to Arcesiou's reply. Above. ^

Some people are aware of this pieces of U. S. history.
The MayFlower Compact

... Atheists are in contradiction to our founding fathers; however, they are also protected by our founding laws.
The founding fathers did not come to America on the Mayflower, which arrived there in 1621, well before the declaration of independance was signed in 1776. At least some of them may have been religious (I don't know), but they nonetheless founded the United States as a secular nation. Thus, atheists are not in agreeance nor disagreeance with the founding fathers, who were apparently of the opinion that it doesn't matter what anyone believes.

In other words, a person's views on god(s) bears no relevancy to their American status.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:50 PM   #20
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Atheists are in contradiction to our founding fathers.
If you are implying that Athiests are contradicting the founding fathers, because the fathers were christian, then you are mistaken.

http://www.postfun.com/pfp/worbois.html (where article can be found, I had an antivirus scam pop-up, so I warn you, visit at your own risk)

John Adams:

Quote:
Also Adams:
The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states:
The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.
Thomas Jefferson:

Quote:
I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.
SIX HISTORIC AMERICANS,
by John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short
Jefferson again:
Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.
There are more by Thomas Paine and Madison as well. If you are implying that athiests are in contradiction to the founding fathers' belief in creation, then your point is somewhat valid. However, the founding fathers are not gods that we should model our lives after, they are men who began our nation.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:56 PM   #21
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There are more by Thomas Paine
Paine for the record was a deist (along with being a fine example of a human being and an excellent writer (like Voltaire, contrary to the popular belief that they were not atheists)). Regardless, if an individual is an atheist has nothing to do with their loyalties to America, and furthermore, if someone has freedom of religion, calling them un-American for having different religious views to yourself, is in fact in contradiction to the Bill of right.

As for Christianity - it would seem to me that people need to be reminded Jesus did not rule people by force - his message was love, ergo do you see him forcing the pharisee's to believe? As such if you believe him to be the Ruler of the Universe - with all his glory and power didn't force people to believe in him - do you really think he wants you to force yourselves upon people?

That is all I have to say....



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Old 10-31-2008, 01:13 PM   #22
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If the founding fathers were so hung up on Christianity why bother with that entire Separation of Church and State thing?


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Old 10-31-2008, 01:17 PM   #23
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In my experience, "unamerican" is universally used by people who have poor arguments against what they're trying to disparage. If someone is a traitor, say he is a traitor. If someone is a liar, say he is a liar, etc. But if someone says that another person is unamerican, I am likely to start ignoring them immediately after because they have nothing to say that's worth my time.


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Old 10-31-2008, 01:37 PM   #24
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sam are you implying that former senator joseph mccarthy was an ignorant douchebag? because that's pretty unamerican sam >:|



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Old 10-31-2008, 01:40 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Yar-El View Post
John locke
They may be upset about his involvement in slavery. John Locke would be unpatriotic in current day America. Some of our founding fathers also had slaves; however, the Consitition and Bill of Rights made people realize that all men are created equal. This didn't happen right of way. It took several decades to start getting things straight. Was he Un-American? There were alot of controversial things going on at the time; thus, you would have to measure him up to his place in history. He was an English Exile.
Haha, assuming the people in that group actually knew who Locke was until I explained his ideas to them is giving that group faarrrr too much credit. If anything, that group should be called the young bill o rileys club, I dont think any of them know a thing about actual politics, for the most part they just call everyone else immoral and insult them.



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Old 10-31-2008, 01:50 PM   #26
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From where I'm standing, it actually sounds like they've got quite a firm grasp on how modern politics work...
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Old 10-31-2008, 02:26 PM   #27
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The founding fathers did not come to America on the Mayflower, which arrived there in 1621, well before the declaration of independance was signed in 1776. At least some of them may have been religious (I don't know), but they nonetheless founded the United States as a secular nation. Thus, atheists are not in agreeance nor disagreeance with the founding fathers, who were apparently of the opinion that it doesn't matter what anyone believes.

In other words, a person's views on god(s) bears no relevancy to their American status.
Oh yeah. One of our founding fathers did. Hahaha...

Edit --
I have to correct myself. Christopher Columbus discovered the American continent; however, he wasn't involved with establishing the core government. My apology.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:55 PM   #28
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Oh yeah. One of our founding fathers did. Hahaha...

Edit --
I have to correct myself. Christopher Columbus discovered the American continent; however, he wasn't involved with establishing the core government. My apology.
Christopher Columbus never laid a foot on American Soil. He landed on some islands in the Gulf and died believing it was India. He raped and killed most of the population in that area, and those that survived were slaves to his crew and many were sent back to Europe.

He was, for the most part, a complete and utter failure.
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:51 PM   #29
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Christopher Columbus never laid a foot on American Soil. He landed on some islands in the Gulf and died believing it was India. He raped and killed most of the population in that area, and those that survived were slaves to his crew and many were sent back to Europe.

He was, for the most part, a complete and utter failure.
You know what? I was brought up thinking Columbus did discover America. Your post sparked my curiosity; thus, I did some fact checking. William Bradford, the Puritans, and other settlers found their way to Plymouth, MA. Columbus's contribution was the discovery of a new world (Bahamas); moreover, his actions brought to light a few unknown factors. (1) The World is bigger and round. (2) There was more land to explore in the Atlantic.

1776 is when we became a nation. I messed up on the land's discovery and when the US was established. Its been a long, long. long time since I have been in school.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:49 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Yar-El View Post
You know what? I was brought up thinking Columbus did discover America. Your post sparked my curiosity; thus, I did some fact checking. William Bradford, the Puritans, and other settlers found their way to Plymouth, MA.
They, however, did not found this country, so your assertion that they did in your signature is erroneous and misleading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yar-El
Columbus's contribution was the discovery of a new world (Bahamas); moreover, his actions brought to light a few unknown factors. (1) The World is bigger and round.
Actually, the idea that the world is round had been around long before Columbus. See Eratosthenes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yar-El
1776 is when we became a nation. I messed up on the land's discovery and when the US was established. Its been a long, long. long time since I have been in school.
Yeah, I know. Especially since they teach you all this in fourth and fifth grade.




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Old 10-31-2008, 06:10 PM   #31
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Yeah, I know. Especially since they teach you all this in fourth and fifth grade.
I was taught about political science and US History; however, I never took a class that fully explained our origins. We covered the Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the events that lead up to 1776. Something must have changed in the educational system. I don't know.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:19 PM   #32
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If the founding fathers were so hung up on Christianity why bother with that entire Separation of Church and State thing?
Because the Church of England had control of plitics in Britain, if my history is correct, and the foundign fathers didn't want that.

Personally I think the un-American term is about as anal as people get over who is patriotic. It is a waste of time unless someone really is guilty of treason but if it is used like a childish insult then we might just call everyone un-American because we don't like them. Hell I might as well, and actually am unofficially, considered un-American by my mother's family because I refuse to call French Fries Freedom Fries. Please...

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Old 10-31-2008, 07:25 PM   #33
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Hell I might as well, and actually am unofficially, considered un-American by my mother's family because I refuse to call French Fries Freedom Fries. Please...


Same here, but I don't have reason to say French Fries because I don't eat them. I'm considered un-American by my family because I rolled up to the family reunion with the top off blaring the Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to make Nice out of the speakers. This next year I have a choice of a Obama t-shirt or a Dixie Chicks concert t-shirt. Petty, but I like getting under my families skin.


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Old 10-31-2008, 07:28 PM   #34
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They're behind the times, JM12. France's government isn't nearly as anti-American as it used to be.


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Old 11-03-2008, 01:09 PM   #35
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Nah I was using it as an example because my family is like that; uber conservative and assume their way is right and nobody else's. Makes me suffocate at times. Every day for my granpa it is FOX News... ... and I get the are-you-pagan-remember-your-faith-lecture every other time I have something new that makes much more sense to me.

I don't know. It seems we promote this idea of education but when we use it we are called heathens or un-American. Like I said it is a point of ridiculousness considering that half of what I consider is patriotic is considered un-American.

mimartin: I voted early this year and voted no on Prop 8 and the family is pro Prop 8. And I make friends with Auslims and Arabs, a big no in the family. I guess I do some things to spite the uber conservatives but hey we have a right to. Doesn't make us any less patriotic than they are.

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Old 11-06-2008, 08:49 AM   #36
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I can tell you what I think it means to be unAmerican.

I think that being American is quite irrelevant because it only means you're a citizen of the state of America. Any idea that we are the greatest nation in the world, that we are noble, divine, or anything like that tarnishes what it means to be American.

I am an American, myself, but I actually think less of myself because of it. The United States has become the world's only superpower and we are exploiting our dominance to do whatever is in our best interests, even if it harms those outside our state. The Iraq war may have been the result of a few individuals, but it is just a symptom of a larger conflict... we are starting to believe we have the right to do whatever we want. What's worse is that we are going to far as to make justifications for our actions.

What is unAmerican? That's a flawed question. What I would ask is whether being American has influenced us as individuals and how it affects those around us. The answer is that we have become convinced of our own superiority that we believe it is alright for us not to respect the rights of others. This may be stepping over the line, but I think it's more accurate than any belief that we are a great nation... I am ashamed to be an American; so much that I have plans to leave in the near future.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:46 PM   #37
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I've thought about this question quite a bit. I have to admit that I have fallen for calling someone unAmerican who probably shouldn't have been.

Of course there IS such a thing as being unAmerican. Strangely enough being ANTI-American is not a qualifier for that. Protesting the government and voicing your grievances is very much American. Being unAmerican is attempting to hush the voices of your opposition. Being unAmerican is working to subvert the values and principles this nation was founded on "that among these are Life Liberty and the persuit of happiness."

In essence I am admitting my fault in being unAmerican at times.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:42 AM   #38
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I am an American, myself, but I actually think less of myself because of it. The United States has become the world's only superpower and we are exploiting our dominance to do whatever is in our best interests, even if it harms those outside our state.
Why would you think less of yourself? Some gov't leaders may be exploiting US dominance, but it doesn't mean you are. We still live in a free country. We get to vote on law and representatives, worship (or not worship) freely and openly in whatever church/house of worship we want, and speak our minds on important (and not so important) issues. Just because some of our Presidents have gotten the US into situations we're not proud of doesn't mean you have to be ashamed to be an American.

What would make us un-American? Violating a fellow American's rights as listed in the Bill of Rights/Constitution (taking away the 'free speech' rights of a child pornographer would be one of a number of obvious exceptions). Giving high level gov't/military intel to our enemies, or other treasonous acts, would be un-American. Turning on another American and attacking them to aid the enemy would be another un-American act. These are just a few off the top of my head at the moment.


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Old 11-07-2008, 01:12 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura View Post
I can tell you what I think it means to be unAmerican.

I think that being American is quite irrelevant because it only means you're a citizen of the state of America. Any idea that we are the greatest nation in the world, that we are noble, divine, or anything like that tarnishes what it means to be American.

I am an American, myself, but I actually think less of myself because of it. The United States has become the world's only superpower and we are exploiting our dominance to do whatever is in our best interests, even if it harms those outside our state. The Iraq war may have been the result of a few individuals, but it is just a symptom of a larger conflict... we are starting to believe we have the right to do whatever we want. What's worse is that we are going to far as to make justifications for our actions.

What is unAmerican? That's a flawed question. What I would ask is whether being American has influenced us as individuals and how it affects those around us. The answer is that we have become convinced of our own superiority that we believe it is alright for us not to respect the rights of others. This may be stepping over the line, but I think it's more accurate than any belief that we are a great nation... I am ashamed to be an American; so much that I have plans to leave in the near future.
I would like you to prove everything you have negatively said. I want to hear your proof on - (1) How we do not respect other nations, and I want to know the nations specifically. (2) What do you mean by a larger conflict? Specifics. (3) What do you mean by - ...only means you're a citizen of the state of America...? (4) Examples on how we are exploiting our dominance.

I want to hear Darth_Yuthura's answers only please.

Last edited by Yar-El; 11-07-2008 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:06 PM   #40
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I would like you to prove everything you have negatively said. I want to hear your proof on - (1) How we do not respect other nations, and I want to know the nations specifically. (2) What do you mean by a larger conflict? Specifics. (3) What do you mean by - ...only means you're a citizen of the state of America...? (4) Examples on how we are exploiting our dominance.

I want to hear Darth_Yuthura's answers only please.
I would like to hear this answered as well.
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