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feature : word on ths street
July 4th, 2007
Word on the Street : An Independence Day Report Card

Are you a U.S. Citizen? What are your feelings about the United States? If the founding fathers were here today, what grade would they give the country in terms of how it holds true to its original ideals?

Joana, 27
"I am a US citizen. I have mixed feelings. I feel like I love my country but at the same time we're being very aggressive overseas. And I honestly think that I, along with a great majority of the country believe that we're too abrasive in trying to force our opinions and our beliefs on other systems and other governments. I don't think that our system works for everyone else. I am definitely proud to be an American but I'm not always proud of how we treat neighboring countries. I think the founding fathers would give us a ‘C' [laughs]. We're doing average."
Chris, 18
"Yes, I am a citizen. The U.S. is pretty good. There are a lot of things you can do now and in the future. It gives you the opportunity for success. I'm proud to be an American because it's the best country. Everybody wants to come here. The founding fathers would give our country a ‘B' because people have equal opportunity. But there is still a little bias and discrimination among people."
Roz, 22
"No. I'm Irish. I think the U.S. is a really open, model country. It's got a lot of opportunity. And especially in New York City, its got a lot of different sexualities and different everything. And I think it's a good role model for other cities because I think it's the best. Would the founding fathers be grading the U.S. in general or just New York? Because sometimes I think New York is another country. But I think the founding fathers would probably give the U.S. a ‘C' because obviously there is nowhere that is perfect. I think that in the next five years it will really improve. I think the whole world will improve. If it doesn't, there will be a break down. I think in the next five years it will probably improve to a ‘B'.
Dicksé, 38
"I am a U.S. Citizen. More and more, I'm a little dismayed about the state of the country and it's direction and our priorities and where we are at this point in time. I'm proud to be an American but I'm also in a state of dismay about where we're heading and what is happening. There is so much internal contention happening within our own government and I think that they are acting like children. I don't think they are focusing on what is really important and in getting the job done. And you see how people are becoming so separated. It's become us versus them and you forget about the collective we, which is so important. If our founding fathers had to give us a grade, we would not be passing, that's for sure. The report card would have a lot of red marks on it. The founding fathers would be whirling in their graves. But thank goodness because I think that a lot of the ideals of our forefathers are certainly not tantamount to how we are today. There is a large deal of discrimination. It doesn't bother me so much that they would be so bothered by what's happening today because I think that at this point in time, it's really not about our forefathers, it's about us."
Robert, 45
"I am a U.S. citizen. President Bush is the worst American president that we have ever had. A majority of this country thinks that his policy is not the policy of the people. I think America is still the greatest country in the world but it is not projecting its core values, like respecting everyone. We're trying to push our freedom values on other cultures outside the United States and I don't think that is proper to do. Everybody should be able to live the way they want to live within their own society. I think, honestly, our founding fathers would give us a ‘D' because if you look at things like Scooter Libby's sentence being commuted and the investigation into Dick Cheney, it is clear. They are just using executive power. It's supposed to be We the People, and that's us. And it doesn't seem like that is happening."


 
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