The Ideal American :
America is interesting. It captures the imagination and attention of the world but almost all of the attention it receives is negative. A gas guzzling, beer drinking, loud, and highly violent culture are some of the more common attributes dumped on America. Itís the mass murders, militia standoffs, and government scandals that make the foreign press headlines. Asia feels were lazy and bloated with sucess. France thinks were un-cultured, and most of the third world views us as intrusionary bullies. Even the United Nations is beginning to despise our power. But not much changes in the way America is involved with the affairs of the rest of the world. We are despised but accepted. The rest of the world has no choice, they canít deny us because we are key to their survival and they know it.
This dichotomy plays havoc with how the ideal American is viewed. Because America and the rest of the world plays to the drum of the moment, America and what it believes is constantly changing and evolving. It is this fluidity of acceptance of new ideas, that keeps America vital and a step ahead of ther rest of the world. It is a place where the adventurous spirit of the pioneers who settled the west is central to the soul of America and is valued above most everything else. Change and new ideas is essential to Americans. It is what their country is based on. Fresh ideas, whether accepted as true or right by the general public are discussed. Ultimately the new ways may be ridiculed, scorned, outlawed or viewed as evil and unfit for the country. But first the ideas are always debated and weighed with a generally open mind. Creative and new ways of looking at things are judged before being dismissed. People whose ideas are not accepted may be then be placed in a negative light or even hated. But no matter how vehemently opposed an American may be to the beliefs of a person or group, he/she canít help but respect the radical for the fact that they develped a new idea, and acted on it. Just as the pioneers who settled a hostile country, the radicals who believe and act on their convictions gain the respect of the American public. I feeel that this creativity, convicition and hard work are essential to the life of an ideal American.
Moral purity and the golden rule attitude are also considered a basic tenet of being a good American. But these values can easily be replaced with hard work, dedication, sucess, and ultimately public recognition. In the mind of Americans, these qualites can effectively override the moral purity qualifications. People such as the great tycoons Rockefeller, and Trump. Or even some of our presidents, namely Nixon. They swindled, stole, cheated and downright stepped on the backs of others to reach their positions. At all times they certainly did not practice ethical business practices to achieve their stature. But, there stature is not diminshed much because of how they achieved their greatness. Twenty five years later, President Nixon is eulogized as a great man by most of the country, and excluding text books, Rockefeller is remembered solely for his unselfish use of his money toward many splendid public works.

How quickly America selectively forgets what is was evil about the person, when the person is so powerful, and has such an impact on history. Because a man is sucessful and achieves great power, they are revered. It is this power and drive that is admired by Americans and considered ideal traits. That is not to say that humanitarians and religious prophets canít be considered ideal Americans, or to posses the ideal traits. There power is not as obvious but are also respected only because they posses the same type of influential power enjoyed by tycoons and political leaders.
I believe the ideal American is the person who works hard for what they desire, or with conviction in what they preach, and succeed in gaining recognition, whether favorable or not. It is here in America where being noticed, commanding power, and/or being original and dedicated, are the virtues that people respect and see in an ideal American.