THE AMERICAN CHARACTER
A STUDY BY DR. SABRI BEBAWI, PhD.
It was three decades and half ago when I sat in a lecture room listening to, recording, and taking notes from our lecturer, Dr. Sonny, our professor of “the American Character.” It feels like a thunderstorm lightening how time had passed and I am here writing about this thirty-five years ago when I was a Journalism student at California State University of Fullerton, Orange County, California.
Interestingly, I was fascinated by studying and learning about the American Character, but I could not pin point what that Character was. I would walk around campus and see no black students, no black professors and no black administrative staff at all. Then I would rethink what our professor used to say about the new settlers and the difficulties they had with the natives here, in America. Sadly, he was sympathizing with the settlers and not the natives. He often called them, the natives, savage, criminals and soulless.
In the meantime, I was studying “History of Western Civilization.” And while I was learning how the Western civilization was doing everything possible to preserve itself, in the “American Character” I was learning how the settlers were doing everything possible to destroy a civilization. The contrast was astounding to a young thinker like I had been those days.
Perhaps this will throw my readers a little off, but considering the “American Character,” I associated it with vandalizing my car at the University’s parking lot because I had a sticker on it that read “Abolish Apartheid.” I was not sure what to think or believe. I had been a very patriotic American Citizen and I still am. I know that supporters of the imbecile president-want-to-be-Donald Trump think of people like me who despise him, his beliefs, and his ideas as non-patriotic – how funny – that we the people of the United States of America think that Donald Trump and his supporters are traitors and should be charged with treason and (as Donald Trump recently argued about the terrorist attacker in NY) deprive them from all due process of the law.
Well! With such a heated subject, dear reader, a writer is bound to deviate and go all over the place – now back to the “American Character” or lack of. If I, as a journalist, go around and ask Americans about their definition of the American Character, most will most certainly reply “FREEDOM.” That would be my first impression, too. But today under this fascist regime we have, do we have freedom? A cyclist was fired today for flipping Donald Trump. Donald Trump called a TV hostess a bitch. All the press was called liars and fabricating news by the so called president-want-to-be. Trump has no respect for the First Amendment of the Constitution, which clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Mr. Trump declared America a Christian State; Mr. Trump attacked the press in every opportunity he has had and Mr. Trump would have a cow if I demanded his resignation. How about that for the American Character!! What Character Exactly?
Dear reader, if you want to know the American Character in action, please go to Paris, France and stay in an hotel where some Americans stay and watch what happenes. For me, it is embarrassing. I always claim that I am not an American – I am an American Citizen for there is a huge difference, dear reader.
According to the “American Character” and its very savage and immoral history, one must and ought to make a distinction between an American and an American Citizen. Considering America’s dark history, one concludes easily that the term “American” is a philosophy, an ideology, a set of beliefs, a manifesto-per say- The focus of an American is the Pursuit of Happiness (while the focus of a French citizen, for example, is on Fraternité.) The Pursuit of Happiness for an American means “End Justifies the Means.” An American would do anything – would kill his mother in pursuit of happiness. He would lie, cheat, steal, kill, use, abuse, step on others and steal a blind’s man’s dinner justifying it by saying “god made him blind in the first place.” So, dear reader, it is not, according to “The American Character” flattering to be an American. It is however, great to be an American Citizen – decent human, loving, caring for others, philanthropist, kind, socially responsible, pays taxes and respects the Constitution, the rule of law and the three branches of government. Have you seen an American (Republican) who is an American Citizen? I have not. A Republican is an American but not an American citizen. And that is what I learned from my classes thirty-five years ago “The American Character.”
I am Dr. Sabri g. Bebawi, PhD – A Social Scientist Fellow of the Salzburg Institution on Globalization, Austria