Here’s a short story I wrote some years ago for the Fourth of July. It is a fictional dialogue between a history teacher (father) and student (son) on what makes America… American.
With all the quotations from American poetry and politics, it’s a bit of a history lesson in itself. Plus, I think, it has a little interesting Platonic plot to it that makes it an American Myth in itself. It’s called “Still in the Shining Sea”
If you have the stomach for philosophy, you might enjoy it.
America is defined by its English language, uniquely British laws, and vaguely Christian deism – all of which are consistent enough to undergird a diverse pluralism.
The American Myth is this: “The American Protagonist is a young Man or Boy who lives in a paradisaical State of Nature. This natural state is threatened by an unjust tyrant, and so our rebel-hero revolts in order to establish peace and freedom for the majority. God, or the gods, are within him, and through his superhuman strength and intelligence, he overthrows this unjust power, but he refuses to replace it with a similar power. He divides power amongst others and within himself. The story ends with the new power being either too weak to do its job, or else too strong, and thus in danger of starting the cycle over again. And through it all, there is a fear of the tyrant and desire to be free mixed with a desire to be lead and thus a hope for the rise a benevolent king in whom we can trust.”
Happy Independence Day!