When did you last hear someone talk about the American economy? A few weeks ago? A couple days, hours, or minutes ago? For most people, that’s not too hard to remember. Think back, when’s the last time you heard mention of American culture? Not African American, or Chinese American, or Latin American, but just plain American? Have you heard it this year?

I have spent years in school, and through school I learned about other cultures. I learned the language of the Spanish, the foods of the Italian, and the common clothes of the French. I spent a lot of time learning about all of the other cultures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think learning about the culture of other countries is a bad thing, I believe quite the contrary. Spending all of this time learning about the culture of other countries must be matched with some learning of our own culture. I realize that through learning about those cultures, we are learning about the background of our own, but that is never stressed nor explained.

I never learned much about the American culture in particular, our main religions, what we have become, our culture, I can‘t remember spending school time focusing on the American culture. I know plenty of our pop culture, but was never schooled on our standard, or typical culture. After spending all of the time in school learning about other countries, America would come into focus. What part of our culture did we learn about? Food, dance, religion, holidays? None of the above. What I learned most about America, was the American economy. I learned that we are consumers. We feed money into the country, and that is our importance. We aren’t important because we share a belief, or because we dress the same, or act the same, but because we all give money to America, because we are all consumers.

Many people think of America as being one of the best places to live. I wouldn’t dispute that there are a lot of reasons that one should live here, and that there are a lot of things that make America great, but we are not the best in all aspects. The government treats the citizens only as consumers a majority of the time.

America is a democracy, where everyone, of the right age and criminal background, can vote for what they want. They are allowed to voice an opinion, unless they are too young in which case no one will listen to the opinion. At that age people are taught what to believe by parents, teachers, and friends. By the time someone is of an age to vote and to express their opinion, most of the thoughts did not originate in their minds, but were taught to them. People often teach what you should and shouldn’t value in people, what is “good,” what is “bad,” and what should be important to you. They teach that education comes before creativity or individualized thoughts. People learn that they must think like the rest of America, and free thought is gradually taken away. During school, students are fed information and thoughts, which they are supposed to repeat right back to the teacher, and that is what most people consider to be their education, which many people spend hours a day doing. Gradually the things that make people different on the inside are being taken away from us, so that we can become better consumers.

What people in America seem to want is not a culture, it’s an economy. The citizens want more goods, so they readily take the role of consumers, discarding other equally as important rules they should play. The corporations want to sell more goods, and the government wants the money in the country to continue and grow. It appears that the consumers need to be trained to act as is best for the economy, to think as is best for the economy, and to act as is best for the economy. Our nation, however, is supposed to be based on the individuals needs. Apparently, our economy takes presence over all aspects of our lives. America needs to begin encouraging the different skills that people have, the different way of thinking, and the differences in people. We need to be thought of again as citizens rather than consumers. Until that happens, America cannot rightfully claim themselves as the superior nation.