Blake Daniel Farris of Conway is the winner of the Good Citizens Essay Contest sponsored by the Cadron Post Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
He won a cash prize of $100 for his essay, “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It.” His essay will now be judged on the state level.
Farris is a son of Cole and Sue Farris of Conway and is a senior at Conway High School.
His essay is printed below.
“Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It”
America has seen unprecedented growth over the past few decades in regard to foreign relations and sphere of influence. As with any powerful nation, America has come to be loved, but has also come to be hated. Some of the most recent conflicts with foreigners, such as Al Qaeda, have been due to the hatred of the freedoms Americans possess. Numerous Americans would blame others for the hatred of America. However, what most do not realize is the level of intolerance that Americans convey. The increased prevalence of the Internet lets anyone be placed on the world stage, for better or for worse. I believe that Americans have a new responsibility to correctly embody the American heritage.
The Internet is a setting for individuals to communicate their opinions and ideals to more people than they could in a physical setting. For this reason, individuals from all over the world meet in forums to debate and discuss politics. America was founded on tolerance of other cultures and religions. Now that Americans can communicate to those around the world, it is our duty to show that America is a tolerant nation. Some Americans embody this ideal in their online presence, many others do not. From what I have seen, Americans in general have not been representing the idea of the American dream correctly. America’s ideal of tolerance is rooted in the foundation of America. America was a haven for those seeking religious freedom. The Puritans, Catholics, Protestants, and Quakers were just a few of the groups that all came together to build a great nation. America did have its missteps in equality for all people, but freedom has always prevailed in the end. New waves of immigrants would cause some tension and violence, but those immigrants would soon assimilate into the American culture, and the American culture as a result would become greater due to the increased diversity. We can convey this vision to others through the power of the Internet. Instead of the Internet becoming an instrument for our destruction, it could be a tool to help the American dream. It is our responsibility to keep this American heritage strong, and to continue it to craft a greater republic.
Not only is the Internet making the world smaller, but international business and university’s study abroad programs, as well as foreign exchange, lays an increased responsibility on Americans to represent our heritage. We need to show tolerance and an acceptance to other cultures to be good citizens in foreigners’ eyes. Maybe if those who killed the American ambassador in Libya had observed Americans being compassionate and forgiving, they would’ve reconsidered their actions.
The world is changing, and with these changes Americans need to be as ready as ever to exemplify the American heritage of equality and tolerance. The world has become smaller, so as good citizens we need to represent America accordingly. It is our responsibility as good citizens to use the resources at hand to show how remarkable our nation is, and how we are ready to accept other cultures and ideas to improve the already wonderful nation in which we live.