to me being an American means opportunity... and those opportunities are bestowed upon us thanks to a free market system that provides us with a strong educational system. The truly great Americans are the ones who harness those opportunities and run free with them.
Country, then family/self. Although I'll admit - every year that goes by I'm less willing to put country before family. Did it plenty in the past, no so much in the present - suppose others need to do so now.
Still, country/family before anything else. Doing a little service for your country...etc. Most people I know have only served themselves all their lives. That's a freedom Americans have, but certainly not very patriotic.
Hell, if it were up to me Veterans would get 20 or 30 votes as opposed to a standard citizen (or at least 2). Yes, even if I don't agree with the Vet.
Dead fucking serious. You can't start associating subjective ideals with an objective state of being. When you do that you wind up with what we've got today: a bunch of people pulling in different directions driven by their opinions and ideals, tearing this country apart in the process, even if their ideals are pure and well-meaning.
Americans have taken the "democracy" part of what this country stands for and run away with it and forgotten the "freedom" part in the process. Americans believe that if something is done democratically, then it's ok. Newsflash: just because a decision is made democratically does not mean that it is fit for this country.
"'Do what thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law until you violate the rights of another." The men who founded this country operated on a principle similar to this and founded this country on it and we've gone completely away from it.
Somehow we've become obsessed with controlling how people live their lives: conservatives are too often attempting to inject morality into the public while liberals are always trying to control what the public can and can't do. They're working in completely opposite directions, yet they're working together to slowly deteriorate the essence of this country.
Being an American for me means doing what's right, no matter the cost, protecting those who can't protect themselves and taking care of your family.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
"Americans who volunteer for military service effectively write a blank check, payable to the United States of America for an amount "up to and including my life." The United States, in turn, promises to spend these checks responsibly."