Because of 9-11, most Americans will come together to celebrate their patriotism as they have never done before. Our Founding Fathers believed that faith in God was the source of Americans' greatness. The war against Christianity is a grave threat to Americans' survival as a free nation."
Nancy Schaefer, president of Family Concerns, a Christian-based nonprofit, and 1998 candidate for governor
It's hard to say. We have common values. Freedom. Diversity. The opportunity for everyone to make their own way. The ability to move freely about our community. The ability to practice your culture and religion in peace. I think our awareness of those things is stronger now. Maybe we're a little less dormant than before. Refugees had been prevented from enjoying those values. Now it's more important than ever that the U.S. continue in that tradition of resettling refugees. Our nation was founded on that principle. ... But the result is that that's been halted. ... Refugees are the most scrutinized population of people entering this country and they are the population that should be least scrutinized.
Clare Richie, executive director of the International Rescue Committee, a Decatur-based nonprofit that contracts with the federal government to resettle hundreds of the 70,000 refugees who enter America annually
Initially, after Sept. 11, people bonded together and it was more American and patriotic, reminiscent of bad war movies like Green Berets with John Wayne. Now, though, I feel that things have shifted in the other direction, with America not looking toward ensuring democracy and freedom, but rather pursuing safety. America has now lost its willingness to fight for its ideals. Instead, America has sacrificed these essential values in fighting for its current existence. In that way, I feel that America is now less American.
Adam Domby, ice cream vendor and student
Less is the easy answer, because I think we're sacrificing individual liberty at the altar of some undeclared "war on terrorism." Clearly, the administration, through the auspices of the attorney general, has made non-congressional delegations of authority to themselves, which have severely restricted liberties for individuals in the United States as a result of Sept. 11.
Bruce Harvey, defense attorney
I think it's moving toward what America should have been all the while. People are pulling together more. They're more concerned about one another and not just their own agenda. I've seen more patriotism than I ever have, so I think it's for the best.
The Rev. Dolly Mahone, chairwoman, Neighborhood Planning Unit-W
Less and less because, especially back in the first few months immediately after Sept. 11, I was very starkly disappointed by the extent to which a seemingly popular consensus of people was willing to reduce and truncate the legal Constitutional protections available to non-citizen, resident legal aliens. It was a very rude shock to me that people are so willing to endorse a sort of two-tier approach to Constitutional rights.
David J. Garrow, professor at the Emory School of Law and 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
It's less American. We've lost our freedoms. Our government has become more controlling. We are stepping into Georgia Orwell's 1984 all over again. People are just not waking up to the reality that we are losing our freedoms.
Charles Brown, painter and artist
I think that the illusion of what America is has been uncovered and I think we are more disillusioned about the reality of what America is. Most people are pretty patriotic and they have always been patriotic. Now it's almost as if people are not really looking at what's happening to America. It's patriotism for something we can't see. It's patriotism to an illusion.
Semba Allen, biker
I feel it's more America in certain aspects since Sept. 11 and in some aspects, it's less American. As far as the given aspect on the humanistic side, I think it's been more. We see other people in different light. They don't see you as a foreigner or they don't see you as a homeless person. Or they don't see you as rich or poor. They just see you. But at certain points, when certain events come up then we're very skeptical about approaching people, very skeptical about being in certain areas. But overall, I think we've been drawn closer to each other. I just hope we don't have to have another catastrophe for us to come together. It should be that way anyway.
Joseph Paschal, homeless
America is getting more American since Sept. 11. Take for instance Memorial Day. Every Memorial Day, I go to the National Cemetery. I go up to Roswell for the morning service and I see that the number of people has increased immensely. People are more geared toward stopping terrorists. Nobody wants this to continue. The things happening over there in Israel and Pakistan are disheartening. It's going to have to stop somehow. People are showing more patriotism in many ways. Here it is the end of June and I see a lot of people riding around with the flags and I think that's good and wholesome.
Lenn Storey, Son's Place
After Sept. 11, I went from apartment to apartment [in Clarkston's Sudanese community], telling people, 'Don't worry about it, because you are in a safe place.' I remember one of the Lost Boys asked me, 'Why is this happening? Is it because we're here?' They thought it was happening because of them, because when they were in the [refugee] camp, they were bombed from time to time. ... We're here because we're fleeing persecution and the U.S. welcomes us. In my community, during all this time after Sept. 11, we saw no risk. We are still safe.
Mathew Kon, a Sudanese refugee who came to America in 1999 and now helps other Sudanese (including a massive tribe of orphaned youth called "The Lost Boys") acclimate themselves to American culture
Well, my sense of thinking and my way of thinking is that America is pretty much the same. America is a land of killing and bombing. So it's more like America and what they do to other countries. That's how I see it. We are letting babies and children be killed. I'm just amazed at what's going on here. I'm very upset about it. It's more than business as usual for America.
Jessie Maplepatton, shop worker
There are aspects of Americanism that have flourished -- one is a certain excitement in being an American -- but a superficial patriotism has come about that, in a way, has created divisions. When I think of what is quintessentially American -- the American Revolution's quest for freedom -- unfortunately, politics and power have twisted the fallout from Sept. 11 for their own goals and that's un-American.
George King, Peabody Award-winning documentarian and British citizen living in Atlanta since 1979
If you consider 'American' to mean promoting democracy worldwide, then yes, but largely for our own national interests, like going after tyrannical governments that are major threats to the free world like the Taliban and Iraq. But if you consider it to mean tolerance toward other peoples and cultures, then we have taken a serious blow, as more Americans have become much less tolerant towards Muslim and Arab people after Sept. 11.
Graham Carssow, Atlantan and cadet at the Virginia Military Institute
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