As the world progresses and ages, its environment and its people also change. One of the many things that changes in human’s life is his perspective in life. In 1970, the sociologist Robin Williams enumerated and ranked the core values that he found to be the highest importance for the American people. In the recent study done by the Roper Polling Corporation in 1996 to 1999, the Americans ranked the value of protecting the family on top (American Demographics Magazine, 2000). The same results were accumulated in the survey made by another group in 2002 (www.
oregonvalues. org). Other authors said that the change (William’s list to latest survey) might have been due to the progress that America already achieved. Still, the job and career opportunities ranked second in the survey made by the Oregon Values Organization in 2002. This means that Americans still pursue on its continuity of progress and of achieving success as almost the same as William’s idea. Americans today greatly value honesty, self-esteem and friendship as what have been revealed in the 2000 survey.
These values do not seem to appear in William’s list. As with health and physical activities, Americans today still have their values of being active industrious. Because they value their jobs and their families, it is but logical that they strive really hard in work and other valuable activities. Americans are known for their being workaholics that they just love working and hate being idle even during non-working hours, they keep themselves busy and wanted to make things done at the least possible time.
The presence of appliances in almost every home, even in the households of those who are considered poor, is an indication that Americans desire to live a materially comfortable life, as William said. In fact, in the 2001 survey made by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 97% of the American households have each a colored television and 76% have air conditioning units. The figure accounts for the 35 million classified poor in the United States (U. S. Bureau of Census, 2002). The Americans have long been recognized for their love for freedom and independence.
In fact, individual freedom is the cornerstone of all American values (T. Grouling). This value has been kept intact and strong by every American that it has greatly influenced the United States Constitution having their full rights and privileges recognized and protected. The ownership of small businesses in America by most households is evidence that Americans are living up to their dreams of becoming their own boss. These things, as they say is the essence of democracy and equality. Despite these, there are authors who feel that the United States is betraying the value of democracy, freedom and equality especially after the 911 attack.
The reports of brutality and injustices to the Islamic community were viewed as “betrayal of the founding values” of the Americans (G. Grass). However, I believe that Americans still live up to this value as evidenced by the Roper polls in 1999, ranking freedom as number, almost the same as William’s list. Knowledge and learning, as the component of education are also important for the Americans. Lifelong learning is very much valued that adult education, distant learning and on-line courses are pursued just to make sure everyone is given the opportunity to avail of education.
For Americans, education is a vital means to open opportunities and financial security (T. Grouling). Now that the world is pursuing globalization, Americans see the need for education in order to cope up with the changing and wider world. Racism and discrimination might have been considerably declined in the United States as more non-Americans are seen excelling in different fields: in sports, music, arts, in science and technology. America, for this reason, is evidently opening opportunities for others and for everyone.
Religiosity is a value that is somehow in doubt if Americans still value them today. In the Roper polls, faith is recognized valued only those aging 50-65 years and worse, it occupied only the 9th slot. The legalization of abortion, annulment, the practice of same sex marriage and euthanasia are few of the indications that America is losing grip on its faith and moral standards. As one author said, the Americans are in need of “renewing our moral foundations and the ways of living that make our democracy both possible and noble” (D.
Blankenhorn). When it comes to values that touch religion and cultural traditions, there arise several conflicts among the different groups. For those who value life and family, abortion and annulment are of course opposed. For the non-pure Americans, equality and freedom is of higher value than how pure Americans consider them. For the religious community, faith must be placed on top of the list while the poor might place education, material comfort and success on top of their lists.
Considering all these facts, I believe that Robin William’s list can no stand to its original sequence, although all of the values in his list still recognized today but no more valued in the same ranking. As evidenced by the results of the poll, I can say that Americans broadly hold the value of protecting their families and the long been recognized value of freedom and independence. WORKS CITED Grouling, Thomas E. “American Values”. “Common Questions: Uniquely American Questions”. Retrieved on June 23, 2004 from http://www. americanhospitals.
com/questions/american/amervalues. htm 06/23/07 Grass, Gunter. “The US Betrays its Core Values”. The Los Angeles Times. April 07, 2003. Retrieved on June 23, 2007 from http://www. commondreams. org/views03/0407-05. htm The American Demographic Magazine. October 2000 issue “American Values: Overview”. Retrieved on June 22, 2007 from http://www. orednet. org/~jflory/205/day_val_overview. htm Blankenhorn, David. “Propositions”. Retrieved on June 23, 2007 from http://www. propositionsonline. com/html/what_are_american_values_. html
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