.Street Talk

Question of the Week: “What does it mean to be an American today?”

A current candidate for President has claimed that if you ask a citizen “What does it mean to be an American today” you will get only a blank stare in response. Good Times decided to find out. It proved to be a thought-provoking question, but as always, Santa Cruzans had thoughts and feelings to share.

Margarita Acosta, 36, healer

“There’s a duality. Americans do amazing things to be proud of, and then there’s this legacy of the government that is really shameful. This country bombed my father’s country, El Salvador — and there hasn’t been a collective responsibility, at least not in the government.”


Art Mejia, 23, sales

“I’m proud to be from here, but at the same time it’s very disappointing. There’s so much conflict going on and people are focusing on the wrong things. But at the end of the day, I’m proud because it’s still my home and I want to see my people succeed. I’m really praying for things to get a lot better.”


Andrew Kahn, 28, social worker

“It means having a sense of hopeful weariness. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”


Riley Rhynes, 25, student

“Being American means we support each other. Freedom for all as long as you’re not hurting anybody. Just the foundation, the actual meaning of what being an American is. That is how I live, and how I hope.”

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Phil Alfredo, 53, painter

“Being American means you have the opportunity to make a better life and do many things. You go step by step and find opportunities to make your life better.”


Franklin Kuit, 29, chef

“I’m not proud to be an American when it means supporting imperialism in the Congo where people die mining cobalt and lithium for Teslas and iPhones. What the founding fathers intended, limited government, power to the people, doesn’t exist now. We get comforts but lose freedoms, and don’t realize we’re lambs in the chute. Lambs fear the wolf, and don’t realize it’s the shepherd that will eat them.”


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