Intro to Western Geography. Not Western as in land masses so much as Western Ideology. Lecture names Trump and talks about his speech over in Poland and how he says the West must decide if it wants to survive. He sees the Western world as picked on and threatened. Next comes an essay question –what is the definition of the
How did it get that way, and why, etc, etc. My definition has turned into a “I hate Trump” monologue. Teacher asked for it as far as I am concerned. Read it to Clyde & he says I’ll get an A. But, consider a lot of the original west was built on Eastern ideas and principles. The modern west is defined mostly by America at this point. America is the leader of the West. America defines west mostly by it’s own idea of what the west was as our borders expanded from the Atlantic to the Pacific. What America’s western world was basically virile, male, and white. America and the west is not under threat. Or at least let me say that the threat out there could probably be snuffed out here and now if America wanted to play bully. Mr. Trump portrays a myth… he is a symptom. It is the ELITE white male who feels threatened and he has passed his fears on to the uneducated masses. People who work hard for a living and yet can’t get a head because of economy sucking leeches like Trump who files bankruptcy in multiplicity. I have a lot to say, but I have no interest in saying it. I don’t want to feel it, and I don’t want to read it. My opinion is there, I won’t grow another or even begin to think through any other point of view because I truly believe I am correct in the way I see this. I sure the heck wish Trump had not been brought into the lesson. I could have done without all this emotion. I am so invested in this, and I could NOT begin to tell anyone WHY! (copied and pasted from Facebook)
My answer to the professors question and to the lesson — Does the west have an identity.
Since Mr. Trump (not my President) came up in this lesson I have to say that from what I’ve seen Americans have an arrogant perception that America is the west and the west’s identity is America. America is white and other colors need not apply. If I sound somewhat angry it is perhaps, because I am.
I would love to say that each individual person defines the identity of the west, and that the identity really does lie within the eyes of the beholder. Well, I do believe this to a point. But, for each person to take into account where he or she lives, and the local culture and social norms, each must live within a system with an ever-evolving “Western culture” where the funny part is that we are learning the ideas from the east all the time! (think Marie Kondo, the decluttering lady)
Here in the United States it may even be more so because of the fluidity of the language and the vast melding of cultures, and norms. If the theory that today’s liberalism is nothing more than an extension of the Enlightenment where humanity came to the conclusion that t all men are created equal (originally, all except the black, red, yellow, and brown ones) with rights to liberty, and pursuit of happiness, then one can argue that education is key to a healthy society for that is where people learn the norms. And in terms of modern times, for those to have liberty regardless of their culture, people in other cultures must be open minded enough to accept their neighbors lifestyle and cultural idiosyncrasies. In this way, the west should become a world wide melting pot. But this is in an ideal world.
Today in the United States we are in the process of finally beginning to truly integrate culture and social norms into our national identity. And what is a National identity? In our case it is tightly fitted to the idea of the west, because we’ve had many wests over the years as the country expanded from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The American west is free, wild, full of opportunity, growing, accepting, full of gold and overwhelmingly virile white male. (and, some of that is a myth) Top that with the fact that today, North America is one of the largest land areas in the world , defined as the west, and considering we, Americans, are the ‘leaders’ of the Western world it stands to reason that American’s pretty much define what is the west and its identity today.
The stereotypical western identity from an American’s point of view: American, White, hardworking, capitalistic (NO socialism allowed, and yet, they are apples & oranges), Christian, picked on, underappreciated, abused, minority, and male. And probably from the rest of the world’s vantage point, we as a nation could not be anymore wrong.
It is the expressions of today, the words that Mr. Trump spoke about the threatened and torn west who must decide if it wants to survive is nothing more than a myth. He and his theory are the symptom. An angry white ELITE male feeling some loss of control, who happens to be positive he is right and sorry for none of it.
And I have to say, from MY vantage point, its time for a new definition, because the fake news Mr. Trump spouts couldn’t be more wrong.
And now that I have written this, I read this: https://www.fpri.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/WH-McNeil-What-We-Mean-by-the-West.pdf and discovered, that I am probably a product of the newest or at least the American definition of what the west is.