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Americans are exceptional in many ways but perhaps their greatest exceptional characteristic is their neighborliness. Americans are a private people dedicated to the proposition that all homes are created equal no matter the customs, rituals, and beliefs that guide and comprise them. In dealing with his neighbor, the American follows the rule: Be cheerful and helpful, be polite, and leave my neighbor alone to his home.
But in leaving one's neighbors alone, Americans don't simply forget about them. If those strange customs, rituals, and beliefs enrich and cultivate a neighbor’s home, then they are worthy of respect, even if we know nothing about them. Our neighbor might dance round the fire with his young children nine times each night before bed or eat a birthday cake every day while running five miles each morning. This might even worry us a bit and make us clutch at the curtains or peer out the window (for Americans, though private, are not incurious). But if the fire-dancers and the cake-eaters appear in public, shake hands, and treat us and our family fairly, their homes are worthy of not only privacy but also respect. What strange things my neighbor does is not my business—yet I respect his strange business because I respect him, and I defend his privacy to conduct it.
Neighbor - Attitude - Tenet - America - Americans
The American Neighbor's attitude derives from a fundamental tenet of America, held since its founding: Americans are united through difference. Going further, Americans are united not by simply tolerating the differences of others but by embracing them and thereby protecting the ability and right of one's neighbor to bring precisely what makes him strange to me into the public square. America made each man the guardian of his neighbor's strangeness and thereby turned strangers into neighbors without destroying or whitewashing what makes each man strange...
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