Dec. 20 – National Underdog Day

GabeAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

Dec. 20 is National Underdog Day.

Hollywood is full of underdog stories, and it is one of the things (but not the only one) that distinguishes American films from those made elsewhere. A great example is “Hoosiers,” the 1986 Gene Hackman movie about a small-time high school basketball team in Indiana that competed (and won) at the highest level in a basketball-crazy state.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty embodies the meaning of America to much of the world. It represents the American ideal of giving opportunity to all those with the will and determination to make something of themselves.

Until recently, it was widely understood that with this pledge to give everyone a chance came an obligation to assimilate. It is no accident that the American ideal used to be referred to as a melting pot. This ideal is unique in the world, and is one of the things which distinguishes Americans and Americanism.

Ed Crane, in talking about Cubans fleeing the Castro regime in the early 1990s, put it this way:

… These people get on board things made out of oil drums, orange cates, balsa wood, and cardboard boxes; they cross hundreds of miles of shark-infested ocean, suffer hunger, thirst, and exposure, and brave treacherous currents, high seas, and storms just to come to American. I say they’re citizens. Give them their passports on the Florida beach – no oaths, no exams, no forms to fill out. These are the kind of people we want in America!

Most early European immigrants to America were Christians. They came to escape persecution and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a continent new and unexplored (by Europeans, at least). They, themselves, were underdogs, and they worshiped an underdog god – who they believed came to the earth as a baby and whose birth as a human is celebrated as Christmas.

  1. Do you believe America is still a land which is inviting for the “tired,” “poor” and those “yearning to breathe free?” Should it be?
  2. Do you think immigration to the United States should be based on a belief in “American ideals?” If so, which ideals?
  3. It is common, when traveling internationally, to hear people say, “I love Americans – I just don’t like ‘America.’” Why do you think this is? What would you say in response?

Image Citation:

Statue Of Liberty Give Me Your Tired [Photograph]. (2018). Retrieved from