"America" is ideally a place where, regardless of who your parents are, how much money you are born into, what region of the country you're born into, etc. etc...an "American" starts life with the same opportunities as anyone else and can work hard to "be whatever they want to be."

The America I live in looks nothing like this...but I'd really, really like it to.  Then I might take more pride in my identity as "American" rather than feeling it to be an arbitrary designation that I'm really not proud to announce when visiting Europe and other places. Currently, I feel like "America" is a great example of wasted potential.  

It's hard not to feel powerless to change things, though, when the current structure in place is a complex animal built over 200 years of policy decisions I had no control over... and when corporations and interest groups with lots of money have more influence than my "one vote."

 Any ideas (besides voting NOT-Republican in November, of course)?