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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Someone asked me...

...what I thought "The American Dream" meant today. Here is my response:

I believe when “The American Dream” originated, it was born of a people who were exhausted with governmental oppression. They were in search of a place where they too could be landowners, they too could be wealthy, and where they were free to worship their God without domination of the papal or aristocratic influence – a place where the playing field was wide open and level. They were in search of a space where they could define and express their individuality, and America, “The New World,” provided that space. While I believe these elements, these desires, still lie at the core of every human being, I feel that the American government has evolved in such a way that this dream ever slowly fades from view.

With each new socially constructed governmental program, we are basically being told that we can't think properly for ourselves and that we're not capable of making rational decisions. We are being told, ever so subtly, that the government knows how to invest our money, that the government knows what’s best for our children, and perhaps we should lie down, close our eyes, say nothing, do nothing, and let government dream for us. But if we open our eyes for a moment or two, we may find that government created ideas, intended to "help" us, have ultimately hindered us -- a catch 22. We may want to be free from government assistance and chase our dreams of higher education, individual expression and ownership, but if we remove what the government should have never put in place, large numbers of us will suffer.

Our children suffer because the government has stuck its hand into our education system so far that it has somehow become acceptable for high school graduates to have a sixth grade reading level. I suppose this is what happens when we allow the government to tell us that we are not capable of “decency,” we are not capable of teaching our children morals and ethics – after all, they do come to school with drugs, guns, and bombs. This is why the government sticks its hands into our schools and decides it is more important to provide birth control for our sixth grade daughters at the nurse's office than it is to actually teach them to think. This is why the government deems political correctness in the classroom more important than intellectual excellence. Instead of truly teaching and treating each student with honor, we cart “the potentials” away to "gifted class" and pat each little “failure” on the head, label them with a disorder, hand them a vial of pills, and because well… they just can’t help it.

In the mean time, the financial divide between us grows wider and our perceived opportunities seemingly start to fade. Our lacking education system continues to breed sets of intellectually deprived individuals, lying dormant in their ignorance and complacency, refusing to vote because they don’t understand the process or why it even matters. Therefore, lets all “turn on the tube” and watch the chaos unravel as these political “heroes” are “victimized” by their own hubris before our very eyes.

We live in a time where people base their political decision on "what the government will do for me" instead of saying, “help us keep the peace but please allow us to make this life work.” The people seem to forget that WE ARE the government, or at least we were supposed to be.

We live in a country where Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of equality -- no racism and no segregation. Yet despite all of his efforts and accomplishments, something called political correctness, set into motion to “prod” us into "respectable" behavior, has somehow created an intellectual and emotional segregation between races that now requires perhaps another great leader, with his or her own dream, to properly correct it. The next step is to say, “Yes, we are different, but we bleed the same, we love and die the same, and we all desire a space to live and dream the best. I can learn from you and you can learn from me, so let’s do this together.” But which of us will be the first to say it, and how many of us will agree?

Because of this I say “The American Dream” has become “How can I successfully weave my way through this muck and mire, over which it seems I have no control, and still place myself into a position in which I can pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness?” When will we teach our children that heroes don’t come with record labels and air brushed photographs? How can we show them that knowledge is power and the dumber we get the weaker we are? And how do we convince those in power that teaching the people to think while they enjoy life is more valuable to the nation than an illiterate multimillion dollar football star? When will it occur to us that something as simple as teaching people to read and question the power of rhetoric might in turn prevent something as “minor” as mortgage fraud?

But then again, if you take the time to think about it, I’m currently writing nothing but rhetoric as well. So… I ask you, is it making you think? Am I some kind of crazy dissenter of the social order? Or am I making some valid points? What does “The American Dream” mean to you and where does it fit right now?


  1. Great, thought-provoking post. We have become so very mired down in life, and what it takes to get by, that I don't think we even remember what it is like to dream. And, when we do dream, it is, to us, a fantasy - intangible, unreachable.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

    -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  2. How interesting! And how fascinating to see your perspective of the so called American Dream... However, to me, "How can I successfully weave my way through this muck and mire, over which it seems I have no control, and still place myself into a position in which I can pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness?” seems like a perfect definition for "Life Style" whether one lives in US, Patagonia, or Katmandu...

    Yes, you have made valid points and you have made me think and this is what I'm thinking:

    Being a Non-American to whom the mere power of destiny brought through the American Dream experience, far from trying to escape from my roots, my culture or my country; it encourages me to feel proud of who I am, where I come from, and what my country keeps offering me & my loved ones on a daily basis...