What is the American dream?
It is the simple concept that hard work over time leads to success, and that anyone and everyone has an equal shot at it. In years past, people came here from around the world seeking freedom so that they could try their hand at building a better future for themselves and their children, and their children’s children. They still do, but curiously nowadays they walk into a country that seems to have forgotten what the dream is about.
The dream has been polluted, corrupted, and debased. When you ask people nowadays what the American dream is, the unnerving answer is one filled not with hopes for future generations and hopes of success built on hard work, but on living a life beyond the dreams of avarice. From being a hope that hard work could lead to a better life, it has become something altogether more base, less about building for the future, and more about getting what you can while you can.
Don’t mind me just thinking out loud. Maybe I’m wrong about it changing, and about what it has changed into, but I can only speak about what I see and hear.
What happened to the American dream?
I don’t know.
Maybe my view of the American dream is some idealized utopian view of a world that I want to live in, where everyone has a shot at success if they just worked hard enough and applied themselves. But that’s what I think it is, and I don’t think about it in terms of idealized anything. I worked hard for 22 years in an office. I thought that if I just worked hard, gave my all, I could find some level of success. I worked hard, I learned to work smart, did all the right things to get in with the bosses.
I tried to save money, but never made enough to further my education enough to have that education be a help in making my dream come to life. So I worked. Long and hard. Drove hard. Both in and out of the office. Drank hard outside, worked hard inside. Smiled because I was happy to be helping others, because helping others is the right thing to do.
Never got ahead, though. Lost that job, and have had to start working in another area entirely, leave the years of experience far behind me and start fresh in my 40’s in a younger mans world.
Perhaps I was naive in thinking the American dream was like that, that success could be built on hard work. Maybe I was just in the wrong business, maybe i just had bad timing. Maybe I was wrong, and the American dream, that thing that I pursued, that I still pursue, can be pure and real and strong and built from sweat and freedom, and create a viable future.
Perhaps the world was never like that and I am just stupid.
The world’s loss.
But you tell me, what is the American dream? Is what I seek the American dream, or some idealized version of a world that I want to live in? Can the two co-exist? Have they ever? Can they? Or am I just naive?
That’s it from here, America. G’nght.