What about Our American Dream?

August 15, 2011

Correct me if I’m wrong, but people in other countries have never created a phenomenon comparable to “The American Dream.” The Italian Dream? The French Dream? The Spanish Dream?
 
A few years ago I was in Australia talking with a social worker who worked one day each week with the Aborigines. She was in distress over the plight of these people. Bitter, in fact. When I happened to mention the American Dream, she snapped, “The American Dream is bullshit.” 
 
My answer to the social worker was that The American Dream is one of HOPE. It does not promise fulfillment. It promises the real possibility that we can oversee our own dream with the hope that we can bring it to fruition. 
 
Our Declaration of Independence said that it is an inalienable right to engage in the “pursuit of happiness.” 
 
An outcome of the American Dream phenomenon is the people’s ability in large numbers to become rich, to bring about a large middle class, to bring about the affluent American.
 
A side effect is that if we should fall short of achieving our dream, we undergo a mid-life crisis. Then, the Mid-Life Crisis is also an American phenomenon. A luxurious, sad, self-indulgent outcome. But worth the price of hope.