As we gear up for another Independence Day, many people take time to reflect on America and what makes it great. When you think about it, we do have a pretty neat country. In spite of all of our flaws, we typically try to do the right thing. It may take us a while to get there, but we get there eventually. What drives Americans? What spark fires our imaginations and makes us take chances in the hopes of finding a better way?
Actually, it’s the American Dream. Depending on who you ask, the American Dream is either alive and well, dead and dying, or never existed in the first place because of the aforementioned flaws. The first two conditions are often politically-motivated, but that last one tends to be a foundational concept of the Left. Instead of accentuating the positive, they obsess over the negative and paint a picture of our country so bleak even Sylvia Plath painting a still life in a dark basement would seem like Up With People.
So, let’s dip our patriotic tootsies into the waters of the American Dream.
the American Dream
What Leftists think it means – an impossible-to-achieve ideal that seeks to whitewash America’s multiple flaws while giving people false hope
What it really means – an ideal that inspires people to dare to be great
In spite of the Left trying to make America look like the Bizarro World version of the Emerald City, people from all over the world still want to come here, as millions of others before them did. Whether they were coming to start a new life, get experience, escape oppression, or just because their calendars were free, those immigrants wanted to be here. That’s not by accident, folks. That was because of, for lack of a better term, the American Dream.
Trying to nail down what the American Dream means is trickier than arm wrestling an octopus because it’s different for everyone and linked to the times in which we live. In the 1950s, the American Dream was a house, white picket fence, two cars in the garage, and kids and a dog. In the 1960s, the American Dream was a reduction in racial discrimination. The 1970s gave us an American Dream that included first wave feminism and a focus on the self. (Oh, and a lot of cocaine.) The 1980s showed us an American Dream of patriotism, success in the business world, and family values. (Oh, and a lot more cocaine.)
When we got to the 1990s, the American Dream shifted away from what we experienced in the 1980s. At that time, it went from thinking long term to living in the moment. We needed stuff and we needed it now! And it hasn’t gotten much better since then. Today’s American Dream might be getting a brand new iPhone when they become available in, oh, 3 minutes, or maybe it’s to become a YouTube star, or maybe it’s just having the Starbucks barista get your triple shot low fat soy milk caramel macchiato at just the right temperature. Dream big, I always say!
Even though the American Dream has changed, the heart of it remains. Whether we strive for the house and family or the perfect cup of coffee, we know it’s out there. All we need to do is believe we can find it and put in the work to make it happen. That’s what makes it such an attractive concept to so many, including your humble correspondent. At the turn of the 20th Century, America became home to people who had similar aspirations and drive. We were (and still are) a nation built on exploration and pushing ourselves to our limits, all for the shot of making it. From Plymouth Rock to New York City, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
You know, that would be a great idea for a song! Let’s get someone on that right away!
Until the money starts rolling in from that totally original idea, I will continue to look for ways to live my concept of the American Dream, and I encourage all of you reading this to do the same. And don’t forget to appreciate the freedom we have to live our dreams.
Happy Independence Day!