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The Case for the American Dream

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While standing in a grocery line the other day, I heard one declaredly unemployed man ask another what was so great about the American dream. Not wanting to be impolite, I said nothing. However, I could not help but formulate an answer on the spot: simply put, the American dream is the desire to get ahead. It lives in all of us, including most of those who have long since given up on it. Unfortunately, in our modern economy, it seems to be more elusive than ever before. Even sol, the fabled dream survives for any American who has reasonable ambition and the drive to accomplish something greater in life, 

Why is this so important? Why should the American dream receive so much attention? What could possibly make it so special? In a twenty-first century which promises our children jobs of a lower quality than those of their parents, who in their right mind could be so naive as to be an American dreamer? To this I ask, what is the alternative? If the economy itself is ever to recover, doesn’t it need serious innovation to do so? If we continually live in a land of pessimism, with any kind of reasonable optimism being reflexively dismissed, where does this leave us as a country?

If too few of us are taking the American dream with more than a grain of salt, the government will become the the source of financial support, along with its concomitant dependency, for the vast majority of Americans. Of course, this can’t last for very long; the government needs tax revenue to function. If its revenue stops, the government will cease to exist, leaving only anarchy in its wake. For this reason alone, the American dream cannot be relegated to the ash heap of history. It is too precious, and dark as those storm clouds overhead may be, the Dream carries the possibility of productivity in the near future.

This is why it must prevail. As a society, we have no other choice.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Great post, you have + from President of Republic of Serpska.

  • The misconception many have about the Dream is that it’s uniquely American. Yes, the United States was a pioneer of personal liberty and economic opportunity, offering a refuge and a place to blossom for millions who would have been stifled elsewhere.

    But that was 200 years ago.

    Today there are many places where these opportunities exist. Right now, untold millions of Chinese are living the Dream – just 30 years ago it would have been unthinkable.

    America has been resting on its laurels, thinking that all it has to do is be America. Imagine if Ali had gone all through the late 60s and 70s continuing to call himself “the Greatest” while refusing to fight anyone. That’s what’s happening right now, and why the man in the grocery store was so bitter. The US is being left behind and is no longer all that special a place to live.

  • ” the man in the grocery story …” ??