James Truslow Adams in 1931 defined the American dream as,
“life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.”
There are a few things which were off with this. For example, 1930’s America was Jim Crow America. This was the same America that would 11 years later put Japanese Americans in internment camps. So I am a little sceptical that the everyone alluded to in the definition of the dream meant everyone. Also this clearly ignores the entrenched class-warfare that has gone on since the inception of this nation.
My friend is black like me, so becoming a citizen for him is a risk. Think of what that means to accept that you may be gunned down, imprisoned , arrested beaten up, tazed, killed for no reason, other than the colour of your skin. That is a serious commitment. If he believes despite all he has read and seen ,that America is the place to be, then it is only right as the greatest Patriot of my generation to support him.
For those of you who don’t know, I am the greatest patriot of my generation because I am embrace America for what she is, I don’t try and change her I voice my opinions and she ignores me. We both know that if I were to voice then too loudly or rally other people together who believe in equality, social mobility, the end to worldwide war warmongering the last image I would see before I received that bullet to my head would be the smear campaign about me on TV.
America for me is an idea and the USA is the reality of how far we have reach that idea. This one figure summarizes where we have reached so far on our quest to “make America what it ought to be”. One of my favourite sayings came from the Occupy Wall Street Protests: “Wake up from the American Dream. Create a livable American reality.”
I think that the immigrants coming into the USA still carry with them the seeds of hope necessary. I think that there is still some hope from today’s youth who don’t buy into the corporations are people and the rest of the propaganda hurled their way.
So to a future where we leave behind this crippled idea of the American dream and look forward to living sustainable with each other