Does the American Dream Even Exist Anymore?

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We continue to chase that good ole American dream (does that dream even exist anymore?)

For many immigrants, the Statue of Liberty was their first view of the United States, signifying new opportunities in life. The statue is an iconic symbol of the American Dream.

The American Dream is a national characteristic spirit of the US culture , the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the rights for prosperity and success. An upward advancement for the family and children, achieved through hard work without social barriers.

In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adamsin 1931, “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.

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that“all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The dream has changed over the years.

The meaning of the “American Dream” has changed over the course of time, and now includes personal components (such as home ownership and career advancement) and an international vision. Historically the Dream originated in the mystique regarding frontier life.

As the Royal Governor of Virginia noted in 1774, the Americans “for ever imagine the lands further off are still better than those upon which they are already settled”. He added , “if they attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.”

Today this infers an open door for Americans to accomplish success through hard work. According to The Dream, this includes the opportunity for one’s children to grow up and get a decent education and career without hindrance. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without limiting restrictions on class, religion, race, or ethnicity.

A recent poll showed that more than half of all people in this country don’t believe that the American dream is real. Fifty-nine percent of those polled in June agreed that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve.” More and more Americans believe there is “not much opportunity” to get ahead.

via 7 Facts That Show the American Dream Is Dead | Alternet.

For many in both the working class and the middle class, career advancement has served as the heart and soul of the dream, the opportunity of “betterment” and to “improve one’s lot” for oneself and one’s children much of what this country is all about. “Work hard, save a little, send the kids to college so they can do better than you did, and retire happily to a warmer climate” has been the script we have all been handed.

At the turn of the 20th century 90% of Americans were self-employed, living what they believed was the dream. Today those numbers have done a complete 180.

A few years ago I had finally made it. The job of my dreams, medical, dental, and of course the good old 401k. Within a years the company came into financial difficulty and the lay-offs began. I found myself in the unemployment line beside people who had worked there for three years or better.

Seniority, class, religion, race, or ethnicity had no preference there. We all found ourselves back in the race chasing money just to pay the bills.

Due to modern advancements in technology you find that there are fewer and fewer jobs. The times of people working the assembly line have changed to machines doing all the work.

While some analysts are quick to call this a win win for workers seeking more flexible hours and balanced lives, that’s not the whole picture. Yes it is true that people want more time but not with less pay. Where is the dream in that?

The digital revolution combined with the sociopolitical changes have profoundly affected our workforce and our economy … but not in a good way.

Creating your own dream.

It is important to know that it doesn’t matter if the American Dream exists. That dream can be dead and gone. The question is are your dreams alive and well.

Are you doing what it takes to make your dreams come true? If you are having problems with that then here is  a list of things to help you along the way.

  • Improve on the skills that you are passionate about.
  • Set goals and create ways to accomplish them.
  • Improve your decision-making skills.
  • Build positive relationships with positive people.
  • Learn what it is to be a leader.
  • and most importantly become financially self-sufficient and teach others how to do the same.

I could go into details with all of this but I have to get to school. I ask you what is more important to you? The American Dream or your personal dreams. It is time to chase your dreams, run them down, and live life to the fullest.

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