Dream’ no longer about wealth and power

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

University students, faculty, executive members and residents: what does the ‘American Dream’ mean to all of you? I ponder this question because as a society we have changed, and I have a personal set belief of what our understanding of the societal ‘dream’ now means. I believe the dream is not one of power and wealth; rather, it’s the ability to feel satisfied with the life you will live as time goes on. Everyone chooses their own verve, including being educated or non-educated, poverty-stricken or multi-million dollar success stories, or even a family focused person. In any case, we all make decisions and the American dream is one which that has changed quite drastically since its 1950s retrospective attitude.’ This whole drive for this topic started February 17, 2009, in my overtly non-liberal and unbiased Peace and Conflict Studies class. Here, the professor claimed the ‘so-called ‘American Dream’ is still this belief that we all want the house with ten cars, five garages’hellip; and the energy wasting, mass consumption lifestyle.” As I sat there and took in this demagoguery, I could only believe this was absolutely not true. In an expansive world, some may still attest to this lifestyle, but I highly doubt the rest of us want this. Our government wants us to ‘be green,’ and I feel people are living their lives by this and consider it their dream, which is a phenomenal feat. But is it worth it? Many feel the fundamentalist approach is appropriate, which includes being married and having kids, a successful job, a house, a car, a family and taking vacations. As a Political Science student, I started to endeavor into this philosophically controversial question and the results varied from one person to the next. I do not have thousands of dollars to make a scholarly study.’ So, I made it simple: I posed this question as a Facebook note and on a Republican blog site. I received ten different answers on Facebook and none on the blog site ‘- they must have still been making love to Limbaugh’s CPAC speech at the time.’ My responses followed as shown here: 1) The American Dream is to be able to better yourself and rise up in whatever occupation you see fit. But all of this is simply the opportunity to continually rise up, not the guarantee it will actually happen.’ 2) The fulfillment of what we are promised in the Bill of Rights that is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness.’ 3) Self-sustainability and knowing you worked everything you possess and that you are responsible for your accomplishments.’ 4) More than anything, it’s an idea, a concept that only you can achieve by your own standards.’ 5) Being able to work at a job one enjoys, being able to raise a family that is not lacking any of life’s necessities, and being able to have a few beers after a hard days work.’ 6) You have to set personal goals for yourself and then it is up to you whether or not you reach your set goals. For others success is a family that loves and cares for each other in good times and in bad. 7) It is the idea and reality that it is possible to be born into a poor or working class family and actually dream and work your way up.’ 8)’ A 6-pack, a color TV, and a Lazy-Boy chair.’ 9) 50 Cent.’ 10) In the USA we are not limited by our families reputation. Because of this we may have a future CEO growing up in east LA, or a Congressmen growing up on the Texas Mexican border. Everyone is able to live their life as they please. If someone chooses to break the law, they are given to them what they deserve. The American dream is to do what YOU want with your life not what others want of you. As you can see through these diverse responses, the main argument of this opinion piece is to show you, the students, professors, Executive Board members and the residents that we all have different opinions on where we should take our lives for a better future. As a final note I urge all of my fellow peers to graduate with a clear mind of where you want to go in life. —Nicholas Derksen is a junior majoring in Political Science.