The United States owes the “American Dream” to its citizens
America is the land of opportunity for all, and it always will be
February 21, 2017
Filed under OPINIONS
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The American Dream is a phrase that most Americans who had AP English in eleventh grade recognize as an unattainable green light on the other side of a rich man’s bay in the form of a beautiful, married old flame.
Great Gatsby jokes aside, the American Dream is something that easily every American, and non-Americans, know of, but what is the exact definition?
According to James Truslow Adams, a famous scholar from the ‘20s, the American Dream can be defined as believing that “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 term was first popularized in Adams’ book “Epic of America,” and it, in essence, refers to the search for freedoms you may not have had available to you throughout your life.
That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Everyone gets an equal chance at making it in this country – the sentiments of which are rooted in our Constitution, “all men are created equal.”
But does the U.S. owe the American Dream to every immigrant and citizen? Of course.
Americans have always described the U.S. as the beacon of hope and freedom for poor citizens and immigrants who couldn’t make it in their homeland, who are fleeing a crisis or a war-torn country, for people who long for a fresh, new start.
This sentiment, of course, isn’t exactly true, per se, you can ask Japanese-Americans who were around in the ‘40s, African-Americans from the 1600s to now, Jewish people, Syrians, the LGBT community and Muslims about that.
The point is, if Americans are going to uphold this vision they have of this country, they are going to have to go through with it, 100 percent. We, as a country, owe it to the thousands of people who came and those who want to come to this land, a land that we’ve hyped up beyond belief.
If you were under the impression that the American Dream came and died with your very Italian great-grandmother’s arrival to America, you’re wrong.
Immigrants who come to America today, in 2017, still have this idea that America is a place of equal opportunity, and some have worked their entire lives just to get a glimpse of it.
So imagine the dismay when they arrive, after being detained, as of recently, at an airport for hours, to a country where we can’t even decide whether or not our people have a right to affordable health care, free higher education or even the right to choose for themselves.
We owe it to these people, who have become the backbone of this country, to become the America that we flaunt ourselves to be.
The American Dream has gone through some cosmetic changes since it’s origin, but the sentiment still stands beneath the surface – everyone in this country deserves to be equal.
As college students, we have been given an incredible power. We hold the future of this country in the palms of our diverse, educated, revolutionary hands.
The American Dream lives in each and every one of us, because it’s not just immigrants who want to obtain it, it’s all Americans.
The youth of America has the ability to make a difference in this country, to sway our politicians, to create massive, media-garnering movements, all from the tapping of fingers on an iPhone. We have, without a doubt, the power to give this dream, this age-old sentiment to the people who long for it.
Of course, we also have the ability to gather for ourselves what we think the American Dream is, what it really means and who deserves it, but remember — we have promised for years the means to achieve the “American Dream” to every single person who lives in and crosses our borders, only to hand them a nightmare.