Current circumstances, like the Black Lives Matter protests, Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, various pro–life law enforcements, and school shootings have made more and more people wonder about the true meaning of the American Dream.
The famous political activist Jesse Jackson once said:
“The American Dream is one big tent. And on that big tent you have four basic promises: Equal protection under the law. Equal opportunity. Equal access, and fair share.”
But what does this even mean? To keep it short, this quote basically supports the idea that anyone who comes to the USA leaves behind their differences and is set on equal footing. This means that everyone, no matter their heritage, is protected by the same laws, won’t face any discrimination, and have the same opportunities for a happy and fulfilling life.
However, this quote is not too far from what the American Dream originally stemmed from. Let’s travel back a couple of centuries when America was the newest discovery, and the land was just waiting for new masses of people to accommodate. Or rather, politicians were waiting to thrive off these immigrants. To get them to travel all the way to America, they advertised it as a land full of opportunities. A new continent that hasn’t been affected by laws and injustice (casually ignoring the harm done to Native Americans), where everything is yet to be figured out. As mentioned in the quote, these outlines lead to promises such as equal rights, equal opportunities, equal access, and fair share to make the young continent seem more attractive. And there you have it: The American Dream.
Of course, this sounds too good to be true, therefore it isn’t. America is probably the furthest from achieving the American Dream. It is known to be the country with the most cases of police brutality against BIPOC or members of the LGBTQ+ community. But not only is the system unjust toward minorities but also toward anyone else as it offers little to no help in terms of healthcare or social security. In this capitalist society where everyone is on their own, there is no room left for anyone
beneath the middle class.
Whether or not the American Dream exists, is still questioned. Even the true meaning and definition is a heated discussion. One thing that can be said for sure is, that people still believe in it even to this day and try to pursue it for the slim chance of making it in this cruel system. Sadly, success isn’t granted, so if someone actually makes it, is written in the stars.
Christine Budan 8M // October 2022 // Non–Ficiton // Article