Olivia M. Michigan

A Dream Worth Sharing

The American Dream is often promoted by the government as something every American should strive to achieve, yet the stereotypical image that it is based from renders many Americans unable to reach this ideological concept. To improve our country, the image of the American Dream should be altered to fit the life of every individual.

Dear Mr(s). President,

In studying history in comparison to our world today, it becomes evident that tradition inspires our future actions, moving forward step by step in prospect of new potential— yet our heads remaining turned towards the past for some indication of guidance. The past is laid out as a treasure map before our feet, instructions to take fifty steps to the left to find success, thirteen to the right to find prosperity, or walk straight ahead through an endless abyss to live the American Dream. But the instructions we have followed word by word in the Constitutional map, fail to lead us to the greatest prize— a new world. As we strive to achieve an ideal of the past, perhaps the more efficient route with be that of resilience; don’t conform people to fit the dream, but alter the image of the dream to fit the life of every individual.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness make up the indefectible path, reach it and you will have lived to your fullest potential. Yet the image of these ideals have been tarnished throughout time, to remain true only to a stereotypical image. We hear the words spoken frequently, about promises for every American to live the American Dream, yet the fragmented image of said dream no longer accurately portrays the current state of our country or the lives of the people within it. Children grow up with the ideology of becoming prosperous in the dim haze of fast cars and large houses. Their minds enticed with the perception of having a stable career, or perhaps raising a family, one with skin like milk and hair like golden straw— a poster family for the American people, a single dream for 319 million people. Yet, the reality of societal change is that many Americans cannot afford the luxuries of blue homes and red cars, and most cultural backgrounds reflect travel from farther than across the white Atlantic Ocean— the dream, not a reflection of one mere color but a combination of all three.

Where does the limit of dreaming exist? This question cannot be answered but merely speculated as America changes through time. Yet, amidst our speculations lies an independent dream for every person, limitless in the hands of imagination. This limitless perception is often degraded by government actions and speeches which reflect past ideals, unachievable in the breath of today's air. Prominent in our world today is racism, classism, and sexism— reflecting governmental desires to cling to the past in hopes of resurrecting a broken dream which never truly existed. For an “advanced” culture of individuals whom hold morals above reason, the current state of society reflects past stereotypes and inequalities which sparingly exist. 79 cents will not suffice in the broken pocket of one’s dreams, when a dollar fills the spacely home of another. And the penniless 13.5 percent should justly achieve a dream that reaches beyond the idealized suburban landscape.

We paint the image for what every street corner should strive to be, for who every individual should be; a nice house in the middle of the suburbs, a white picket fence strung around a garden where red roses face the bright sunshine of a family, golden and content. Yet, one vision has dictated the course of every American’s life for so long that the green grass has turned brown and the white fence replaced with metal bars— holding us hostage to our own unreality. It is because we have clung tight to this fantasy, believed in its potential to be real, to be ours. We have not been taught that life cannot conform to a string of material potential, that America can be painted with more colors than red, white and blue.

It is the tradition of belief that restricts our thought towards change; belief in an old new world where our lives have advanced in accordance with the year, but the prospect of our future has remained the same. Today women no longer wear aprons, and the phrase “Inner city” does not equivalently reflect the color of one’s skin. It is not merely man and wife who may be pronounced legally wed and an individual’s cultural background does not determine their independent beliefs. One image is not nearly enough to define the lives of each person, because conformity is not human nature but learned through reinforcement. The American Dream is no longer in alignment with the dream of all Americans, leading our lives to appear to fall short of expectations, however, that does not mean we have failed in life. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness still exist beyond a stereotype and drift not far from our grasp— ideals achievable in a world void of restriction.

People have stopped wanting to live for fear of living the wrong way; for fear of an unachievable dream— now a nightmare— that haunts our minds and aspirations. We were not born to be a standard, another lost soul who fell short of success, we were born to dream and live out those dreams in the light of societal doubt. So we search for a government that promotes the dreams of the people, to tell us we are able to become our own ideal, not a structured ideal of the past. The people have already created their dreams, how long before America will reassemble a fragmented map and finally believe in a dream worth sharing.

Sincerely, 

Olivia Maday