“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
That quote is from the New Colossus by Emma Lazarus which is engraved on a plaque and stored in the Statue of Liberty. I normally try to steer clear of political matters on this blog. Mainly because what the media deems important normally infuriates and frustrates me. I cannot begin to address my level of disappointment; in the media, the govt, and the American people. But my biggest gripe right now is with a concept. A concept that is constantly being thrown down our throats. A concept that makes me want to scream “Are you serious!” from the top of the world’s largest building. And that concept is the American Dream. Now I am all for the American Dream. I believe in it wholeheartedly. What I do not believe in is having our President and half of the country using the term incorrectly.
Now you ask how is it being used incorrectly? Simple. It is being mistaken for a different philosophy. One that is taught in most every intro to sociology class. And if you did not learn it, call your school and ask for your money back. The term is (drum roll) “keeping up with the Joneses.” (cue the fireworks).
When James Truslow Adams wrote The Epic of America and first used the term American Dream he was not referring to everyone owning a house, car, a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a cat. That my dear friend is what people decided was necessary to be happy. And the mere idea that either of those notions is correct is nauseating. Everyone in this country does not need to own those things. That is not now nor has it ever been the American Dream. When I was younger, what they taught us in school was the American Dream was about working hard. It was about the immigrants that came threw Ellis Island hoping for a second chance at life. The men, women, and children that came to the country due to war or poverty in search of a new hope. In search of what Emma Lazarus wrote about: A woman that welcomed immigrants to this country. The Mother of Exiles lighting the way to freedom and security. A chance to become someone. Maybe not for you but for your children. The idea of Posterity.J
In this world we focus so much on the now. The here and now that we loose site of what is important. And to turn something so pure and idealistic into a justification for greed is completely unacceptable. Going thousands of dollars into debt so that you can have better than or more than someone else’s is ridiculous. I do not care what the President’s reason for bailing out the automobile industry was. I don’t even care if you agree with his decision. I just want the leader of this nation and the “free world.” To stop improperly using terms that make the United States look greedy and superficial. Our reputation is so bad that when we finally did get around to killing Bin Laden the international world jokingly said “Oh look what America can accomplish while play station’s downs.” We are become and international joke, and I don’t appreciated it. When the term was coined it referred to Americans working for what we have. Which could not be further from what we have been doing. So maybe if the country takes a look at where it’s been. And takes a look at where we’re headed. We can change the course that the country is on but that change starts with our the mindsets. Then needs to trickle up the branches of government. And maybe just maybe if we could learn to come together other than in times of crisis.