Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The American Dream Then and Now

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams,1931

How does that dream hold up today? I like the idealism, I understand the mistrust. I have read countless stories of upward mobility and America's wayward friendliness to entrepreneurs compared to other countries. Yet, has our society cracked to a point that can not be healed? I suppose that is too broad of a question, because there are so many issues facing us. The highest incarceration rates and depression rates in the world, not to mention our nation's place in the domino effect of economic collapse worldwide.

Yet, our roads are still being repaired, the electricity is consistently on, water comes out when you turn the tap, and people still start businesses, buy homes and graduate from college, "regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

To be continued . . .


Trekking Left said...

My fear is that corporations are taking over our country to the point where only the wealthy will have the basic needs in life.

Kristin Anderson said...

I completely share that fear. I wonder what tools can change that. Have you seen the Story of Stuff? Its an online vid that is pretty amazing, addressing this very issue and its relationship to environmental and societal degradation: