Unreachable American dream

In Opinion

Does the American Dream still exist? If so, then where’s my white picket fence?

What’s the point of striving for the American Dream when it’s nearly impossible to achieve?

The “American Dream” used to be a term that made people strive for a better tomorrow. An idea that life can and will get better with hard work and a positive attitude. But the American Dream really is nothing but a term. A bright, shining, makes-you-feel-all-warm-and-cozy-inside term.

The American Dream can’t possibly still exist today because it never truly existed in the first place. How can anyone achieve it if it’s nothing but a clever idea used to make Americans deal with all the hardships in their lives?

The term “American Dream” was made popular in the 1931 book The Epic of America by James Truslow Adams. He wrote that 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.” Immigrants were coming to America with the dream that if they became self-employed and worked hard enough, money, a good education for their children, and the ultimate vision, a comfortable home with a white picket fence, would all be in their grasp.

Then the Industrial Revolution brought about the usage of machines and assembly lines, making many jobs held by people obsolete. With this new idea of mass quantities being produced in a quick and systematic style, the old dream of working hard and having it pay off in the future was thrown out. Instead, the “get rich quick” idea was brought in. People didn’t want to work hard anymore because it took too long. The quest for hard work and achievement became a quest for money. Instant gratification was what everyone began dreaming about.

Today many Americans are beginning to question whether or not the American Dream is an actual reality. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “Many social critics would argue that what millions of Americans are really embracing is not the American Dream so much as the American Daydream … We have become, say the critics, a people who have grown fat, lazy and sedentary, who spend much of our time wishing for success but are unwilling to ‘pay our dues’ with the kind of personal commitment required to make something out of our lives.”

This statement is true when it says that people today have grown lazy and are waiting for good things to be simply brought to them. But what if a majority of today’s people aren’t lazy? Maybe we’ve just given up. Many of us are practically killing ourselves to get through college, but for what?

In an article by Joe Queenan from the Wall Street Journal, he writes about the number of college graduates who are left lost and confused after years of hard work.

“They will enter an economy where roughly 17 percent of people aged 20 through 24 do not have a job, and where two million college graduates are unemployed. They will enter a world where they will compete tooth and nail for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, file clerks, bouncers, trainee busboys, assistant baristas, interns at bodegas,” wrote Queenan.

If this is the 21st century version of the American Dream, then no wonder we’re seen as fat and lazy. What’s the point of trying if we always end up losing in the end?

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