Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Contemporary Statement Doubting The American Dream

In the above video, Obama states that the 'American Dream' is; 'shared in big cities and small towns, across races, regions and religions.  That if you work hard, and can support a family; if you get sick, there will be healthcare you can afford.  That you can retire with the dignity and respect that you've earnt.  Your children can get a good education, and young people can go to college, even if they dont come from a wealthy family'.  Here Obama explains that he feels the American Dream is still alive because people are willing to work to support themselves and their family, and that this is still rife in today's American culture.

However, this can be argued on many different levels.  How is the American Dream doubted? Examples like couples buying their first property is seen as one of the many steps people take in their life when they want to succeed.  Due to the economic state of the country, although still very wealthy, many citizens struggle to do such an act.  This is because of the 'real estate collapse' which hasn't been this bad since the depression in the 30's.  This could perhaps suggest that the essence of the American Dream can potentially be doubted as the aspirations for people that want to succeed could be dented, due to economic issues and such.

A proclamation which suggests that the American Dream is in jeopardy, is 'hard work alone is sometimes not enough to become financially successful in America' which is opposite to what the mythical dream really stands for.  Most people would associate the dream with connotations of been able to support themselves, their family, being financially stable and able to exert their wealth in manners such as property.  This statement above is quoted in the American paper; 'The State' which is based in South Carolina, in which the paper references the 'Winthrop University Poll'.  The statement also refers to the 54% that agree with this, which is just more than half.  This shows how a lot of citizens are struggling at this moment to support themselves, not even their families, which surely implies that the American Dream is failing?

The American Dream can be related to 'Ragged Dick', who almost lives the dream by succeeding in life, as he started out as a 'boot-black' and in the end, managed to get a good job and educate himself.  Although in the novel, this is mainly due to the luck he has by meeting wealthier gentleman who want to help Dick and also because of his own kindness, it still suggested to the younger generation that this dream is attainable if you work at it.

However, this questions the relativety of this work, as today, the 'rags to riches' concept could still work, although it is a different era, with different laws and opportunities available.  For example, children have to go school and they aren't able to work, in which in 'Ragged Dick' both examples wouldn't be in effect. 

 This picture suggests how many people could have a lack of faith in the concept of the American Dream.  In which the result of the concept is now unattainable; in todays economic climate and everyday struggles in today's society, it could now be seen as a mythical perception of American culture.

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