The American Dream

November 10, 2010

When did the American Dream go from achieving a rich, full life to “I got mine, screw you”?  When I was a kid, success didn’t mean you were a millionaire.  It meant you worked hard and provided for your family.  It also meant you looked after those around you and in the community.  These days, it seems everyone is out for themselves and to hell with everyone else.  It’s evident in everything from the opposition to health care reform to taxes to business practices.  It used to be some people had the attitude “I got mine, you get yours “.   That was bad enough, but now it seems to be “I got mine and I’m going to screw you out of yours, too.”  The American Dream was never meant to be achieved by some on the backs of our neighbors, but that’s exactly what happening. 

What is the American Dream?  According to historian and author James Truslow Adams, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also 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.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anything  about getting rich in the deal. 

Lately, I’ve been questioning whether the American Dream is at odds with Christianity.  In some ways, it might be; the dream doesn’t seem to worry much about those less fortunate, which is a big thing in the Christian faith.  It’s also kind of self-centered; Christianity, not so much.  It doesn’t say a word about the bottom line being more important than people.  It doesn’t say to ignore the less fortunate.  It it does place great emphasis on equality and that’s certainly a Christian ideal.  From what I can see, this dream of ours, while it doesn’t exactly fall into line with Jesus’ teaching, isn’t a bad thing.  I really don’t think God has a problem with people taking care of their families, of parents wanting life to be better for their children than theirs is.  It’s when we accumulate piles of stuff we’ll never use and then ignore someone asking for spare change so they can eat that day that God has  problem with what we’re doing.  Think about that next time you drive past that guy holding the sign that says “Will work for food”.


6 Responses to “The American Dream”

  1. Joe Momma said

    Why isn’t “God” helping that man with the sign “will work for food?” THERE IS NO GOD, YOU IDIOT!

    • fireboy48 said

      If thinking I’m stupid for believing gets you through the day, I can live with that. As for question, I believe that God is helping the man with the sign. He’s just using me to do it.

  2. George Carlin said

    It is called the “American Dream” because you have to be asleep to believe it.

  3. bird dog said

    I do not believe you said; NO GOD ! The man standing by the road is the one that you should not believe. He most likely does this for a living and has no problem with the fact of asking you for a “DOLLAR” so he or she can eat today.
    So the next time you stop believing in your creator. Just ask any state traffic monitor how many vehicles travel through this particular intersection in a days time and subtract about 65 percent because about this many people have caught on ,dont care or just will not help anyway. @ say $.50 per vehicle ,10,000 vehicles minus 6500 = 3500 x .50 = $1750.00 TAX FREE DOLLARS. + (.35 percent TAX BRACKET ) = 2362.50 x 100 days =($236,000.00) GOD IS GOOD .

    • fireboy48 said

      I’m not sure where you got the idea that I don’t believe. I do, very much. As for your characterization of folks panhandling, that’s a myth. One created so people could ignore homeless people and not feel bad about themselves. I’m a firefighter in a metropolitan fire department and, in 20 years, I’ve never seen anyone holding a “Will work for food” sign that took in anywhere close to the amount you calculated.

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