The American Dream isn’t something that has crossed my mind a lot lately, but after attending your lecture at Iowa State, I’ve come to realize that it is important to include this in discussions about what the future holds. I went into this lecture with an open mind and hoped to hear a variety of opinions, but I wasn’t expecting to create some of my own.
I think everyone who has ever picked up an American history textbook understands the concept of the historical American Dream – that of building a new life, starting fresh, being free, earning a quality wage, providing for a family. While that may still be true for some, I personally don’t share the same “American Dream” that generations before me had and I think it is safe to say that newer generations don’t share the same American Dream either. However, I also don’t believe that the American Dream is dead. This entire period of history has been defined by dramatic changes in society. I think the American Dream is also experiencing a sort of transformation or re-definition. But what is the new definition?
It is so hard for me to define, in one concise sentence, what the American Dream is today because I don’t think the American Dream is a single dream. America is a changed country and citizens have so many different motivations, dreams, and goals. As you mentioned in your lecture, technology has connected the world and eliminated so many barriers to success that our imaginations are truly our only limitation. Although many parts of the world are still isolated and stuck in poverty, most of America is experiencing an age of unprecedented possibilities. These possibilities open up new doors and opportunities to people. While everyone may be pursuing their own individual dreams, I think all people can agree on similar goals and values.
I believe that the “new” American dream” doesn’t stray far from it’s roots. The roots that I am referring to here are the roots of innovation, opportunity, and freedom. I think these things are at the base of the American dream and really get at the heart of what it means to be American. The present American Dream, in my opinion, is that you can shape your own future and the future of America, and leave a lasting impact. But I don’t think my opinion matters a whole lot, because the American dream is something that you create for yourself. It takes in the goals and values of society, but it is driven by the collective action of people’s individual goals. The beauty of the American Dream is that it can be anything you want. And nobody can take that dream away from you.
– Colin Welk