The American Nightmare

The “American Dream” has meant many different things to many different people. To some, it is the potential that the American economy can hold. The opportunity to undertake and grow a self-started business. To others it may be the freedom that America provides. Freedom of speech, religion, press, et. cetera that so many take for granted. On the contrary, the American Dream is more than what one can gain from this country; it is what we give back. It is a fantasy where each American, despite their respective backgrounds, is treated with respect and each person returns the favor. We so often get comfortable in our own busy lives and responsibilities that we forget our roots. We often are so content in our established ways that we forget that this country was founded by vagabonds cast out from faraway places. We often are so rigid in how this county is “supposed to be” that we forget that lady liberty herself says with silent copper lips, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to break free”.

It is called a dream for a reason. If our country was what we all wanted it to be, it would be called “The American Reality”. But what would it take for every American to say that this dream had indeed come true? It seems the people who claim the validity of this lofty idea have never been tired, poor, or among the huddled masses. It seems that the millions of voiceless Americans struggling to put food on the table every night would not say they believe in “The American Dream” but rather an “American Nightmare”. It seems there is an evident disconnect about our most notable ideas surrounding this country.

Respectively, there are fallacies in both extremities concerning the question of “The American Dream”. Those who claim the dream is a reality forget that this may not have been the case for them at one time. Those who have lost sight of the dream have also lost sight of what the dream entails. “The American Dream” is not being rich or successful and it is not expecting something that is rightfully owed from this country. It is the idea that a country is a sanctuary that has the potential to be just that for a person. In turn, that person will go on to help another. To take care of each other and do as much as one is able is what “The American Dream” is.

It so often seems that the people that need the most care are the very people who care the most. People who are far worse off and stuck in an American Nightmare are, by far, more kind and genuine than most of suburbia’s neighborly residents. These are the people for whom America was founded, yet they are the voices that compose a static background noise. A background noise amongst all other chaos in this country that screams, “Do we not deserve The American Dream?!”

Those who are engoulfed in the firey “American Nightmare” can find some version of relief that one day has the potential to change into their own “American Dream”. Although a nightmare can leave you awake in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, the new reality of the upcoming dawn is refreshing and welcomed. Looking back at the nightmare, it is found that it was not hair raising in the slightest. Yet, one would not wish it on anyone else.

So what does “The American Dream” really mean? It is a loaded question. This dream is a fickle one and cannot be deferred or overlooked. It means more than only supporting the government and fulfilling civic duties. It is not the hope of becoming a successful entrepreneur or merely existing in the land of the free. A verified “American Dream” is living in a country where citizens feel the necessity to look after one another. Where a fellow American helps another fellow American because we are all, at heart, just that; Americans.

As one kind heart helps another, the kindness grows and blossoms into a surreal flower. As each person who has been helped remembers just that and decides to go out and do the same, the dream starts to becomes a reality. If enough people take the first small steps to be mindful of how America has given so much to the privileged, then this country will be a truly wonderful place to live.