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America's Dream...Suburbs Anyone?

“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.” 
 James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America

Once upon a time America had a dream. Not Martin Luther King's dream, but the American dream. Throughout America's time, the dream has noticeably changed according to generation. When we began the dream was about, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This is a phrase quoted in the Declaration, but originated with a philosopher by the name of John Locke. The Declaration also states, "All men are created equal." Since slavery existed during this time, we can only assume this was a typo and he meant all white men and only men.

I've always felt I was born in the wrong generation and that values and interests never fully reflected the year in which I was born. For a long time I watched movies from the 50s and thought to myself, everything seems so perfect then. Why was I not attending sock hops instead of not existing? Then I remembered the American Dream of this generation...marriage, kids and the suburbs. Once again for the white middle class America, mostly returning soldiers from war. Men would go to work and provide for their families, women would stay home and take care of her children. If you look in history books you will also discover this is when chain smoking and alcoholism started. True story. Well, only if someone cares to write that part of history in Wikipedia. Needless to say, I no longer wish I lived during these times. Mostly.

As time goes on the dream changes and values keep getting stretched along. People are more accepting of black people now, but it's not ok to be muslim. People are accepting of women going to the workplace, but how dare she decide that she wants to stay home with a family. Honestly, most women couldn't even have the option of staying home with a family because life is expensive and everyone needs to work to make ends meet. There are problems of every generation and people are becoming more accepting. As they become more accepting of people they become more accepting of other things as well.

I was watching Hello Dolly and there were grown men talking about how they had never kissed a girl. One of them was 28. I can't remember when this movie took place, but maybe the 20s or something? After that I watched the Wonder Years and Kevin kissed his first girl at 12. Then they decided it was best to be kids as long as possible without kissing again. In today's society kids are having sex at age 12 as if it's no big deal.

I wonder is there actually a way to change America's values without changing morality? It should be ok for any person to marry and race should just be a hereditary trait such as hair color, but it should not be ok for children to... well, you know what they shouldn't be doing. There should be opportunity, there should be achievement and we should all have opportunity based on our own merits.

What is your American Dream?


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