The American Dream : What is the American Dream?

What exactly is the “American Dream”?

Recently, I was having a discussion with my Dad. As usual, the conversation turned to politics and current events and the topic of The American Dream came up. Once upon a time my Dad was a typical hippie college kid music major who bought into the rhetoric of the Vietnam era (even though he served in the Navy). However later, at 40, he was a family man and entrepreneur who swung to the opposite side of the scale. During this time, is when I got my first look into what the American Dream was all about.

What is the American Dream? The American Dream is not a car, a house, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a steady job with great benefits. The American Dream is not a big bank account, a retirement account, and a camper for going out in. The American Dream is not full and complete access to medicines, doctors, and health officials with the best training on the planet. The American Dream is not a cop on every corner, a turkey in every oven, and the ability to sleep safe; knowing the largest and most advanced Army in the world is on the night shift. The American Dream is not free education, access to clean water, and electric heat or air all the days of life. The American Dream is not even liberty and justice for all. While all good things and treasures to be sure; these are not The American Dream; these are the results of The American Dream.

So, what is the American Dream? The American Dream is the opportunity to choose life on one’s own terms while not infringing on another’s right to do the same. Simply put, the American Dream is the ability to choose to live life without interference from outside forces. Choosing to pursue a career is the Dream, not the career itself. Choosing to work hard to earn money and in what form that work takes is the dream, not forcing an employer to hire you and guaranteeing what wages you will get. The power of choice is the ultimate power in the universe and the greatest power God ever gave mankind. The American Dream is the free exercise of that power. I am living the American Dream when I am allowed to choose my own destiny; not when I get the results of that choice. The car isn’t the Dream; the opportunity to choose to earn to buy a car is the Dream. The health care isn’t the Dream, the opportunity to choose to what physician I go to, or what method of care I am willing to pay for, or to do nothing about my health at all, is the Dream.

Why is American life so special? We are special because we can choose our own destiny. No government, no regulating authority, no politician, and no single force can compare to the power of the individual’s free will. However, that means both the good and the bad that come with free will. If I choose to not get an education, to work low wage jobs, and to never attempt to better myself; then I will get out what I have put in. If I choose to believe that I cannot change my circumstances, than they will not change. In America, you can change your life simply by choosing to do so. You want to own your own business, you can work, and save, and eventually you can achieve your goal. You want to move states to pursue your dreams, you can. You want to stay at home and have lots of children and educate them as you see fit, for now, you still can. You don’t like the way your government is representing you, you can run for office or vote or speak out or leave.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the American Dream. Chasing your dreams is the Dream. Happiness is not the Dream, going after it and how you choose to do so is the dream.

Do not be fooled. Many people will tell you, “You are being cheated out of The American Dream” while they talk about how other people have more than you. They will tell you, “It is your right to be happy” while discussing how other people are the cause of your misery.

Politicians will promise, “I will protect your right to [fill in the blank]”. Be sober, and understand the fundamentals of life. Life is not fair and no one can change this fact. Life is not always easy. Life can and will be hard, cruel, and painful. No one owes you anything. Your rights are not given or created by any government. They can not create rights nor destroy them; only manipulate how the rights are presented. We are endowed with our rights by our Creator and it is He who guarantees our rights, enforces them, and ensures they will not fade away from existence. The American Dream is that we as a nation choose to recognize that, and not loose sight of it.

If you want a part of The American Dream, choose something. That’s it; you’ve just participated in The American Dream. You want a better town, city, state, county, or country; vote, and viola you just experienced The American Dream.

What is The American Dream? It is the freedom that does not exist anywhere else in the world or in time; it is the freedom to choose life on your own terms while allowing your neighbor to do the same.

The single worst thing we can do to The American Dream is to choke it out with more and more oppressive government and more oversight. We must be able to recognize the limitations of government to protect people from our own or others bad decisions.

If you don’t like a company that poisons water or air or ground in your view; vote with your dollars and feet and do not buy their goods or services. If you want a small business to thrive, support them with dollars and praise to others. If you see a need, fill it or gather those who can to do so. Let the government go about the business of defending the nation, upholding the law as it stands, and providing an environment the does not hinder the exercise of free will as it applies to a civil society. Do not ask the government to make new laws; instead, have them enforce the current ones. Do not ask the government to enact stricter and stricter regulations; instead have them make sure the current ones are followed. If you can work, do not ask the government to force your neighbor to give you money or benefits you did not personally work for; instead choose to be self-reliant and make plans to earn what you need.

What is The American Dream? We are. The Dream is a nation of freeman who are allowed to pursue our own happiness, and seek life on our own terms.

The Peregrin Falcon

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