The American Dream is the idea that hard work pays off, that if you do the right thing, the right thing will happen to you. The American Dream is starting over. The American Dream is giving your neighbor the shirt off your back because you look out for each other. The American Dream is opportunity.
That American Dream is pretty much dead, I’m sorry to say.
Look around you. Hard work is hard work, and it doesn’t always pay off. The top 99 percent of the wealth goes to the top one percent of the American population, but what hard work are they really doing? Sitting in an office while they hire others to do their dirty work to get paid so much, or letting interest accrue on their savings as they go about their day. The hard work of mechanics doesn’t pay off. The hard work of retail workers doesn’t pay off. The hard work of educators doesn’t pay off. The ones getting paid the most are at the top of the food chain: the CEO’s, the head board members, the car dealers. The ones who aren’t getting their hands dirty, but the ones creating the dirty work.
How easy is it to start over? On a scale from one to ten, it would be a twenty. No matter where you go, a trail follows you. Once you’ve delved into social media, it’s near impossible to erase yourself from the web that ensnares you. A new town full of new people will only stay new for so long until someone asks about your past. Past employers can easily get ahold of new employers and warn them of certain characteristics no matter how hard you try to convince them you’ve changed.
It’s hard to come across a strong bond of trust between neighbors anymore. Forty years ago, hitchhikers were picked up practically anywhere. Nowadays people are looked at as if they’re crazy if they admit they’ve picked up a hitchhiker. With sex trafficking and drug busts occurring daily, it’s difficult to know whom you can trust.
Opportunity is still easily attainable . . . if you know the right people. If you don’t know the right people, you won’t get far. The connections we make throughout life help us climb to where we want to get, whether it’s getting a good word in with a possible employer from a cousin or your parents telling you who to go to next in your journey to achieving your dreams.
I don’t mean to sound cynical; it’s just hard not to in a world so quickly developing and going downhill at the same time. As a woman who is working very hard towards her goals and dreams, I don’t get avocado on my toast or bagel or guacamole with my nachos, but I still can’t afford a house. I just want a steady job to support a family someday and a nice house.