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15 Perspectives On The American Dream: Alive And Thriving Or A Long-Gone Fantasy?

There are so many misconceptions about the American dream. A user asked the forum, “Do you think the American dream still exists or is long gone ?” Here are the top responses. 

IT HASN’T CHANGED

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“The American dream has always been the idea that you will have the opportunity to go from poverty into the middle class and make a better life for your children than you had through your merit and hard work due to the liberty and economic opportunities in America. It hasn’t changed.

People have been misled into assuming the American dream has to do with becoming super rich or part of the one percent because they lack the historical context of it being a dream for those coming from repressed countries where they had no hope of rising above their class of peasantry.”

VARIES FROM PERSON TO PERSON

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“The ‘American dream’ is not monolithic. It varies from person to person. For some folks, the American dream is the stereotypical ‘white picket fence, a wife, two kids, and a dog.’ 

For others, it could be satisfaction in your job, moving to the middle of nowhere, and starting a farm. The American Dream is doing whatever makes you happy.”

TRUE FOR PEOPLE WHO START A BUSINESS 

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“The American Dream is alive and well for immigrants who start a business, pursue education, and put their all into it.

I think most people who say the American dream is dead are misunderstanding that the original meaning was that someone could come to this country with little money to their name and (with a ton of hard work and some ingenuity) create a better life for their family so that their children grew up with the opportunity to attend excellent schools and go into lucrative and desirable careers.

As far as I understand it, the American dream was never about people who have been here for generations being able to move up the ladder to higher and higher incomes consistently. Once a family is middle class, it’s challenging to continue to move up to upper-middle or upper class.”

PEOPLE STILL COME TO AMERICA FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY 

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“Yes, the American Dream still exists. Does it look like the nuclear family in the suburbs right out of a Norman Rockwell painting? Probably not, but people still come to our wonderful country hoping to find job opportunities and economic prosperity.”

IT IS NOT AUTOMATIC 

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“It still exists. It is not automatic. People also complain about being unable to afford a house and unwilling to move out of big cities, which haven’t been affordable in a century.”

IT IS STILL ALIVE IN MY HOUSEHOLD 

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“It’s still alive in my household. I was the fourth son of an 8th-grade-educated factory worker. After he disowned me for being born gay, I put myself through school and graduation school and am a Vice President in a Fortune 5 corporation.

My husband grew up poor in Brazil, came to the United States, got his citizenship and a degree, and works for a Fortune 10 corporation.

We have a beautiful home, two vacation homes, a daughter, and a doctor. So, yeah, we both started with nothing and made something of ourselves.”

ALIVE FOR THOSE WHO HAS VALUE TO OFFER 

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“I work with small businesses, and it is still alive for those with something of value to offer their customers, plus a willingness to work long hours, plus business sense. I see that more in immigrants than native-born Americans.”

I MADE MORE MONEY THAN MY PARENTS 

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“I make more in one year than my parents made in 5 years. Yeah, I hint it still exists.”

WORK HARD ATTITUDE ISN’T ENOUGH ANYMORE 

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“It does. For people who come to this country, for whatever reason, I believe it’s still a thing. For some born here, it probably still is, but the ‘work hard’ attitude isn’t enough anymore. You got to get some lucky breaks along the way, and it doesn’t happen for many people.”

NEVER STOP FIGHTING FOR IT 

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“Still exists, and we must never stop fighting for it! We have to make it more attainable for everyone who works hard!”

IT’S STILL HERE

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“Nah, it’s still here. Too many successful immigrants are running around for it not to be.”

THERE ARE BARRIERS TO IT

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“It still exists. Declining social mobility for the last 18 years has undoubtedly jeopardized it. What’s crazy is back in the day (1950-1970), there was a 50% chance that at some point in your life, you would be in the top 5% of incomes nationwide.

Not every year, of course, but it was nice that half the population got their ‘day in the sun.’ I worry about this trend. Part of the American dream is prosperity, and increasingly, there are barriers to that.”

EXISTS ONLY FOR THE TOP 30% OF THE ECONOMIC CLASS 

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“The American Dream exists but only for the top 30% of the economic class. The bottom 70% are getting weeded out and destroyed through plutocratic practices and conservative neoliberal ideology.”

YOU NEED THE DRIVE 

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“It exists. The question is how many hoops do you have to jump through, how crazy will you need to drive yourself, and how beaten do you have to get to do it? It’s astronomical to where it’s unachievable or unfair for millions of people.

Think of it as a mountain, where the summit is the American Dream. Some are born and dropped off halfway or three-quarters up the hill, while most others start somewhere between sea level and the bottom of the ocean.”

IT REQUIRES HARD WORK 

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“Absolutely. It requires hard work that a lot of disenchanted Americans won’t do. On the other hand, my Jamaican, African, and Indian friends realize it.”

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Physical attraction is an essential factor in many romantic relationships. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has different preferences. Read here. 

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.