The American Dream has two definitions. The first is the one you hear most often, it is that surface level idea of a big house with a picket fence, two kids, and a dog. The base — an assumption of what it means to be happy.
This American Dream is a very white fantasy. You live on your separate plot of land in your suburban neighborhood, kept away from the hubbub of the city, and the everyday buzz of a community.
But does everyone really want that? Is the American Dream something that I and many of my peers have never considered wanting?
Of course not, the American dream is equality.
In the US, equality was supposedly a founding principle. If it was, it is hard to see how we are advancing towards that goal at the moment.
Equality isn’t advancing
I was going to say that equality has fled, but equality never arrived in the US — and maybe every other country too. How can something flee from a place that it has never been?
Official equality has been halted recently. In the US, it feels like we’re regressing. Hate crimes are on the rise and the legislation that keeps finding its way past security and into the country seems to be assembling itself into an ever-growing wall between the States and total realization of civil rights.
From banning immigrants based on their religion — a decision based on prejudice — to the transgender military ban — a decision based on facts that didn’t support the argument made in the slightest — we’re all pretty sure that the American Dream — equality, that is, not a picket fence — is a right granted only to a select few.
After all, If we followed the logic, we should deport or imprison all white men — they are the most common school shooters— and refuse people with depression access to medicine, because it might change the chemical makeup of their bodies — it’s all na-too-ral from here.
We would never imprison all white men, they have the ticket to equality.
Where was equality in the first place?
The US was founded by a bunch of white men. White men who had slaves and who were descendants of people who raped and pillaged a land already inhabited and took it for themselves instead of doing the one thing everyone learns in kindergarten — share your damn things.
Maybe in the founding father’s minds, their wives shouldn’t have the same rights as them, and maybe when they wrote, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” they had no one but white men in mind.
Not a slave should be freed, not a woman should be elevated, not an immigrant should be given an ounce of respect until they are complete citizens — even then, just a little spoonful, don’t want them getting greedy.
Maybe the American dream was an invention for the white man — a submissive wife, a big house, free labor, and an heir to carry your name implicit in the words “we hold these truths to be self-evident.”
But the world has changed and whatever the meaning at the time of “All men are created equal,” equality for the immigrant as a human being, for the woman as a human being, for the black person as a human being, for anyone who could possibly be categorized as different than the founding fathers as a human being — all of that is implicit in “equal” now.
In this new world where everyone matters the American dream — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — has been raped of it’s meaning when we demean a woman and treat her as nothing more than her “pussy.” It is crucified when we make laws that fly in the face of the constitutional right to religious freedom. It is beaten into a broken submission when we send children to prison and separate them from their families. It is thrown in a closet when we make laws based on the argument of convenience and what is “natural” to snatch away the rights of an entire community.
Who killed the American Dream?
We’re all party to the murder of the victim. To losing the American of everyone — women, men, black, white, LGBTQ+, heterosexual — in our fight to be the good party.
The American Dream at one point may have been so broken that it was acceptable to say its fulfillment was two kids, a dog, and a picket fence. But in a world that has finally realized that “all” means ALL not this group from this place with this skin color and this natural bent, there are so many more pictures to hang on the wall pictures that are the unique pursuits of people from other cultures, genders, beliefs, and ways of life.
But right now, the US seems to be giving its life to protect the pristine white wall with it’s white American Dream and it’s white followers.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all *men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
*Men — male, female, black, white, immigrant, non-immigrant, LGBTQ+, heterosexual af, child, adult, religious, non-religious… and everyone else. A part of the group on the earth classified as Homo Sapiens.