Is the American Dream Dead?

Is the American Dream dead?

That question floated into my consciousness recently, unlocked from a memory seven years old. My eleventh grade English class included a big project on the American Dream, and this was one of the questions our brains were tasked with answering.

Many people said it was dead. At the time, I did not. I reasoned that there are still people out there, looking for more, for better. The American Dream is not simply the acquisition of money. It’s a drive to become the best one can be. It’s a drive to achieve the most one can achieve. It’s a desire for a better life.

When that question floated into my mind recently, I thought more about it. What if I was wrong? Is the American Dream dead?

No. To this day, it persists.

The American Dream will last longer than my more pessimistic eleventh-grade colleagues can imagine. Is it harder to attain in the modern age? Probably. Does it look different than it did a hundred years ago? Almost certainly. But it persists deep in the souls of us all.

What person would not willingly exchange a lifetime of scrubbing tile floors for a nice retirement in a comfortable lifestyle? Who among us would not completely uproot their lives to something nicer if they won the lottery? Why would someone not sell their two-hundred year old Honda Civic when they have the ability to get a much nicer, maybe even more luxurious, form of transportation? What addict would not willingly give up his vice, if he could do it on his own? What parent would not pour all their resources into their children, in hopes of them living a better life than they did? What person, if opportunity presented itself to achieve one’s goals, would not immediately jump at the chance?

Wait a minute…

Truth be told, a lot of people would not do these things. Maybe you are one of them. Maybe I am too. Sure, everyone wants a better life. Everyone wants more.

The American Dream is not dead.

But maybe… drive is dead.

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