Op-Ed: Saving the American Dream Means Letting it Die

Posted Feb 6, 2013 by Edward Rochelle
As we enter a new age of thinking, it seems as though the ideals of the American Dream are stuck in antiquity. It is these residual industrialist ideals that keep people hanging on to the old world while being left behind by the new.
Sheila Rosamond
If one could write a eulogy for the American Dream, it would certainly be a lengthy one. It would also be a difficult one to write because for every American Dream fulfilled, there were countless others that turned into nightmares. At some point in American modern history this dream became redundant. Today it is only spoken of when looking back into the country's pinnacle or when a rags-to-riches story has been read.
This concept propelled millions of people into austere working conditions, living quarters and dangerous neighborhoods where they were and still are quartered off, away from public sight. The great immigration surge of the late 1800's into the early 1900's provided America with tens of millions working class laborers to build American industrial might while earning only a sliver of the incredible amounts of wealth that were generated.
It is fair to say that the American Dream has existed because of the success stories that are out there but their success was carefully and almost scientifically handled by an elitist banking system. Many of the families that came to the United States during this golden era had little more than enough money to get a taxi in order to get to the other side of New York City. They were almost immediately placed into factory and agricultural jobs. For decades they toiled in the heat of the steel mills and in the bitter cold of the Northeast ship docks. By constantly saving their money, a very small percent were able to apply for a loan and start a business shortly before death.
Many of these businesses have perished throughout the years. They were the shoe repairmen on the corner, the bakery where the bread was made fresh daily and the corner store where the townspeople came to meet one another and buy their goods for the day. This was the manifestation of the American Dream, it was Norman Rockwell's America.
As with all dreams, people in the USA are beginning to realize that none of these things were exactly what they were played out to be. The businesses struggled through countless wars, riots and economic downturns and eventually sold their right to exist to the likes of Wal-Mart and other mega-corporations. The owners who were successful or "sold out" dedicated their lives in the pursuit of profit and didn't instill the principles of saving money and hard work into their own children. As the generations progressed, many of the ideals that were brought from around the world were shunned as old thinking and the new era began to take hold.
Today the country is now searching for it's new identity. The American Dream is often conjured in political speeches also by banks and businesses to keep people in line to attain more debt, to justify wars and criminality within the halls of government but more importantly to control people in the workforce. It is as if the American policy makers have created a metaphorical Heaven for those who will sacrifice their lives to strive for it.
The world is changing and it is America's duty and responsibility to change with it. If the American Dream is true and those who believe in it strive to fulfill it, then the attention of this country should be focused on the future instead of pining for the past, which a great majority of the population never lived through. It is time for the American Dream to die and to be replaced with an American reality that will provide a better future for it's citizens through education and sustained growth of culture, education, ecosystem and political theory.
The savior of the American image, and for those who will still chase the dream, will be the day when this land will produce once more, will once more promote good and decent international relations and lastly when the people once more have control over their democratic apparatus, all tenets of the American Dream . Until then many will stay asleep and dream of the American Dream. Those awakened will continue to find themselves living in the realism of what these dreams really are.