This has been rolling around my head for a couple of months now. The American Dream. Have we lost sight of it? Do we know what it still looks like? Are WE still fighting for it?
Let’s look at it’s roots, which is found in the Declaration of Independence. It boldly proclaims:
“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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The last line can be hard to understand. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This means that government gets all its power from the people.
I am not interested in the minutia of picking apart every line and arguing about what is, and what is not happening right now. I am thinking in broad strokes.
Are we, as a country, really interested in the American Dream, FOR EVERYBODY? Are we as individuals, really interested in the American Dream, FOR EVERYBODY? Who’s fighting for that?
I believe that all minorities have had less access to the American Dream for a long time. I also believe there is a large group of people in the “fly over states”, mostly white, who are now living with less of the American Dream as well. Our government supposedly gets it’s power from the people. But with campaign finance the way it is, a very select few are “powering” the government. These individuals and corporations are more interested in profits than people, and this has adversely impacted the middle class over the last 20-30 years. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are an outcry from people tired and frustrated with Washington politics in it’s current state.
So what does fighting for the American Dream look like right now? Who are the voices out there screaming in wind?
At this moment, it’s not coming from most of our politicians & public officials. I feel the “voices” that are calling for change are artists & children. Here are 3 examples…
Childish Gambino – This Is America (Be aware, some violent images in this video)
Childish Gambino is Donald Glover. The actor who stars in and created Atlanta, hilarious in Community, a writer on 30 Rock, and plays Lando Calrissian in the new Solo movie coming out next week.
He has said only one thing about this video. When asked “Whats the message behind this video?” he responded, “that’s not for me to say.”
There have now been thousands of articles and videos done on the symbolism in this video, here’s one example you can dig into from Relevant Magazine. Click here.
This is an AMAZING piece of art, that is perfectly made to create and provoke conversation. It’s made to make you feel uncomfortable and question. It’s made to make you stop and think, to look within yourself.
To be honest I felt the EXACT same way when I first saw Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee back in 1989. I was aware of racism back then, but that movie opened my eyes to the many layers, issues and struggles that existed in the African American community. This video is doing that for a whole new generation…
The Parkland 5
Shooting after shooting, and it felt like nothing was ever going to change. I, ashamed to say, had said time and time again that if twenty 6-7 year olds being shot at Sandy Hook couldn’t change the problem, nothing could. These kids said “No More” and changed the national conversation. What an unbelievable group of kids!
They have a long road ahead of them to make permanent and lasting change, and they are very aware that it won’t happen over night. I will continue to support these kids, these kids who are willing to put themselves out there like this…
I walked with my kids at “March For Our Lives” in Austin. It was emotional. It was breathtaking to see teenagers standing up and believing that they CAN change the world for the better. I truly believe our future is in good hands.
And remember that the Youth of this country have been the difference in times like this before… Read about the Birmingham Children’s March here.
U2 – The eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour 2018
I was lucky enough to be at the tour’s opening night in Tulsa OK. This is when the idea for this blog REALLY hit me.
These are 4 guys from Ireland not fighting for America, but fighting for the American Dream! Something they believe in, and hold very dear.
“Sing with us, Tulsa,” Bono said. “A beating heart of America beating loudly today tonight with a strength that the rest of the world may not understand, but we get it. Irish people understand that division is so much easier than unity and that compromise is so much harder than closing your eyes, so sing with us Irish boys. I’ve been told the American dream is the one you can’t have when you’re sleeping, so tonight we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open. … The American dream is still alive here tonight in Tulsa.”
The show addressed women’s rights, Charlottesville, Parkland, racism, struggle with sin, poverty and AIDS. Some of them were subtle, some of them were “in your face”.
With the American flag as their background we ALL SANG TOGETHER…
Put your hands in the air, Hold on the sky
Could be too late, but we still gotta try
There’s a moment in our life where a soul can die
And the person in a country when you believe the lie
The lie (the lie, the lie)
There’s a promise in the heart of every good dream
It’s a call to action, not to fantasy
The end of a dream, the start of what’s real
Let it be unity, let it be community
For refugees like you and me
A country to receive us
Will you be our sanctuary
What can you do, big or small for The American Dream?
Is it showing kindness to others not like you?
Is it getting involved in your local elections?
Is it volunteering, showing love to those less fortunate?
Is it listening to opposing views and trying to understand instead of trying to argue?
Is it being open to the world changing around us?
Is it making sure our children are exposed to the whole world, not just “our world”?
Is it as simple as “being there” for your fellow man?
I always come back to this, it covers everything, in my opinion…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
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