Today, we acknowledge and celebrate the inextricable link between the Declaration of Independence and the American Dream. After all, the Declaration is the parent of our Dreams.
Protected by the principles of the Declaration, the American Dream is an attitude a person is born with whether or not they are born in
-- which is one reason why immigration is so important to America 's
growth and prosperity. It's about an attitude and it's about navigable pathways
to achievement. These pathways are not guarantees but they are legally and
culturally encouraged and protected here. We don’t want to convey the dreamy
idea that because we dream, we are perfect, or that everything is always hunky
dory in Dreamland. It's tough out there. It's tough everywhere. But we are free
and that makes all the difference. America
The Dream is too often represented inaccurately and self interestedly by commentators, candidates, advertisers and economists. Surprising to some, the American Dream is not primarily about material acquisition or wealth accumulation. It is more than anything an attitude about possibility and improvement. This can only be fostered in an atmosphere dedicated to freedom enduringly put into play by the Declaration. "Freedom" consistently tops the list of Dream definitions in the American mind. In that context, the economy certainly plays a part, but it is not the star of the show.
We must remind ourselves that the term "American Dream" was coined in the midst of the Great Depression, not in a time of great prosperity. The Dream is personal and is sustained by the oxygen of freedom. Americans fully understand that freedom is the basic requirement for whatever our Dreams may be, and it's not reliant on the current state of the economy.
The Dream is not about a job. A job is an American assumption despite the current discouraging employment state of affairs. Americans don't spend their Dream time imagining a job but rather what a job enables. We can worry about jobs, but we don't Dream about them.
The American Dream is one of the few unifying ideas in our republic and the point of the Dream is that ultimately personal outcomes can be influenced or determined by individuals. Believing this is the Dream.
American Dreamers seem well suited to tough times and tough news. Without this toughness, the Dream would have withered away long ago. Without this toughness, there never would have been a Declaration of Independence in the first place.