Unkept promises diminish day by day. What once may have given people ambition and zeal has transformed into a superficial and consumerist ideal. In the nation’s youth, the American Dream was a promise to the people which has failed to impart its values to future generations. This promise traces back to the foundation that “all men are created equal” and Dictionary.com’s first definition defines the American Dream as “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.” This is closest to the originally intended meaning of the American Dream which perhaps only a minority of the population still recognizes. Politics and economy have contributed to the significant change in meaning and threaten to even further devalue it.
In the beginning, everyone had to put in effort to achieve their goals. This has not changed. However, these goals became more materialistic as people began to expect certain things to be entitled to them simply because of their designation as U.S. citizens. The original definition is inclusive to a wide audience, Americans, but general enough to allow broad interpretation. To each person this dream was meant to be personalized, but over time tangible derivatives of “freedom, equality, and opportunity” triumphed over the individual’s effort to reach goals within these ideas. At one point, a specific dream could have been the chance to provide for a family through pure and honest work, something unimaginable to some people no matter how much effort they put in. Today, many dream of being the latest contestant on “Deal or No Deal”, an even easier “get-rich-quick scheme” than “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”. Instead of quality and diligence, more and more Americans are valuing status, quantity, and indolence.
The question is, how did this honest and pure definition evolve into a sense of materialistic entitlement and wants? Immigrants into the the states were given the same promise of the American Dream as the citizens already there. This dream was meant to release them from a previous suppression and give them the opportunity to better their life. They had the right to work towards this better life with fairness and without discrimination. Once a group had taken full advantage of the dream and substantially improved their own quality of life, they were able to destroy this opportunity for others. The dream that was once “held to be available to every American” became difficult to achieve. The problem was that individuals were looking out for only themselves and forgetting to take into account the welfare of their nation and fellow citizens.
The American Dream as it is defined cannot simply hold true without preservation of it’s ideals. An ideal is maintained by the people. Enjoying the benefits the American Dream promises requires each person to uphold its ideals among his fellows. If this were the case, the original definition might have been preserved. The problem is that...