Have We Lost the American Dream?

Photo: from a painting by Spring Bright

Photo: from a painting by Spring Bright

Why do people think the American dream is to work hard and get ahead? Most people do not dream of hard work, they dream of an easier life and many other things like laughter, love, freedom, travel, sports and freedom from pain or hunger.

They dream of being free from worrying about having to take care of others, freedom from sickness, freedom from harassment by governments or religions or neighbors or family members.

Business, government and religions have imposed so many strictures on people’s lives that many of us do not have time to dream of anything at all.

Children dream of being part of a play group, eating good things, owning things, pleasures and amusements and of the right and ability to rest and to sleep comfortably. They do not dream of hard work, but of accomplishment and the rewards, including self-esteem, that come from accomplishment, but if they are able to accomplish things easily, that’s fine.

I dream of never having to fill out forms like insurance policy questionnaires and income taxes and anything else that disturbs my thoughts or the work I choose to do.

I dream of having enough energy to take care of the people and things I am ­— or feel I am — responsible for and still having enough time and creative energy to do what I love doing. Which is painting and writing and viewing this gorgeous world in which we live in all its lights and colors and seasons.

I think the true American dream is freedom from interference, and is expressed not only in wanting to be kings and queens of our own “castles” but of our space within the culture.

Americans want the freedom that the American Indians actually had when the colonists came here. Religion was not imposed on them. No one told them when to eat or hunt or pray or dance.

Obama is trying to do his job. Your American dream was lost for average Americans under Bush.


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