Originally published 6.26.11
Last week, I had the opportunity to watch the launching of the Rebuild The Dream Movement led by Van Jones and MoveOn.org. As some of you may know, Van Jones is a global human rights and clean-energy economy activist who served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama Administration in 2009.
Why is this movement necessary? According to a statement by organizers on the official website:
â€œWe grew up hearing about the American Dream. Itâ€™s the dream of a country where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can live with dignity, provide for your family, and give your kids a better life. A country where we strive for greatnessâ€“and take care of each other when times get hard.
Right now the American Dream is under siege. Tens of millions of willing workers canâ€™t find jobs. Millions of homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure and millions more are underwater. Instead of investing in our shared future, politicians are giving tax breaks to the rich and then slashing vital services families depend on. Rather than expanding protections for the middle class during these difficult economic times, theyâ€™re trying to gut workersâ€™ rights.â€
They also say this movement is:
â€œGrowing stronger by the day, and itâ€™s not going away until Americans can find jobs, afford to go to college, retire with dignity, and secure a future for their children and their communities.â€
During Van Jonesâ€™ keynote address he said â€œOur message is very simple. Weâ€™re being lied to.â€ Then he laid out several lies they believe are being fed to the American people.
Lie #1: America is broke.
Lie#2: Asking the super-rich to pay taxes hurts Americaâ€™s economy.
Lie#3: Hating on Americaâ€™s government â€“ and wrecking Americaâ€™s infrastructure â€“ is patriotic.
Do you agree with him?
I remember my first grade teacher, at Fonwood Elementary, would tell us that the American Dream consisted of growing up, getting a good education, securing a good paying job, being married with children, having a house with the white picket fence and retiring to let the government take care of you.
Today, it seems like attaining those things has become a nightmare like the video â€œThrillerâ€ by the late Michael Jackson. However, this is not a movie; it is becoming a real life horror. Will it get better or worse?
Sure, many people will say weâ€™re better off here than other nations, but life in this country has become so gloomy for many with the present economy, unemployment and displeasure with government. Poverty, hunger and homelessness still plague this nation like some Third World countries, while we continue to spend billions on wars. What are people to do when corporations were bailed out financially yet wonâ€™t hire people?
What is your concept of the American Dream? Are you living that American Dream and is it still possible for everyone to attain it–including the poor?
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is one of the most famous phrases in the Declaration of Independence. How long was that pursuit supposed to last?