During a presidential speech in 2015, Donald Trump termed the American Dream as dead. In her article “No, the American Dream is Not Dead,” Rachael Currie challenges this remark using a series of surveys. According to a survey by Gallup in January, 2017, a majority of adults reported to be satisfied with their lives but believe that the country is headed for a big fall (Currie, 2017). In support of these findings, the author mentions issues such as the slow growth of per-capita GDP, escalation of crime violence, social pathologies and inequality, and the dwindling trust and cultural cohesion. She, however neutralizes the severity of these problems by providing research evidence that suggests that the majority of Americans are satisfied with their lives. She argues that people would not be happy with their lives if the American Dream was dead.
Basing on research evidence and people’s perceptions of the American dream, I agree with Currie’s argument. Her argument primarily bases on the people’s definition of the American Dream. According to reports by the Pew survey, people define the American Dream in terms of freedom of choice on how to live, good family life, and decent retirement. However, most of the people surveyed contend that wealth is unnecessary provided one has a home. These views were reflected in the Pew research. Only 17%, for instance, of people reported that the American Dream is out of reach (Currie, 2017). To emphasize that the American Dream is alive, Currie mentions how charter schools have improved education in Indianapolis, less privileged students accessing scholarships and other support in Buffalo, and the technological boom in Pittsburgh.
However, basing on the original definition of the American Dream, I disagree with Currie’s reasoning. James Truslow Adams coined the term “the American Dream” in 1931 (Currie, 2017). He explained that,
“It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely,… but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” (Currie, 2017).
Basing on the definition of the American Dream, people have not achieved to the maximum since those who were surveyed were not concerned with being wealthy. “Attaining to the fullest” in this context, I believe, also includes being wealthy. Truslow also mentions that the American Dream is about recognizing people for what they are. America is far from realizing this dream due to the prevalence of discrimination basing on race, gender, ethnicity, social class, political affiliation, and sexual orientation, among others. Therefore, basing on the original meaning of the term “the American Dream”, the American Dream is dead.
Currie uses various research reports to advance her argument that the American Dream is alive. A majority of American citizens are complacent with the state of their personal lives although they strongly oppose the state of the country. Currie argues that people would not be satisfied with their lives if the American Dream was dead. However, basing the original meaning of the American Dream stated above, people have not “attained to their fullest” as portrayed by research in which most people are not concerned with wealth. People are also not recognized for who they are due to various forms of discrimination present today. Therefore, the American Dream is dead.
Currie, R.D. (2017, Oct 9). “No, the American Dream is not Dead.” Acculturated. (Article provided by client)