Social Class and American Dream Essay

Submitted By Slow-Person
Words: 969
Pages: 4

“The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, had the right values, took some risks, that there was an opportunity to build a better life for your family and for your next generation,” was Mitt Romney’s reply, when asked to define the American Dream (Sullivan 2). For the majority of Americans, “the American Dream,” represents buying a home, raising a family, providing their children with an education, and financial security. In an equal opportunity country, every man and woman would have the opportunity of achievement. The American public is constantly overwhelmed with lies and manipulation of everyday reality. Schools, government officials, and the media dispense the message of the American ethos. Popular cultural belief has strongly influenced the belief of equality, everyone can go to Yale University, just try your best. Social class and media influence make it impossible to achieve equality and undermine the notion of the “American Dream".
Dominant cultural beliefs are to blame for the average American’s financial debts. The American way of thinking has for a long time been, that you work hard and struggle along the way, but sooner or later you are rewarded. Stories such as, “From Ragged Dick” by Horatio Alger, are to blame for this way of thinking. The character in the story has no money and nowhere to live; he only possesses the belief that somehow everything will resolve itself. Then as if by some divine power, an opportunity presented itself, and he had no worries and was better off than before. In today’s culture, many still believe that by some miracle problems will resolve themselves. Society cannot face reality sometimes; they at times spend more money than what they make. When the recession struck, “we couldn’t keep up with our debts, two car payments, and the mortgage. We continued going out and shopping it made us feel better even after we lost our jobs” was the couples only defense (Fallow 2). “The American Dream,” is in fact the center of the problem for most Americans.
America is still land of opportunity, just not for everyone. The idea of the American Dream tends to be conflated with the idea of equal opportunity for success. In a group study, a group of, “men and women were asked to draw a picture of the American Dream,” not surprisingly the majority illustrated, “two adults, some kids, and a dog in the front of a house with a fence” (Sullivan 4). Purchasing a home, marriage, providing for your children and the dog included, acquiring those belongings would provide the majority of Americans with a sense of security. I once worked as a plumber’s helper making only $7 an hour. After having worked there a year, in which time I learned the trade, I placed on commission and was making $1000 to $1800 a week. At the time, it was my “American Dream”, but when the recession came sometimes I was only making $40 a week. That experience made me realize that equal opportunity was not necessarily true, because I was working in Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades and as far as I could tell everyone in that area was boing fantastic.
The American Dream is most often associated with upward mobility, but never mentions the downward spiral (bankruptcy). Equal opportunity for t successes a lie, because many truth is that many middle class “white collar” jobs have moved to China and India, where employees are more cost effective than in the U.S. It has been reported that, “more than a quarter of the labor force now finds themselves in a low-wage, often dead-end jobs” (Ruiz 2). This makes a number of about 34 million workers with no chances of rising up in their social mobility, but that does not matter, you just have to have the desire to succeed, and the opportunity will present