Dreams & The Gaps Between

Posted by Katarina Montana
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It is time that we come together and talk about our dreams and the gaps between American dreams and American realities.

Every year, the American Dream seems to be harder and harder to fulfill. Still, tons of immigrants come here to better their lives and start a family. We all have different views and perspectives on what the American Dream is and how achievable it is. Some believe it is near impossible to accomplish, while some think that it is right within reach if we just work hard enough to get to it. There’s almost a false hope here in America; that anyone can be anything no matter what here. We must acknowledge the gaps between the dream and the reality.

In the PBS film American Creed, David M. Kennedy, who is an American historian, states, “We need to pay attention to the gap between the promise and the reality and why it is that some of our fellow citizens have not… realized what I will unapologetically call the promise of America.” Many people can work hard and still will never be able to fulfill the dreams that they have set for themselves. A lot of it is destiny and how America is doing at the time. For example, we can’t control a drop in the economy or the fact that someone else better luck than we do. America is a place of equal opportunity, not equal outcome. Not every American is “living the dream,” and many will work until they die and never fully get what they wanted.

Many people think that we can come from nothing and still become something. An American political scientist, Condoleezza Rice, states multiple times in the film that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, it only matters where you’re going.” This perspective is shared among many in the film. However, where you come from is a huge part of where you’re going because it shapes who you are. Letting your experiences mold you will help you know and achieve what you want, but it will also give you different obstacles to overcome along your journey to success.

No matter what we believe, it is always very important to have informed and logical conversations about being American and the “dream” we all aspire to achieve. We also need to acknowledge the gaps that come with the realities. To achieve what we want, we must come together and forget our political, gender, racial, or religious divides. The word “American” is one of the hardest words to define. We all have immensely different backgrounds with all kinds of contrasting views and opinions. Little do we know, that is what makes us so great. It is time that we come together and talk about our dreams and the gaps between American dreams and American realities. 

Published on Aug 9, 2018
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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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