The Declaration Of Independence guarantees us "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Our ancestors immigrated to this country for the betterment of themselves and of the future of their families. America is home to ambition, hope, and determination. Anything is possible in this wonderful land. However, do our core values still hold true to this day? Can we still call ourselves the land of the free? Does the American Dream still exist?
I have grown up in a wealthy, predominantly white suburb in Ohio. My great great grandfather immigrated from Germany in the 19th century and organized unions to establish workers rights. I am so grateful to be able to say that my family's history stems back to a courageous, hardworking man who wanted the best for everyone. He set my family up to be wealthy for generations to come, and I would never have lived half the life I have without him.
I recognize that some are not as fortunate as I am. I know that I am as privileged as just about anyone on this planet, and I have never faced an ounce of adversity. I do my best to be sympathetic of others and help the less fortunate. Many grow up with rough home lives, low incomes, and violent neighborhoods. I was fortunate to have a loving family and to be accepted everywhere. People have to work harder than I will ever have to in my life just due to my ancestor's perseverance. Obviously I cannot do anything to control my background, and all I can do is work with what I've got, and so does everyone else.
We all are bound by the shackles of our past, and there is no avoiding it. The American dream may be unobtainable for some people solely because of their family's history. It is our duty as Americans to be understanding of others' situations, and to not be entitled, ungrateful, or lazy. The wonderful thing about this country is that everyone is given an opportunity to better their life. Unfortunately, hard work cannot change our past, but it can shape our futures. No matter the cards we are dealt, we all must persevere to make the best of what we have got. We will never be free from our past, but our futures are ours to write.