The phrase “The American Dream” is rooted in the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence and propagates that “each person’s desire to pursue happiness was not just self-indulgence, but a part of what drives ambition and creativity.” Defined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, the idea is a fundamental component of our democracy, our inalienable rights, freedom and collective liberty. Adams stated, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” He went on to say, “… 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.”
Such high, revolutionary acclamations prevailed from the very beginning of our Country and found universal appeal among people from all around the world, motivating tens of millions to brave uncertainty and death in order to immigrate to this new promising world. With each new generation the promise was expanded to include many who had previously been excluded, either by race, creed or religion and the definition redefined to include an ever expanding number of social and individualized personal issues. Throughout our history, the Dream implied an opportunity for Americans to achieve prosperity and realize their dreams through hard work, personal sacrifice and service to the defense of the Nation and to others of us less capable. Today, the Dream is often expressed as an entitlement, paid for by the energies of some, confiscated in part by government, and decreed to others.
For decades, American elections and our politicians have divided the populace by race, national origin and economic position in an effort to acquire and maintain power. Such infractions created divisions in our Nation’s community, separated by wide breaches of commonality on issues both social and economic. The current political campaign brought unprecedented hostilities to the forefront from both camps. The harsh rhetoric and broad disparity of positions has left scars on our people and has served to tarnish the image and the very promise of the American Dream. For many, the dream seems destined to be an ethos past, for others thought to be out of reach.
It is time for this period of great turmoil and division to end. We are one in democracy, served by multiple opinions but united in a single purpose of providing to all of us the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For those of us who live and have lived their dreams, we must temper our appreciation with the realization that for many others the opportunity remains just a vision or a hope. Let us rededicate ourselves to building our companies on creating tangible products and services that celebrate the skills, talents and work ethic of our people and less on elevating our fortunes by crunching the numbers based on rationing and exclusion of our Country’s most capable and valuable resource.
“As a child, I can remember much discussion about the American Dream as we learned about the history of our great Nation. I grew up in Gettysburg, PA, where soldiers fought a pivotal battle in the Civil War to secure the freedom of slaves. I was raised to believe that I had the power to create that which I could dream of and work hard to attain,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative. “I still believe in the same notion. The path has never been easy or without challenge. I recommit myself each day to forging ahead with the next goal in mind. I encourage you to put down the smart phones and smart devices. Turn down the rhetoric and take a break from social media. Let’s be quiet more often, listen more often, be passionate, yet be compassionate. Let’s focus on contributing to the idea that the “The American Dream” remains a defining element of our great society for all, now and in all of our futures.”
We’d love to hear about your American Dream!