Tags: American dream | jobs | America | work

America Must Believe in Itself Again

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 08:33 AM

While many people around the world are counting America out, I'm not one of them. My message to America is it's time to re-establish ourselves as a global powerhouse of trade and industry. That includes the creation of millions of good-paying jobs, a sound energy policy, access to capital for small business and, most of all, embracing one powerful tenet: America must believe in itself again.

The truth is that America has lost heart. For too many years, things have gotten worse, not better. The pursuit of the American dream, once the goal of every American, seems almost impossible to pursue anymore.

A 2014 American Values Survey of 4,500 Americans, found that nearly half of Americans who once believed in the American dream (defined as the belief that if you work hard, you'll get ahead) think it no longer exists. Similarly, close to half of all Americans older than 18 think their generation is better off financially than their children will be.

When did our nation first aspire to the American dream? It seems counterintuitive, but the roots of the American dream rest with the historian James Truslow Adams, who coined the phrase "American dream" during the depths of the Great Depression.

In 1931 he wrote:

"[It] is a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. . . . 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."

And the reality is that while the American dream is alive and well, fewer people are in a position to pursue it.

We seem to be talking about everything these days except getting our people back to work. It is as if we have given up. We have no ideas. We have no solutions. More and more of our citizens are destined to live in poverty and we can do nothing about it. We are complacent. We are accepting. We are moving farther and farther away from the American dream.

To quote that famous American philosopher Bruce Springsteen: "I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream."

We need to remember the generations before us that shared in the promise of America. Standing alone, standing brave and secure in the knowledge that this country rewards those who work hard and are willing to take the chance to succeed.

But the American dream is being undermined.

One of the major forces eroding the American dream is that the concept of the "dream" is being redefined. Now the vision for millions of Americans is an American dream built on the promise of entitlements. Entitlements were originally meant to be a brief stop-over to a better life. Now they are considered as career destinations. Fast food jobs that were meant for our students to earn some extra cash while gaining some work experience are now being looked upon to raise a family.

And now we come to what many call: "the lost generation."

Thousands of college graduates are getting expensive educations but finding no jobs. More than half are moving back home — loaded with student debt and no opportunities. Meanwhile, we ignore vocational training, which is much less costly and time consuming but in truth prepares our people for good-paying manufacturing jobs.

We have spent too long under an administration that is out of answers. The White House sugarcoats the most pressing challenges we face. And when the sugar rush wears off, millions of Americans are back where they started from — void of hope.

We need to galvanize America again. We can't look to Washington for answers. We need to take some risks, do some innovative thinking and stop falling prey to negativity.

America can believe in itself again. It takes resolve and an open mind. And most importantly, new leadership that will ignite our passion to succeed. The American dream is not dead — it's just looking for people to wake up to its promise.

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While many people around the world are counting America out, I'm not one of them. My message to America is it's time to re-establish ourselves as a global powerhouse of trade and industry.
American dream, jobs, America, work
Thursday, 05 March 2015 08:33 AM
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