26 November 2009

Thanksgiving and the American Dream

Americans often celebrate Thanksgiving by reuniting with their families, to break bread and share in the good fortune that we enjoy. While some see this holiday as an example of excessive eating, TV watching and shopping, I see it as a useful reminder of the bounty that we enjoy in life -- a bounty of food and freedom, friendship and family.

And so I am thankful.

It also reminds me of the American Dream, a concept that means many things to many people. To some, it means home ownership; to others, it means improving on the success of your parents.

To me, it means being free to do what you want.

Although our access to the American Dream has weakened in these past years (erosion of our civil liberties, our environment, and our governance), we are still doing pretty well, and we are struggling to restore this American Dream to its traditional place:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness
Bottom Line: My dream is going well, and I am working hard to extend it to others. And I am thankful that I can pursue this goal.

3 comments:

  1. The American Dream is the very manifestation of subjectivity. 'Tis in the eyes of the beholder. A great exercise would be to make a list of the different sorts of Americans and speculate about the diversity of American Dreams.

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  2. David, I'm thankful that you are committed to exploring and sharing ideas, and in that pursuit you provide an educational and interesting experience for many of us.

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  3. @Jay (and everyone) -- yes, it's lovely to have such a good group of thinkers (and doers!) here. I'm thankful for that :)

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