Source: The Economist
Grossmont Middle College High School

Commentary: Is the American dream becoming a nightmare?

The American dream still has the potential to exist, but the remaining gap between high and low socioeconomic classes continues to deteriorate the dream of equal opportunity.

To me, the American dream is the idea that no matter what situation a person is born in they are able to complete their education and find a comfortable life in a society with equality. I had always associated the dream entirely with economics, but with more thought I realize that achieving the dream also involves family and being happy with those you love. People try to achieve the dream by only gaining wealth and the lack of love in their life is reflected in their lack of happiness.

I find meaning and a reassurance behind the American dream because I am becoming educated and I believe I will find a stable life in America. However, it would be naive not to attribute this hopeful future to the secure family I grew up in.

If I had grown up in a low-income household, many of the opportunities that have allowed me to grow would have ceased to exist. With enough hard work people can achieve anything, but from the moment a child is born into an impoverished home they lose their chance at equal opportunity. That is the very essence of the dream dying. Our society is also intertwined with social inequality, including gender gaps and struggles minorities are forced to face.

In many ways the dream has already evolved to fit in today’s world. While people used to strive for a “picket fence” lifestyle, now a more urban lifestyle has grown desirable for many. Individualism has become a common priority which has caused the idea of marriage to be placed behind getting and education and a successful career.

Source: Marianna Massey/Getty Images

The American dream is now a dream that can be pursued in other developed countries, and although anywhere with the opportunity behind the dream is worth recognizing, it can no longer be America’s reason for being great. This is especially true if the dream is unattainable in America.

Too often people fall into a dangerous trap of glorifying the American dream with endless faith. We need to recognize the shortcomings in America and the dream to begin reformation and make the dream a realistic one that can grow with time.