The New American Dream is still the same American Dream that your parents and their parents and their grandparents strode after; it just looks a little different to you and me. Our generation wants the same things our forefathers wanted—happiness, job security and growth, and the ability to work hard and get what you want and deserve in this country. However, our details look different, as they have for every single generation before us.
Our generation is less interested in a picket fence and more interested in a two story townhouse. We are less interested in a nine-to-five desk job and more interested in field work, hands on experiences, and traveling. We want to work hard and get what we deserve, but what we want is far less focused on a family and a dog, and more focused on an experience—traveling through Europe, volunteering in Haiti, surfing in Thailand. True, there are people who want the traditional life. But as a whole, our generation is flipping the script and bringing about change that this country badly needs.
America doesn’t need to be made “great again”; that would be pushing us back into our past. The stark reality is that America is already great, and is headed on a path to even further greatness. Our activism, our realization of the world around us, and our connectedness makes us the greatest America that this country has seen since its birth. We are aware. We are cognizant of what is happening around us, if only slightly, and there is no way for us to turn away from it.
Soon, we will be the generation in power, and it is up to us to keep America on the path to greatness. We cannot make America great again, and we cannot keep America great. Being static or going back in time is the last thing we need as a country, so when it is our time to fix what was made wrong before us without our consent, we need to move forward.
We were given so many tools to keep our country in shape, and to keep our politicians accountable. We were given these tools by men who never imagined that our country would look the way it does today. The men who created this country never dreamed that it would be run by a black president, or that it would have had a female Secretary of State, or that it would have the power that it holds in the world today. They did, however, believe in the people of this country and they believed in keeping this country for the people. They believed that the politician should work for the people, not for themselves, and in so many ways this is true.
The point of democracy is giving the people power. The word itself comes from the Greek words “demos”, meaning citizen, and “kratos”, meaning power. Right now, this country doesn’t do the best job of giving the people power, but I have so much faith that as we progress, especially with the advances we have today, we will be able to give the people more and more power, and we will be the perfect democracy that the founding fathers couldn’t even dream of making.
How do we do this, though? How do we push this country further in the direction of greatness that it is already in? We are in such tough times, and we are so tempted to give up. After graduating from college, it’s hard to find a job. At your most motivated, it is the hardest to keep the motivation.
We cannot give up though. We have to demand the power and representation we deserve. We have to make this country look the way we want it to look. It does nothing to just sit around and complain about the way we look today; the real action is in doing something about it. Working for ourselves, creating social change in our communities, and voting will change more than anyone will ever realize. I If we never change the factors that are within our reach, our neighborhoods and communities will remain flawed. We cannot expect a system to work for us if we refuse to show it what we need.
Go out and vote. Not just for president; vote for your state representative. Vote for your local judge. Meet the candidates, ask them questions. How are they planning on helping people like you, like your little cousin and your little brother? Are they focused on the now, or do they have one eye on the future? Do they want what you want?
If you never speak up, you will never be heard.
We cannot expect the American dream to come to us, we have to go to it. We have to reach out and take control of this country, because before long it will be all ours. Before long, we will be the ones who are listening to the young generation begging for social change, and we will have to listen.
The American Dream is within reach. We want it, we beg for it, we yearn for it, we dream about it every night. We write papers and draw about it in elementary school.
It’s finally our time; are you ready to take what’s yours?