Letter: Finding real models of the American dream

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  • EmmanuelGoldstein1984 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2019 7:00 p.m.

    I agree with the writer's general point. But when he seems to conflate "success" with "making millions of dollars," I strongly disagree. There are many different ways of being successful, even of achieving the so-called "American dream," without making huge amounts of money.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 12, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    This letter, along with the idea in most people's heads about the American Dream, is inaccurate. According to the dictionary, the American Dream is "an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and esp. material prosperity." In other words, one individual cannot achieve the American Dream. It is a social ideal. And one person making a ton of money does not have anything to do with egalitarianism.

    If we were really serious about the American Dream, the real one, we would be working to make everyone prosperous and more or less equal. Our current corporate capitalist system that funnels almost all wealth to the top and treats most Americans as commodities and human resources is not equipped to achieve the American Dream for our society. Only Elizabeth Warren, among all presidential hopefuls, seems to understand this.

    If we want to achieve the American Dream, we need to better control the initial distribution of wealth in America, primarily by giving more ownership of businesses to the people who actually make and sell the products and create the profits. Ownership of capital is the key, and not enough Americans own any.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 11, 2019 6:27 p.m.

    I appreciate the main thesis of the letter. But both LeBron James and Stephen Smith represent exceptional success beyond what most will achieve.

    The American Dream is not being a millionare.

    The American Dream is not being held back because of birth, a man might rise above the station held by his parents and grandparents. That dream is fully alive.

    A friend at college was the child of Vietnamese refugees who arrived in this nation penniless, barely clothes on their backs. They worked to put their child through a good engineering school. She fully intended that her children would have the chance to go to medical school if they wanted to.

    Even college is not necessary for the American Dream. A child of impoverished parents achieves the dream by getting some training and having a steady blue collar job. His children might rise to own their own small business.

    More important that money, a child from a broken home might make his marriage work and provide stability to his children. The child of an addict might eschew drugs, alcohol, and porn.

    Success is not measured against other families, but against how well one does compared to where he started. The chance to rise is here.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 11, 2019 6:21 p.m.

    @one old man:

    What would do? We've had 7 different amenesties since 1986, the last 2 in 2000, when your friend was about 20. Since then, he has had the option to apply for legal status via usual methods. At some point, we have to admit that good people sometimes make bad decisions, some worse than others.

    In addition to being in the nation illegally for 20 years as an adult, your friend has worked illegally. How? Has he stolen someone else's SSN? Or has he evaded taxes working under the table?

    I have a friend who, a good and decent person, who spent 6 months living apart from her spouse while he received proper authorization to move to and live in the nation. Another good friend--a hard working legal visitor from Latin America--struggles to support himself because he chooses to obey the law and not seek employment outside the school he is attending. You would reward law-breaking.

    For years, I was nervous because I figured life was better if I drove faster than the posted speed limit. As I aged, I decided to obey the speed limit & my stress levels went down.

    You would impose more penalties on me for speeding--or owning a gun you don't like--than you would on illegal aliens.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    April 11, 2019 9:06 a.m.

    One of the most successful people I know is a man whose parents brought him to America from Mexico nearly 40 years ago when he was only a year old. Now he is a project foreman for large paving company. He's not wealthy, but he leads a wonderful family with four fine children who are all excellent students. One of his daughters was a finalist in her school's Sterling Scholar program last year. The entire family are active in their church where he is a lay minister. They volunteer in a number of organizations and work hard to make our community better.

    Yet he lives in fear because he is not "really" an American citizen.

    And that, right there is one of the greatest tragedies in our nation.

    Even worse is the ugly hate and fear-mongering heaped upon him by trump.

    Still worse is the fact that there are some of us who actually support this cruelty.

    It's enough to make sensible person want to scream in rage.