Has the American Dream truly been lost according to President Obama?Has the American Dream truly been lost according to President Obama?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think that President Obama would suggest that the American dream has been lost.  Based on his actions in office and the platform upon which he ran, I think he would suggest quite the opposite in suggesting the potent life force that resides in the pursuit of the American Dream.  I would argue that President Obama is suggesting that individuals might have to recalibrate their notions of "the American Dream" to be more aligned with the current state of national economic affairs.  For example, home ownership is an indispensable part of the American Dream.  In this pursuit, individuals engaged in offering and accepting mortgages that were not reflective of earning power, causing incredible disruption in the housing market and destruction of individual credit.  A modification the President is suggesting is that fiscal responsibility on the part of homeowners and responsible lending practices on the part of institutions must be followed in accordance with the dream of owning and supporting the owning of homes.  Another example of the modification of the American Dream can be seen in the recent health care debates.  The President is suggesting that the paradigm of how health care is viewed must be altered so that it can encompass both those who currently are satisfied with their health care and those who wish to possess it.  At some level, individuals must be able to broaden their conception of health care in the hopes of making it a reality.  Underscoring all of this is the President's insistence to revive the idea of public service within the American Dream.  Hearkening back to the time in American discourse when public service was, in ofitself, a component of the American Dream and vision is an element that the President has stressed in both words and actions, with speeches and specific legislation.  Within a fundamental level, it seems that President Obama is striving to create a conception of  government can help with individuals and their pursuit of the American Dream.  Despite much in the way of inertia, President Obama is trying to articulate an American Dream where individuals possess autonomy and freedom that reflects the soaring heights of the eagle, but also a vision where government can assist in this process.

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think so.  But I don't believe that the American dream is home ownership or anything that has to do with "things" --- although it is clear that part of the dream is to have a place to live.  It doesn't have to be a home you own --- it can be an apartment, a motor home, whatever that shelters you from the elements.

The American Dream is freedom to be/do the best you can in life without (or with a minimum of) governmental interference. The Founding Fathers were adamant that we would not have a king, that we would not be under the thumb of our government --- that we would, within reason, be free.

This questions clearly revolves around a discussion of what you think the role of government is.  It's originally limited role has expanded exponentially --- is this what we want?  Is this good for us?

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

President Obama would be the last person to suggest that the American Dream is dead. He is a living example of its reality and vitality. He ran on the campaign theme of "Yes, We Can" and has always insisted that when the American people work together, there is little we can't accomplish. History supports this view. In times of greatest distress, the country put aside special interests and worked together for mutual good, not to mention survival. The role of government, in his view, is to enable people to achieve their individual dreams as we continue to perfect the Union.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Obama would be the last person to suggest that the American Dream is dead, but he does say it is threatened. This is because the American Dream rests mostly with the middle class. The middle class is shrinking due to our economic problems, especially the housing crisis. The American Dream in America relies on home ownership.
alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American dream has not been lost, since there are still many people from all around the world coming to this great country and looking for some kind of opportunity. We are still a land of opportunity, where if you excel in your education you can become something great, Obama is a great example of that alone.

slhawkins1 | Student

I am pleased with the varying viewpoints of the "American Dream".  As Americans and citizens of countries around the world in the 21st century, the dream is still alive and well.  I think what needs to be considered is opportunity and preparedness.  As an educator, we must teach for an uncertain future.  So, the idea of opprtunity and freedom, must be examined in context.

Are we still going to maintain employment and home ownership are foundations to our dream...or are we going to look more broadly to encompass the ideas of education, life-long learning opportunities and preparedness in providing for the future.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I am not an Amecan Citizen, so perhaps I cannot have an American Dream. But does this need to be any Different from my Indian Dream. In any case, it appears to me that people who have expressed their views in posts above may all have different dreams. I undertand there is a formal "American Dream" - the one dreamt by James Truslow Adams in 1931. It is the:

... dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.

I believe America has made a lot of progress in achieving this dream, bul like all dreams, the demand of this dream also keeps on getting stretched as it gets fulfilled. So it a dream can neither be fully achieved nor be fully lost.

kuro | Student