Since 1931 Americans have had an idea, one so rich and bright, an idea that many Americans would live by. An idea that every man would have equal opportunity to reach and achieve their goals. An idea of the American dream.
But this dream has become out of reach for many. The chances of your average 25-year-old having the same life as one of a baby-boomer is so slim that it’s ridiculous. With the expenses of living and the overwhelming pay gaps, the American dream is becoming invalid, and it’s time to push for a change.
Throughout many years since the 1930s the American dream has changed, but not in the way it should have. The American dream has become less about opportunity and more about finance. How can your average millennial live the American dream when, according to attndotcom, an instagram page that uses entertaining tv shows to inform people of real-world problems, their net worth is –$23,704? Even if you put that problematic statistic aside, our modern-day America has more problems than opportunities. For example, in the recent years we have been fighting against many problems including gender equality, LGBTQ+ backlash, racism, and environmental issues. Why aren’t we working on overcoming these wrinkles in our American Dream?
Imagine it, a day when the great country of America is a safe place for everyone, a day where everyone is getting paid for the quality of their work and not their gender, a day where those of the gay community can walk around without any shame. A day when our land and oceans aren’t polluted, and animals aren’t going extinct. Why aren’t we making these our goals? Why aren’t we making this our American dream?
One major problem in the American dream is the cost of living. Millennials spend more money than any other generation. And no, it’s not because of unnecessary spending. In fact, it’s spending on rent, food, utilities, transportation, and schooling. Now that doesn’t seem so bad right now, but throw on the growing debt from student loans and credit cards. The average millennial can have up to $36,000 of debt growing throughout their life according to CNBC. How can you be successful like that?
Another monster in this case is gender/racial pay gaps. For females, the pay gap may vary, but it’s still noticeable. According to attndotcom, for every dollar a white American man makes a Latina woman make 53%, Black women make 61%, White women make 77%, and Asian women make 85%. How is this acceptable? Your race and gender shouldn’t determine how much you get paid, your quality and work ethic should.
Additionally, America exhibits an astounding lack of opportunities for LGBTQ+ members. For years, members of the LGBTQ+ community have been shamed for the people they love and have been denied the rights to live the American dream. In certain parts of our country, gay couples aren’t allowed to adopt, live in certain apartment buildings, or get certain jobs. People will just kick them out of their homes simply for being a person. There have even been cases where bakeries refuse to bake them anniversary cakes. So how can a member of the LGBTQ+ live the American Dream when they can’t even support themselves and are denied the basic rights every citizen should have
Even if these problems were solved, would it even possible for millennials and future generations to achieve their American dream when the world might not be around to let that happen? According to the United Nations we only have 11 years to reverse climate change before we reach a state of irreversible disasters. In 11 years, younger millennials will be in their early thirties, and for most Americans this is just the start of a good life. As for members of Gen Z, they will be in their early to mid 20s or late teens.
How can any American live the American Dream if they’re in a crippling state of debt and aren’t getting paid fairly? How can we live this dream if we don’t even have equality within our love lives? How can we stand by and watch the world fall to climate change and pollution? These things are holding us back from reaching financial stability and equal opportunity.
As Americans, we are being denied the right of opportunities and financial stability. You may have a good handful of Americans living the American dream, but how is it fair for those who can’t? The American dream is foundation built out of sand, and this foundation is now drifting away with every small breeze. The American dream should be built on a foundation made of graphene, so strong that it can withstand multiple blows and still hold its place.
What was once a valid dream that Americans held onto has finally reached its end. The American dream is something that should be constantly changing to help our changing society. Individual opportunities and financial stability were once a reasonable vision for our nation, but now is unavailable for current and future generations. Our dream should not be built on an individual fight to better one’s self, but a war to better our people and our nation.