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The Changing Definition of the American Dream

The Changing Definition of the American Dream

My grandfather and his brothers came to America as teens and young men. They came here from Italy on a boat.  It was  long trip but necessary to reach for something unattainable in their native land. They, like millions more before and after them, had heard of a land of abundant freedoms, liberties and opportunities.  They came here knowing if they worked as hard as they could, they could prosper for their families and themselves.

I come from a long line of builders on my father’s side. When my grandfather and his brothers got to New York, they waited in line at Ellis Island and proved they were not infected with disease and weren’t carrying any bombs. They were logged in and allowed to start their new lives.  It was a system that worked and without which we would not have seen the incredible growth in this country, population-wise as well as in industry and prosperity. Immigrants came from all corners of the Earth and no, not everyone welcomed them, but we had a process in place by which people could come here legally, take part in the process of being productive members of society, acclimate to their new home, learn the language, and then work on realizing a future they had only imagined in their homeland.

With my family heritage in mind and the fact that I grew up in South Florida after leaving New York, I have always felt a certain kinship to who we used to call, “Spanish people.”  These days, we have to say Hispanics or Latinos. The latter has always been confusing to me because, as a guy who’s predominantly Italian in ethnicity, I’ve always considered myself Latino. It refers to language. They spoke Latin in the Roman Empire. Those were my people, right?  Language-wise, that became Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Romanian. They are known as “Latin-based” or “Romance” languages.

Along with the similarities in original language, I also saw the similarities in the immigration stories of many I grew up around and my father’s family. In life, we always look for things that connect us. I felt a strong, positive connection to immigrants even though I’m not one. I also felt that familial relationship because of the work ethic I always saw from those who’d just come here from Mexico, Cuba, South America, Haiti, etc.  Immigrants always looked tired, dirty, sweaty, and darkened by the sun. They were tireless workers who saved 4 dollars of every 5 they made. They were on a mission, like my relatives, to put in hard days’ work for the chance to feed and clothe their children, afford them a good education, maybe buy a car and the ultimate goal of buying a piece of land and a house.  All of these things are available to anyone — immigrant or not — provided you come here legally and play by the rules.

The perceived conservative war on Latinos or immigrants was invented by those who don’t want immigrants to realize the American Dream. Well, not the dreams of our immigrant ancestors and those who built this country. Somehow, big government advocates in power have convinced today’s immigrants that they should come here illegally, work off the books, pay no taxes, hide, learn the language or not, and put their hands out. They have redefined the American Dream to mean: Come to the US and we’ll give you free food, rent, diapers, electricity, a cell phone and more in the form of entitlements.  If you’re here — they’ve convinced many — you’re entitled to all of this. In return, all we want is your vote when you’re able to vote. If you can’t, just have your family members who can, vote for us. I don’t think today’s immigrants are lazy nor without direction or goals and dreams. I just think the movement by the far left was to disincentivize as many as possible from going and getting it for themselves through hard work and less control by a central government and to force them into a state of reliance on them.

All of this upsets conservatives who believe lower taxes, smaller government, less regulation are the best ways toward achieving the goal of the Dream. Of course, more freedom, liberty and less reliant on government is the best way for humans to realize their fullest potential and is what most people will do if given the choice.  So, how did the power structure in Washington stop people from defaulting to that way of life?  They made up an ethnic, gender or racial war. Who’s the bad guy?  White conservative men. Who are the victims?  Immigrants, Blacks, women, the elderly, the young — everyone except White conservative men. It was successful.  How did they do it?  Putting a charismatic, youthful, rock star-likeperson out front to say anything — true or not — to convince those groups they were targets of hatred as depicted by the media power structure in this country.

When I implore people to realize the REAL American Dream I remind them of a simple fact. There are ZERO CEOs of companies in this country nor star athletes nor successful entrepreneurs who are on the government dole. People collecting from the government — which is collecting it from the taxpayers — will ALWAYS be living within the boundaries and ceiling defined for them by the government. Time to go back to the original definition of the American Dream and unlock the entitlement shackles put on millions in this country by a government drunk on power and doing all it can to retain it and get more.

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