Dear American Dream,
It has been a little while since we’ve last communicated. I suspect you’ve been busy searching for yourself of late, and I, well I have been searching for my place within you. There was a time when I believed that we shared a common connection, almost umbilical, but that time has passed, not instantaneously like the scissors’ slice though. Rather, it has been an eroding like rain on a hillside that has been stripped of it trees.
Do you recall the time we shared together our ideals of equality for all peoples everywhere? Do you remember the evening we spent together before a most possible dawn, a dawn of increasing radiance that shone over the land with an infectious spirit of “unlimitedness”?
I haven’t forgotten those ideals. I haven’t forgotten that dawn. I will admit, however, that my energy to strive for those ideals and to dream for another dawn has been waning. My tank of desired true personal freedom and liberation needs to be refilled.
I need to be frank with you, for humanity’s sake. Are you still viable in today’s United States? Today’s world? Have you been reduced to a lifestyle? Are you defined as an increased income yearned for by some amongst the world’s poor should they make it across your borders? Or, are you a car in the driveway maybe, and/or a home on a street named for a tree?
I assure you I am not minimizing the situation of the less-fortunate human beings who call our land a foreign nation. Remember, I communed with them for a short period of my life. What I am trying to say to you is: should we work to redefine you, make you again an endless expanse of possibility? I apologize for assuming that you are not that expanse, but only if my assumption is unequivocally wrong.
How might we go about doing this act of redefining? Should we begin with your history? This may prove difficult though. You are an abstract notion.
Maybe we should ask, first, what does it mean to be “American?” How did this word develop, and how has it developed throughout our vernacular?
Couple that with a dream, a fictitious place of imagination and vision. In your case, you are something wished for, something that is strongly desired by more than one person.
Hmm. Allow me to digress a bit here. If many persons are trying to attain an abstract ideal, does this suggest that the ideal is really many ideals and not one? Meaning, could each desirer really being seeking the same ideal? And if the ideals are constructed by individual desires, desires that are perhaps selfish in nature to begin with, could it be said there is no one dream? Of course similarities amongst all the dreams could lend themselves to unifying into one general theme of the dream. Is this what we have now? Or, are you, American Dream, whatever you need to be for each person that desires you? This could be viewed as strength, couldn’t it? Your elasticity, if you will permit me to call it that, is what makes you so desirable. You can be many things to many people. Is this a good thing, this flexibility?
I suppose that such a characteristic is generally viewed as being positive. I think we should allow for caution to enter here though. Even the rubber band, a very flexible tool, breaks when it is stretched too far and when it is overused and worn out. Have you been stretched too far, overused, or worn out? How have you been maintaining yourself since the last time we talked?
It appears I have reached the end of my space on the page. I will send more to you next week. Do take care of yourself.
(written 13 February 2005)