"The American Dream"..just what does that mean to "outsiders"??

  1. Yesterday, I sat on my deck throwing around numbers, trying to make the bills balance. As I sat there, my neighbors were lounging in their new pool. My WHITE-full-blooded-AMERICAN-BORN-AND-RAISED neighbors. Did I mention the man in the house is on disability..has never worked a day since I've known him. Disability d/t blindness. Scares the hell out of me as I watch him safely navigate his BMW down the street..pass my yard where my kids are playing. Blows my mind when he waves at me from across the yards...hell, without my glasses I can hardly see his house, let alone him. His wife works every now and then. His 16yr old son, a school drop-out just hangs around preparing to carry on the tradition. This morning, I noticed the phone company is over there installing a DSL for their computer...as I still hang on to my dial-up. Last year, we struggled to renovate our home...the gov't came in and removed lead from theirs and then completely renovated it with siding, roofing, carpet, etc. We could only afford siding and roofing. Am I jealous? No, but it does leave me wondering just what it is that "outsiders" see as the true "american dream". Do they see the working class..struggling? or do they see my neighbor..living well at the cost of others? One thing for sure..my neighbor wasn't born in a war-torn, impoverished country. He wasn't suppressed because of slavery. He has probably never known hunger. He has no excuse for his lifestyle...then again, I don't think he feels he needs an excuse. After all, this is america.

    So, with all that said, I ponder this thought. We can complain about immigrants...legal or illegal. But, the illegal ones aren't draining our welfare systems..that requires SSN's. I watched a work group, primarily Mexican, working behind my parent's last week. They were digging a tunnel..by hand. They worked harder than I've ever seen a man work...probably for less than minimum wage. Were they legal or illegal? I don't know..I don't even care at this point. They WERE working, which is more than my white-american neighbor does. I'm willing to bet that the # of american-born welfare recipients FAAAAAAAAARRR outnumber those of immigrants. So we can blame who we wish, but it's our own red-blooded americans who are hurting us, not immigrants.

    I heard an interesting point on "Politically Incorrect" last night. Why do Americans feel that in order to learn another's culture we must loose our own?? We don't have to give up a piece to learn another. I'm still pondering this point.

    So, what do you think is an immigrants ideal of "The American Dream"???
  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    Wow, Tracy, excellent post.

    I'm not an immigrant, but I always thought the American Dream was that of opportunity.

    Your post reminds me of my thread called "Why?" where the government is now handing out down-payments to minorities so they can own homes, as that has been coined "the American dream." Is home ownership really the American dream? I always thought freedom, liberty, the PURSUIT of happiness (note: pursuit, not the GIVING of happiness) and tons of opportunities not available in other nations was the American dream. Apparently we are all dead wrong. The American dream appears to be materialism, bigger, better, more.

    I agree with you, 100%. Our nation is too cushy and we have too many safety nets within society that allow this type of leech-like behavior to continue and to be passed down through the generations. People live better ON the system than OFF it, and that is not right, not right at all. It is completely backwards.

    Kind of reminds me of handicapped parking. I didn't realize until very recently that handicapped sticker vehicles get to park for FREE. FREE. No-parking zone, whatever, it's free. We went to a carnival yesterday with our motorcycle and tried to park in motorcycle only parking. We couldn't because there was two cars parked there. One got a ticket, one did not. Why? The one who didn't was handicapped, therefore he can park wherever he wants.

    In front of my husband's business downtown, handicapped parkers can park anywhere on the street and not plug the meter and not get ticketed. Why does being handicapped entitle you to free parking? I don't get it. As a matter of fact, the two people that I personally know who are quads in a wheelchair both make $450,000/year.

    I just don't understand society anymore.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent.
  4. by   fergus51
    Awesome post Tracy. As a dual American-Canadian citizen, currently in Canada, planning on going back to the US in a few months, I think the American dream is what Suzy said: opportunity and freedom. Most immigrants I know had no idea about how some of our citizens are allowed to not work, but still get money! One woman I know from Hong Kong was shocked at our welfare system! She was also surprised at how many days we don't have to go to work every year, like Xmas

    Almost all the immigrants I met while volunteering at our city's immigrant services center were hardworking people who came here to work and build a better life for themselves and their kids, not mooch off the system. In fact, over 60% of the immigrants we accepted last year were either people with special skills (like nurses and engineers) or people who started businesses that had to employ at least one Canadian citizen. It's been a long running joke that our province's initials, BC, stand for Bring Cash, not British Columbia like it says on the map.
  5. by   live4today
    When I try to picture what 'The American Dream' portrays...sometimes it is a good clean picture of a hard working family enjoying the right to choose how they wish to live their lifestyle, and sometimes it's a picture of a nonworking lazy 'I'll live off the taxpayers mighty dollars' family abusing the right to even HAVE a freakin' lifestyle. I prefer the first portrait instead of the latter because ANYONE...be they a working Immigrant or Migrant, American born, or foreigners in America who apply for Visas to live here (eventually, maybe seeking to become an American Citizen)...anyone who abuses their PRIVILEGES in this wonderful country ought to receive a long hard whippin'! How dare they live off the sweat of another man's labor....mentioned in the Bible as being punishable under God. Oops! There's that phrase again!

    If you work....you should be able to enjoy the sweats of your labor. If you don't BECAUSE you are COMFY living off the taxpayers' labor (much like the pimp lives off the prostitutes labor)...that's what should be totally intolerable in this country. :angryfire
  6. by   Q.
    Originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    How dare they live off the sweat of another man's labor....mentioned in the Bible as being punishable under God. Oops! There's that phrase again!



  7. by   prn nurse
    In the late 70's and early 80's, I lived on the Texas coast.
    There was a huge influx of Vietnamese immigrants. The U.S. government GAVE the Vietnamese shrimp boats so they could earn a living. And then, financed their homes at 3 % interest. The American shrimpers who had worked and bought their boats raised cain. It was in the papers for 3-4 years. American fisherman and shrimpers who were working to pay off their boats were competing with Vietnamese fisherman who did not have the expenses the Americans had. The Americans complained because the Vietnamese did not follow the American fishing/shrimping laws. They complained that the Vietnamese overfished and over shrimped the Gulf Coast waters and "never threw anything back." (the obviously egg carrying turtles, pregnant fish, etc.) There was an argument one morning on a dock, and a Vietnamese immigrant shot and killed an American... there was a trial, and the Vietnamese man was found not guilty.

    I rode my bike one day out to a favorite area of town where I always rode to a bait camp/bar and fishing pier and boat launch area. There was a house out there for sale I was interested in buying. Within one year, EVERY house out there was occupied by Vietnamese ! This, in an area that previously and for decades had been all white, mostly fishermen. If you go to the area on the coast south of Houston today, you will find that 90 % of the fresh fish seafood markets are Vietnamese owned. The Vietnamese settled primarily in the coastal areas.

    All this stuff was in the papers. The government certainly never responded. It was printed that these Vietnamese refugees arrived here with no assets and it was acknowledged that they received government assistance.

    At the time, the interest rates for financing a house ranged from 10% to 14 %.

    I personally saw two well dressed Vietnamese women at the grocery store with overloaded grocery carts filled primarily with beef. I deliberately watched them check out and pay with food stamps. They left the store, got into a a very nice car where two men were waiting.

    At the time, I was in nursing school, working , and had stopped for a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread, my meals for the next few days, egg salad sandwiches.

    I had a tough time economically getting thru school and thought I would starve that last semester...had garage sales and sold off everything I didn't absolutely need.

    When you have existed an entire semester on egg sandwiches, you don't forget immigrants in heels buying roasts and steaks and driving a better car than you do, and paying with food stamps.

    I will never forget that experience.
    The U.S. government hasn't done crap for me.

    Oh yeah, the hot water heater went out at same time...no money...cold showers all winter.

    When you read me b*tching on this BB, you know where I am coming from. I have been there and seen it, read about it..... TAXES, TAXES.
    This is where my tax dollars go, money that I worked hard for.

    Speaking of taxes....remember W's daddy's famous "read my lips..no new taxes" speech? One year I paid MORE in income taxes on a $40,000 salary than President Bush did. (His income and tax bill was in the papers.) That was the year he was not re-elected... a one term "loser" president.

    So, what's new? He is still a millionaire...and I am still living the American Dream....I work and support someone who doesn't.

    The "American Dream" has been written about out the kazoo. Most analysts say it is a myth.
  8. by   prn nurse
    .ha ha.,..............and don't get me started..............
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    Gotta throw my .02 in here.

    The American Dream to an immigrant:

    Being able to worship the God of your choice without being killed or thrown into prison for it.
    Being able to vocalize or write your personal political opinion without being killed or thrown into prison for it.
    Being able to own guns
    Being able to have indoor plumbing
    Having a doctor less than a 3 day walk away
    Having abundant food
    Not having to prostitute yourself or your children to feed your family
    Not having to watch your family die from thirst, because of a drought.
    Not having to worry about having your daughters castrated, immolated, or abused at the hands of their owner-husbands.

    Some of you guys really need to know what it's really like out there, you know?
  10. by   LasVegasRN
    Wow, good post, Sleepy.
  11. by   prn nurse
    The people of the world who live under those conditions are not permitted to immigrate here.
  12. by   live4today
    Originally posted by prn nurse
    The people of the world who live under those conditions are not permitted to immigrate here.
    Since when?

    Oh...Sleepyeyes...well said...:kiss
  13. by   Sleepyeyes
    oh really?
    haiti? mexico? cuba? Africa?
  14. by   fergus51
    According to our stats, we don't accept a lot of refugees, compared to other immigrants. Main reason being that most of them are in such horrible conditions that they have no way of making it here. But some do make their way here. I know a couple from the Former Yougoslavia and had a patient from the Congo a little while back.

    Sleepy, I couldn't agree with you more. It's really easy to complain about the little annoyances we have here and completely forget that we are more fortunate than the other 90% of the world.