All in all, this week makes me proud to be an American. I’m all too aware of how many other Americans feel the opposite. The arguments are obvious, but I’ll quickly reiterate (my understanding of) the criticism. We’ve breached the free market, extended federal power, and allowed an immigration free-for-all. Broader arguments have, from what I’ve seen, been something like this: we’re moving away from our roots. We’re moving away from the constitution. We’re moving away from what fundamentally makes America the country it is, and what it has been.
My response, in essence, is “About time.” America’s success has come at the expense of so many. The dawn of our country and westward expansion meant the mass eviction (to put it politely) of hundreds thousands of native people. We built our country on the backs of slaves, which only ended after one of the most brutal wars in American history. Our industrial revolution was fueled by immigrant and child labor. We detained thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII. We limited votes to white men. The list goes on.
This past week's Supreme Court rulings were a step in the right direction. They began, in modest, to level the playing field. Is this such a bad thing? We, right now, have the ability to make strides for civil rights. In my mind, we could bring the American Dream into fruition.
Now, here’s where I explain my version of the American Dream. Immigrants came to America seeking a new future, right? Well, the way I interpret the American dream is a blank slate. My American Dream is that anyone can be born into any circumstance and succeed based off their own merit. In essence, I think that the American Dream implies pure equality.
Some would say that we’re already there. I think that goes beyond being idealistic and borders ignorance. Take, for instance, the War On Drugs. You’ll see a disproportionate amount of black men arrested for the same crimes that white men commit. Men on average make 22% more for the same job as women. Homophobic hate crimes still run rampant. There is no equal footing, yet.
Is this really the country we want to live in? Why do we make a fuss now, after not even allowing others to make a fuss in our past? I’m proud that we have adopted a health care plan that is going to cover the millions of under or uninsured Americans, I’m proud that we’re working on a comprehensive way to boost up our undocumented population, and I’m proud that the American Dream could, someday, be something to be proud of.