I’ve seen the American dream in faded, aged pictures of my immigrant family, who barely escaped Nazi occupied Italy in the bottom of a cargo ship shortly after WWII ended… equipped with not much more than the clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and seeds of dreams of golden-paved American streets planted in their hearts.
I’ve seen the American dream in the big-shouldered, blue-collared Chicago streets sewn with train yard threads weaving the cloth of my youth where Midwestern hardened men fought the bitter elements to battle the machinery of box car couplings in sub-zero temps to ensure that they brought the food to the tables of families whose dreams are as basic as having their next meal to eat.
I’ve seen the American dream in the degeneration of my X generation who were raised in a world chockfull of fears that the Commies were near and “the bomb” would knock us clear into oblivion any day while mama and papa were away at work, too busy trying to make those elusive ends meet.
I’ve seen the American dream in barely 18-year-olds who raised their right hands with me to take the oath to defend our great nation and wore our country’s cloth, vowing to battle those hell-bent on taking away the dreams of our fathers.
I’ve seen the American dream twisted in Middle Eastern enemies’ eyes, who despise our freedoms and see our dreams as demonized things that these martyrs have destined themselves to destroy.
I’ve seen the American dream in the Teamstered truck drivers who filled the dock doors with their 18-wheeled machines, trekking our wares over the highways and byways to where they are needed most, to feed this industrialized, capitalized dream.
I’ve seen the American dream in fearless and feared, bearded bikers who fly their freedom flags on their backs and swear to God almighty that whosoever tries to take away their dreams will suffer the slow and painful death of a treasonous expatriate.
I’ve seen the American dream in the helpless homeless men who wander predawn outside my urban doorway, looking for some way to survive just another day without starving and hoping their dream turns to views with brighter hues.
I’ve seen the American dream in the aged lines of our country’s elderly, who see that this land is a far cry from what it was way back then and hoping to forget that it’s just a skeleton of what it once was.
I’ve seen the American dream in the children’s eyes of the next generation, who will be raised on standardized grades, equal praise, fading classes, unemployed masses, man-made disasters…
I see the American dream every time I look in the mirror and it’s clear to me that I am, that you are, that every man, woman and child in this land of the free are the dreamers of the American dream and that the power is in our hands to mold this clay and keep dreaming of better days.