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The American dream is exactly what it sounds like; a dream. And like all dreams filled with hope and wonderful things, it is hoped by those who have the dream to become a reality. However, only once in a while, and under rare circumstances, does it ever become a reality. The American dream first began as a ploy of the English government to get some of their rapidly growing populous to go to America, as colonists, but also as defenders of the land England wanted to lay claim to. They were to set up forts, like the one on Roanoke, and attack the Spanish treasure fleets. The English government spread the word of a “land of opportunity” where anyone and everyone could become wealthy. The truth of it was that America was an unexplored land mass, filled with swamps in the south, poor soil in the north, and great forests everywhere. But to the poor masses of Europe, it must have seemed as truly a land of great opportunity, with free land for everyone! Thus, the American dream became most popular among the poor and especially the immigrants.

America was heralded as having equal opportunity for all. And yet today, the poor masses living in filthy apartments in enormous cities are no better off than those in Europe during the 1600’s. They are, perhaps, even worse off. In the slums of Americas great cities, thousands of people go every night without a home. Thousands more are surrounded by drugs, guns, and violence. Even a natural genius subjected to the conditions of the slums, would not have much of a chance at getting out of his position. For, if he or she lived in the slums, their family would, in all likely-hood, be large and poor. This would prevent him from receiving anything other than a public education, and chances are he would be forced to drop out of school at an early age to help support the family. Even if he could stay in school long enough to graduate high school, he would be constantly surrounded by drugs and violence. If he excelled in school, he would be shunned by the other kids, who probably would choose him as the target of their bullying. Even if by some chance this child stayed in school, and made it all the way through without becoming hooked on drugs, thrown in jail, or shot (a rare task in and of itself), how could he possibly hope to go to college. He would have little if any money, and due to the poor education offered in the slums, a slight chance at best of getting into an excellent college.

Despite all these things against the poor and unfortunate of our nation, so many of us still say with a straight face that America is the land of equal opportunity. How can a poor, uneducated, person from the slums possibly have the same opportunity to become a successful adult, or for that matter, an adult, as a wealthy, well educated son or daughter of a well connected politician or multi-millionaire. For the child of rich parents has been educated at a top school, and may even be applying to the same college that their parents attended and are members of the alumni at and large contributors to. And with an increase in tuition at many colleges and universities lately, how can the poor person hope to pay for such an education. Scholarships could help, but in order to get one, one needs to excel at something. How can the poor person, even if he was a genius, possibly hope to score better on the PSAT, or any other test for which scholarships are awarded for doing exceptionally well. It is not that the occupants of the slums are less intelligent, it is that they are not reaching their potential in a system which provides them with an inferior education.

And yet it is this system which is hailed as a democracy, and a society where all are equal. Where everyone has the same chances. This is all a lie. If two individuals were equal in every way, except that one was born and raised in the Bronx, and the other was born and raised on 5th Ave. in Manhattan, they would hardly have equal opportunity. The system in which we live, whether intentionally or not, creates an oligarchy of the rich. Those who have the power and the wealth, keep it and pass it on to their children. Meanwhile, the poor are hooked on cocaine are having more children than they could possibly hope to support. Thus, the rich are getting richer, while the poor die young and get poorer.

   

  


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Did you Know

-Only 20 percent of Americans are what we would consider "rich", yet they control 80 percent of the cash flow.

-The average reading level of Americans is at the 4th grade level.

-America is quick to, as they say, "defend" their idea of "democracy" at a global level, but has hardly provided a solution for the turmoil within the country of the US of A.

-The amount of money the Reagan administration spent on weapons was so astronomical that 1 percent of that could have fed the world 10 times over.

 


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