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Is the American dream still alive?

dead
When you sit in traffic for almost two hours each morning on the way to work, you notice a lot of different bumper stickers and personalized license plates on the cars of your fellow commuters. This morning, a car passed me with this sticker plastered on the bumper and another one that read "I SELL THE AMERICAN DREAM." I couldn't find a stock photo of a bumper sticker with this slogan, and I've never seen it before. I can't understand what the expression "I SELL THE AMERICAN DREAM" means?

What is the "American dream"? I don't even know, because life dreams vary depending on the personality and ambition of each individual. We can't say that the American dream is one specific thing, although the stereotypical formula is (1) work hard; (2); earn a decent living; (3) marriage + children; (4) home ownership = the "dream." Yesterday, I read a post in the LJ immigrant community, which focused on the proposition that a green card does not bring happiness. The post is here. When the diversity lottery opens each year, a lot of posts on this topic and immigration into America get published. The lottery opened on 1 October and will run until 3 November. With the exception of marrying an American, the diversity lottery is 100% the easiest pathway to U.S. citizenship if you're selected, though the chances are very, very slim. Good luck to those readers who will apply. However, it's necessary to remind everyone about the expression on the next popular bumper sticker:


handout

Fruition of a dream - it is the result of hard work, no matter the country or dream. The problem, as many people noted in the comments in the pora-valit post, is that some immigrants who win the diversity lottery come to the USA with absolutely no ambition or motivation. If you're a lazy, unproductive loser in your native country, the chances are high that you will meet the same fate here in the USA. You can't just show up, and expect to have everything handed to you. Work as a cook, dishwasher, cab driver, begin to build a life, get an education, yes it's all possible...I've seen it over and over again with my immigrant friends who are now U.S. citizens. It requires adaption and integration into the new culture and community. Not simply moving to a neighborhood where only Soviet or Russian immigrants live, communicate only in Russian, etc.

I support the diversity lottery in its current form. It provides opportunities to those who are blue collar or hard-labor workers who otherwise would have no chance of legal entry into the U.S. At the same time, you open up the risk of allowing a bunch of lazy, slacker, unskilled workers into the country who will sit on welfare, and complain that the "American dream" is dead. So, it's all complicated, but I've seen this lottery work for many people who now have stable, though not luxurious, lives in the USA.

Is there a similar expression about "the Russian dream?" To define the dream of an entire nation is impossible, whether it's Russia or the USA. The human spirit, will and drive are complex, challenging, defeating, beautiful, frustrating and tragic. At various points in my life, I've felt all of these strong emotions. It's a solid indication that I'm human and still very much alive...

Good luck again to the lottery applicants! If anyone wins, be sure to write and tell me. :)


Comments

( 142 comments — Leave a comment )
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alexanderr
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:26 pm (UTC)
yes yes! the dream is still alive.
no doubt
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:29 pm (UTC)
Are you being serious or sarcastic?
(no subject) - alexanderr - Oct. 6th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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leo_sosnine
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
Welfare point isn't applicable here because DV lottery winners aren't eligible.

Russian dream is suffer for a while then die young trying to save others, who were stuck because of overall stupidity and lack of trust in Russian society. No happiness or family values here, no hard work, no success.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC)
I think they're eligible for welfare once they obtain full U.S. citizenship? I don't see why not, but I could be wrong. I don't work on welfare or government assistance matters in my legal job.
(no subject) - leo_sosnine - Oct. 6th, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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f_l_o_e
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
"the Russian dream?"
___________
To have a king, owner, big bombs, some vodka and someone who can't fight back (wife or childrens for example).

Edited at 2015-10-06 03:41 pm (UTC)
dorli87
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
Excellent ;)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Oct. 6th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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qi_tronic
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
Oops, somehow my login cookie has been dropped.
Shannon, could you please unscreen my anonymous comment.

Ok, I'd better repeat it.

The American dream is good.
Especially, I like the house ownership part.
Here we live mostly in apartments :)

But the problem is that it is very material.
If you have all that, what's next?

Our Orthodox Patriarch once said that the Russian dream was always to become a saint.
This may look as an exaggeration (which is understandable bearing in mind his profession) but there is a grain of truth in it.

Russian notion of happiness aways included a big transcendent, non-material part.
Material success is always not enough for Russians to feel happy.
There should be something "big, bright and clear" besides it.


Edited at 2015-10-06 03:49 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
Material success is also not the pathway to happiness for most Americans. It merely provides security and stability. People now have more balanced lives, we are not all slaving away at our desks. The newer generation wants more out of life. So, the "dream" is constantly shifting. I'm a prime example of this. You see how many vacations I take a year? :) "The Russian dream was always to become a saint." What does it mean to be a saint?
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Oct. 6th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - qi_tronic - Oct. 6th, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Oct. 6th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Oct. 6th, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Да, это оно:) - andrey_kaminsky - Oct. 7th, 2015 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - iamschik - Oct. 6th, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
pin_gwin
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:49 pm (UTC)
>>I SELL THE AMERICAN DREAM
It's likely a realtor or loan broker. You got mortgage - you live right in a dream, kind off, so - enjoy!
For me it was not a dream, I got here as a job transfer from Moscow to a startup in Minnesota. It gave me opportunity to stay an engineer, in 90-ties it was not easy in Moscow.
What I know for sure that I like climate, nature and everyday convenience here way better than central Russian ones.
Well, there are a lot of things I do not like here, however, there are point of no return in your life path, one of the most important things - my children grew up here, I would never imagine them going back, it is just not doable, so I stay here, enjoying and tolerating different aspects of the dream.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
Yes! I think you're right, it's probably a sticker for a realtor. Makes sense. :) Do your children visit Russia, or speak Russian?
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Oct. 6th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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kovaliv
Oct. 6th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
I won in 2014, but I had to come back from the airport.
I forgot to turn off the iron at home. :(
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
Iron? I think you realized you can only have one wife legally here, and immediately returned back. :)
(no subject) - kovaliv - Oct. 6th, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
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dorli87
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:03 pm (UTC)
Russian dream? I doubt about this. It is more common to tell about mysterious Russian soul. Nobody knows what it means. Mysterious souls have mysterious dreams))
f_l_o_e
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC)
Mysterious Russian soul very similar to mental disorder. )
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nemesid
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Russian dream is very simple- to get the fuck out of Russia :)
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
Some of my readers are happy there. :)
andrey_kaminsky
Oct. 6th, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC)
Ну вот они, слова истины, как всегда:)
All people in the world dream about the same. All the reasoning about the special national dream is a bullshit that has been invented by politicians to divide and bullshit people.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Ну вот они, слова истины, как всегда:)
I don't think that all people in the world dream about the same, but one's dreams have no relation to their country of origin. Politicians - yes, all bullshit. It is in full force now in the U.S. with the upcoming elections. :)
dmitri_lytov
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
As far as I can understand the "American dream" of the people that complain about having it lost or "stolen", it is as simple as follows:
- earn enough to buy a detached house and to have as many cars as there are family members
- one "narrow family" (parents + minor-aged kids) per house, other relatives live separately
- the neighbourhood is inhabited by people going to the same church and of the same ethnic, cultural and racial background
- your investments and savings pay back with such a profit that allows keeping the same life standards as one is used to after the retirement
- the government cares for clean streets, public order and schools, the rest is not their damned business, so I am already paying too much and want my taxes to be lower.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:33 pm (UTC)
I think it's a pretty accurate depiction of the dream for a lot of people. Most Americans hate when the government becomes over involved, but a lot of Russians seem to crave this. They like being told what to do, and how to live?
sergechel
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC)
We have come a long way
Through rain and the dust of time
Times full of wonders
Full of secret signs
We have seen the winters
And the sunlight's brightest shine
But not every single moment
Can stand the test of time
The song now has ended
And the last notes fade away
But a new one begins
The music will stay

Now it's time for the future
We left our past behind
All the battles are over
But the dream is still alive

Smoke has been rising
Now it's blown away by the wind
It's all getting clearer
I wonder where I've been
A past destined to fall down
The final brick in the wall
Was so hard for me to see
But now I see it all

Now it's time for the future
We left our past behind
All the battles are over
But the dream is still alive

No-one can take it away from me
No day will ever let it end

Now it's time for the future
We left our past behind
All the battles are over
But the dream is still alive

Now we see our tomorrow
The night is long ago
All the fighting is over
But the dream is still alive

Xandria - The Dream Is Still Alive


Edited at 2015-10-06 05:26 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
I still believe in the dream, but you already know this. :)
creaze
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:40 pm (UTC)
Sarcasm aside, i have seen Americans, caucasian, natural born, working citizens, that complained on the "American dream". The opportunities turn out to be debt bonds that attach you to the system for your lifetime — educational and godforbid medical loans. And the nice family houses (i strongly agree with someone above, who expressed envy from our appartment housing concept) turn out to be overpriced cardboard mc-mansions with a lifetime of the expected mortgage payout.

Distribution of wealth is never really labor-reflecting, and the rules of the game keep changing, so that the winners just keep winning.

For the record, that's just one point of view.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
Different points of view are good. :) But I can't understand why so many Russians have a negative reaction to mortgages? It's better to pay monthly rent to someone else each month, and have nothing to show for it in the end? A home is a financial investment, and interest rates in the USA for mortgages are very low - now around 3.5%. Some people make their entire living on buying, remodeling and selling homes.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Oct. 6th, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - creaze - Oct. 7th, 2015 04:27 am (UTC) - Expand
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zhang_fei
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
"The American Dream 1776 - 2008".

So, accoding to this bumper sticker, the American Dream was not to let a negro into the White House? That's cute, but I actually like how Carlin described it, saying that "The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.", so maybe now it is a good time for people to wake the fuck up.
peacetraveler22
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC)
"Negro." :)) It's a very ancient way to refer to someone like Obama. Plus, he's technically bi-racial. His mom was white/father black.
(no subject) - zhang_fei - Oct. 6th, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Oct. 6th, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
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onkel_hans
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC)
I call the American reds GOPniks.

When G. Bush the Baby was elected President, I thought Uncle Dick would keep him in order. It turned the other way, Uncle Dick turned out a real dick and The Baby started to destroy "the American Dream"
I always wandered how people can vote for a man with such an old-witch-arse face like Bush? This face plainly stated, "I am stupid, I lie, I even do not trust myself"
peacetraveler22
Oct. 7th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
And you like Hillary's face? :)
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Oct. 7th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
aavenger
Oct. 6th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Well, I have to mostly disagree with the contents of the post. The stereotype of "success as the result of hard work" is one of the worst (and one day it may become even fatal to the humankind entirely). Success for the first and only means the quality, and such may be achieved in a number of ways - and is also open for so called "losers". Success also depends on a variety of factors, and hardworking is not a must on the list of requirements.

"Dreams", unfortnately, do not depend on nationality and more or less are quite similar to any place around the globe - to be safe, wealthy and doing nothing guy or girl, being brought all the luxuries to one by such "losers". The key problem is that the humankind despite of all our technology progress and advancements still lives the stoneage morals... and there seems no change down the road.
qi_tronic
Oct. 6th, 2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
"
humankind despite of all our technology progress and advancements still lives the stoneage morals
"
I think that humans should be genetically changed to be natural born communists.
(no subject) - aavenger - Oct. 6th, 2015 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Oct. 7th, 2015 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aavenger - Oct. 7th, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
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