What is the American Dream Anyway?

Newsflash: You’re Already Living It

You hear it referenced all the time. The American Dream, but what is it? Is it a set of American values we once had but that no longer exist? Is it a series of items you own like a house and/or a car? What about owning multiple houses and multiple cars? Would any of these fit the bill of living the American Dream? To me, the answer is pretty simple, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

More often than not, the American Dream is tied to two things: ownership of a house and a car. On the surface, I would agree with both of these. Owning your home allows you to have a sense of place, belonging, and safety. There’s nothing quite like coming home from work and pulling into your driveway. As you enter your house, your wife and kids are all sitting in the kitchen, waiting for your arrival. The smell of home, the feeling you get as you enter your house, these are all sensory emotions tied to our basic human instincts. I still remember the smell of my house when I was a kid. Even though I didn’t have a perfect or idyllic childhood, home was safe. I knew what to expect and that was always comforting. You can have a similar feeling as you enter your apartment, but a house is special. That’s YOUR grass in the front yard, YOUR furniture on the deck, YOUR driveway. As long as you pay the bank and taxes when they come due, the house is yours. You won’t get that same feeling as you enter a rented apartment or condo.

What about a car? There’s definitely something special about owning your car. It’s amazing to me how people forget that feeling. Owning a car is like having your first car, forever. It’s yours, no one can take it from you and you know all the quirks and gizmos it has to offer (both good and bad). You don’t get that when you lease a car, I can tell you that. Leasing is just renting, same with an apartment, there’s zero pride of ownership. By the way, pride of ownership extends beyond cars. Owning your furniture, your TVs, your clothes, anything and everything. All of this is important to nail down what I’m about to reveal as the true American Dream.

Ready for it? Freedom. Yes, freedom, that’s the American Dream. Don’t think it’s that simple? Trust me, it is. When you own the things in your life, you have the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want. Remove the false expectations heaped on you by TV shows, your friends, whomever. Your dream is most likely different than mine and that’s perfectly fine. But if your dream is to lease a BMW while scraping by each month paying for your mortgage and your kids to attend private school, that’s not a dream. That sounds more like a nightmare. A nightmare created of your own doing that will never help you attain the American Dream because you’re not living in reality.

I’d much rather own a 2004 Chevy Malibu and live in a trailer for the rest of my life with my freedom intact than to lease a new BMW and live in an upscale apartment owned by a government that provided it to me. I’m not sure those younger than me would agree with this sentiment but it’s important to understand what life would be like if we didn’t have the freedoms we enjoy today. We need only look to China and their social credit system, continued COVID lockdowns, and restrictions on free speech to understand how we’d be made to live.

You wake up every day and are provided the greatest gift anyone can ever bestow on you and it was free. You did nothing to deserve it, you didn’t work or ask for it and most of us certainly don’t appreciate it. I’m attempting to avoid making this a protracted “freedom isn’t free” sermon but it’s truly not. There are citizens living among us who sacrificed their lives so you and I could wake up in the morning and make major life choices like going to Chick-fil-A or Wendy’s for breakfast after an all-night bender. The ridiculousness of it all is mind blowing, which is why I always get fired up when I hear people say the American Dream is dead.

The American Dream exists because America still exists. As a citizen of our country you’re provided with so many options and pathways to success it’s astounding. You’re reading one of those pathways from me right now. I honestly have made nothing monetarily with my writing thus far; however, success never comes easily or quickly. I consider what I’m doing practice to allow myself to have the success I desire. I have the freedom to do this, everyday if I choose. How great is it that we have the choices laid out in front of us to be successful or not. We simply need to work hard and strive toward ownership in all things. This will allow us to break the ties of debt, our reliance on the government, and begin to build wealth for ourselves and future generations.

Many believe America is in decline or is “past its prime.” Don’t believe it. The propaganda being shoved down our throats suggests this is true. This is purposeful and targeted, a way to make us believe we’ve lost all hope and only “they” (big government) can save us. A recent Gallup Poll revealed a steady decline in young adults who were proud to be American. The study showed 18-29 year-olds in 2013 “extremely” or “very” proud to be an American 85% of the time while a similar age group of 18-34 year-olds were only 42% likely to say the same in 2023. A 43% decrease for similar age groups in ten years! Years of media bias skewed toward the idea of a world economy and cultural socialism have resulted in a young America that’s listing at sea without a paddle. However, where there is darkness, there is usually a light if you only look for it. I just so happen to see a couple of them on the horizon.

The disgruntled among us has opened the door for outside presidential candidates to begin making noise. I will admit, I’m enamored with both RFK Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy. Although they don’t align or agree on everything and I certainly don’t agree with all they have to say, both are intriguing candidates for different reasons. RFK Jr. is a true Kennedy Democrat who wants to restore peace and posterity to America while leaning on liberal values that have been lost within his party. Vivek’s mantra of “truth” speaks to his desire of making real change within the establishment and bringing back the principles of government on which America was founded. Each of them would bring something different to the table but both are using a refreshing word when speaking of what’s important for our country to thrive in the future: freedom.

I bring this up because it’s important we drive out the current politicians that are bent on dismantling our country piece-by-piece and return sanity to our everyday lives. Less government intervention, the destruction of censoring free speech on social media, and a restoration of freedom as we know it will help to restore the dream that’s out of reach for so many of our fellow citizens.

A dream is defined as, “a cherished aspiration, ambition or ideal.” The main word that sticks out to me here is “cherished.” We must cherish the freedoms that have been bestowed to us by our forefathers allowing the American Dream to move forward for a new generation.

Thomas Jefferson said it best:

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”

Wake up America, you’re already living in a dream.

This article was originally published on Reverian.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne lives in Tega Cay, SC with his wife and two daughters. After working for a "Big 4" bank for 25 years, he resigned in March 2023 to pursue his passion for writing.

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