The American dream is an impressive ideology that has lured people to America and moved them around within it. It is that idea that has encouraged millions of immigrants to strive in horrible conditions against impossible odds for centuries. Most Americans celebrate it unthinkingly, along with apple pie and motherhood; criticism is usually limited to imperfections in its application. But like apple pie and motherhood, the American dream turns out to be less than perfect upon closer examination. President Clinton has captured the bundle of shared tenets about achieving success that make up the ideology of the American dream. Those tenets answer the questions: Who may pursue the American dream In what does the pursuit consist How does one successfully pursue the dream Why is the pursuit worthy of our deepest commitment Although describing each tenet in detail is beyond the scope of this essay, we have to look at the flaws intrinsic to this dream, to gain better understanding of its validity and applicability in contemporary America.
The first persuasion, which is that everyone can participate equally and can always start over, is troubling, as throughout most part of the American history, women of any race and men who were Native American, Asian, black, or just poor, were barred from all but a narrow range of elective positions. White men, especially European immigrants, able to ride the wave of the Industrial Revolution to comfort or prosperity, have always been the most valued members of the American society. Those who do not fit to that description, disappear from the collective self-portrait. The situation is that not only has the ideal of universal participation been denied to most Americans, but also the very fact of its denial is been denied in our national self-image. This state of things determines deep misunderstandings and correspondingly deep political tensions.
In this essay, we will focus primarily on the first tenet. There is a huge population of Asian and Jewish immigrants who have carved a niche for themselves although there are a million others who have not succeeded. Media is laced with numerous success stories, but no one writes about those, who haven't used their golden chance, who live on welfare or charity. It would be tenable to imply that there are some qualities a person has to possess in order to become successful in the USA.
Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" is reffered to as a classical work in sociology and political science. For modern Americans his observations that the president with, his almost royal prerogatives, will have a great need of virtue, are almost prophetic. Nowadays we see what is going on in Iraq, we observe the disenfranchising of voters in the USA, and, of course, we remember the "Patriot Act", which in effect repeals the Fourth Amendment. Thus we can conclude that Tocqueville was rightfully worried about the unlimited power of the majority, and its consequences. Many of his observations are as timeless and applicable as they were in his day. He stated :
"Americans of all ages, all stations of life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations...In democratic countries knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the