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The invocation of the American Dream sparks ideas and visions of money, success, fulfillment and comfort in the imaginations of people. Individuals have such dreams everywhere, whether they live in Canada, Italy, or Bhutan. One unique feature about the American version of that dream is that in the US, the accomplishment of one's dreams is a realistic possibility regardless of one's original station in society…
As the United States has never had an aristocracy and thus is better able to recognize that the contingent conditions of birth are not all that are determinant in how one will fair in life. The concept of the American Dream has had many detractors, most dreams do. The condemnations that beset the American Dream typically utilize one of two strategies: 1) the lavish materialism sought is spiritually destructive and the obsessive worship of the dollar borders on the cult-like, 2) the American Dream betrays certain disenfranchised groups by feeding them false hope about the existence of a meritocracy. Dana Gioia, current chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, writes a poem entitled "Money" that examines the many metaphors that we use to describe what it is and how we use it. In understanding our obsession with the dollar his poem offers some insight into its power and hold on us. In another work, Harlon L. ...
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