The short video, produced by the House Democrats, shown prior to Nancy Pelosi’s convention speech — Reigniting the American Dream: Building Ladders of Opportunity — communicated a thought provoking POV.
The video uses interesting symbology that suggests the American Dream can be reached by climbing straight upwards — about 15 stories. To reach the top, a person must overcome gravity and pull her or himself up on a swaying rope ladder. Very scary. To attempt such a feat would require an amazing act of courage and strength, and only the fit would survive.
The visual message of the video is that the American Dream is out of reach for most people, but, this visual message contradicts the words of the video: “Our nation’s ideal is the American Dream that if you’re willing to work hard, play by the rules and take responsibility, everyone should have the opportunity to succeed.”
The notion that we need more ladders so that more people can have the opportunity to scale a 15 story precipice is pretty funny. The lack of ladders is not the problem. The problem is that for some crazy reason, the American Dream is 15 stories up. Who put it there and how do we move it to a place that is more accessible? More ladders will not matter, because most citizens are unable to make the climb. Sure, some individuals, like Michele and Barack, have the strength and courage, and luck, to make it to the top. But, for the average Joe, the “opportunity” the Democrats offer is pretty meaningless.
The premise of this Democratic Party video is that the American Dream is about the individual pulling him or herself up. But, the party of the people needs a bigger and better vision of what the American Dream actually means.
The American Dream is that we live in a fair society where every citizen is valued, a society, yes, with no ceilings — where every citizen has the opportunity to climb socially and economically — but one with a strong floor, giving security and stability to our weakest or least successful citizens. It is shameful that in our rich country we have citizens who, regardless they work hard and play by the rules, live in poverty and insecurity. To suggest that these oppressed citizens simply need more opportunity is an insult. They need more money. They need health care. They need a fair deal.
The American Dream the Democratic Party should advance is not a dream about an individual climbing to the heights of personal success — it is a dream about a nation where there is liberty and justice for all.