I often hear and read that we all have access to the American dream.
It is also often uttered that we all have the same opportunities in life.
Technically, one could argue in support of the validity of that statement.
Yes, we can all stand at the starting line, but some of us run faster than others, and not necessarily because that individual worked harder, but possibly because of the natural gifts he or she was born with. No one should be punished or have their legs broken because they are faster, but that sort of blows out of the water the notion that the individual standing nearby will achieve the same dream by working as hard or even harder.
And what about those people with no legs or whose legs have been broken through circumstances out of their control?
Another glitch in the equal access to the American dream argument and the claim that hard work is rewarded is that achieving the “dream” and so-called rewards depend on market factors that seem beyond our control, though in reality are determined by the people feeding the market. Of course, their free will in all of this is debatable as well.
But the point is, people can work extremely hard, some harder than others, and those individuals may not reap the rewards because their skills are not what the market deems as the most valuable. In American, for example, it seems that good looks and the ability to cry on demand, superior athletic ability, and cunning, greed and ruthlessness in the business world are among the skills that have the most financial reward reaped upon them.
Yet, people often say they value empathy, compassion, honesty, hard work and kindness as valuable qualities, yet none of those, or even all of those together, generally lead to one capturing the American dream.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.