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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dream on

I don't think they mean the same thing by American Dream as I do:

Just one in every four voters in 10 battleground House districts says the American Dream is “still there for everyone,” while four in 10 say the dream exists “only for some people,” according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.??

Younger voters expressed more optimism than older ones, and men were more upbeat than women. Notably, black voters voiced more optimism than whites, a finding that underscores polling trends since Barack Obama's election as the nation's first African-American president.

It's hard to tell, actually, since we're not told exactly how the question was put to respondents, but from the context, they seem to be using the phrase as a mere synonym for "doing well economically," with whether people expect their children to have a better standard of living than their parents the key touchstone.

But the American Dream I grew up believing in wasn't about economics, at least it wasn't chiefly about economics. The dream is an idea that springs from this nation's founding principle of individual rights and its New World ethos that tomorrow is whatever we choose to make it. In America, I can think what I want, say what I want, be what I want, with my prospects limited only by my own abilities and ambitions. I'd hate to think three out of four battleground-district voters have given up on that idea.