There's much talk about the middle, mostly about the middle class - defending this 'Middle' as being the best of America; "The American Dream": the hard working rags-to-riches being represented by the current 'Middle Class'. This 'Middle' term has become commonplace in political discourse, talk about 'Main Street' America and all of that. It paints a picture, that's for sure.
I use 'Middle' for my project too, as a way to tie together the myriad of issues I am exploring, both geographically, politically, ideologically. We could talk for days about 'Middle' being a division, a goal, a marking point, so many ways to characterize America and Americans in/of/around 'Middle'.
But "The American Dream" isn't about becoming middle class - it's about becoming rich: a house with a white picket fence in a tree-lined neighborhood where your well-mannered child walks to school safely on their own to the well-resourced school and maybe having a career that allows you to go to work at 9 and has you home in time for dinner and enjoy family and life before the day is done. This is the lifestyle of the rich, or is it? I don't know anyone with this lifestyle.
Does anyone believe in "The American Dream" anymore - for real? The story where anyone from a poor community with passion and desire is able to move through life with close to no resources and somehow take their passion and desire to be successful enough to join the top tiered income that can afford the so-called "American Dream". It's funny that politicians still use this vision; the "American Dream" that most Americans have is not the same that it used to be.
Demolition begins on the white picket fence, that's for sure, tree-lined neighborhood can be planted later. "The New American Dream" is closer to just being able to work a steady job that can allow a sense of every day comfort, safety, and choice. Saving, vacation, health - our collective vision is not about choosing these things, they are a given, something that don't have to be defended day-in and day-out. This new dream is bigger, bolder, and broader than 'Middle'. It's Universal, it's Humanitarian, it's Global. ~sw