Opportunity: The American Dream

Opportunity, EQUAL opportunity is the answer I gave.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson are all out making campaign speeches about what America is and/or should be. And it seems each of them have a different view and message. Some of them want to give stuff away, others want to give even more away, some say we need to take things back, others want to return things that were taken. It all just depends on the topic and who is asking.

Well, earlier this week I was given the chance to share my thoughts on what I thought “The American Dream” means to me. Well, the first thing that popped up in my head is home ownership. That is mostly because of my work at Habitat for Humanity, and the fact that the media always defines it that way. But I spend more time thinking about it, and talked with a few folks about it. And my answer finally came back to me. Opportunity! Not just opportunity, but equal opportunity. I don’t mean special treatment to be “fair”, I mean, the SAME opportunities.

I want the Opportunity to choose my own way, Opportunity to be who I want to be, Opportunity to raise my family and provide for them how I see fit, Opportunity to teach my girls true education, Opportunity to succeed, and the Opportunity to fail. I want the Opportunity to learn.

If Steve Jobs is allowed to create Apple in his parents backroom, I should be allowed the SAME opportunity to build the company I want to build. I don’t want handouts, because what happens when those handouts dry up? I wouldn’t know how to get more of it. I want to try, succeed, fail, and learn how to do.

The American Dream, to me, is not owning a home, having a job, getting married, or having kids, it’s that it offers the possibility to do and have ALL of those available to everyone who is willing to do what is needed to achieve them. The American Dream has leveled the field by allowing for all to have an equal opportunity to achieve what they want. Not the same stuff as everyone else, but the same opportunities that everyone else has.

I do not want handouts. Yes, it is nice and easy if things I needed/wanted were just handed to me. But what happens when the supplier of the handouts no longer has the means to give those handouts. I would have no way of knowing how to get that money, food, or service. And who’s to say that the supplier of the handout can’t decide to just take it back, then where am I?

That is why I want to provide for myself and my family. I want to work for my stuff, money, food, house, whatever. And when I don’t know how to provide for myself, I want to figure it out, I want to learn how to do “the thing.” Call a friend and have them teach me how to do “the thing,” that way I can do it for myself the next time.

The American Dream is the leveling of the playing field, through opportunity. By opening up the opportunity for each and every human being to have the legal right to create the life they want to have. Imagine if Steve Jobs would have lived in North Korea, Apple would not exist today.

The American Dream IS opportunity.