The American Dream
First, if you happen to be an American, read all three of these articles; something I took for granted is in fact odd, and maybe even rare. The assumption that we all will have our own piece of any dream is primarily a Yankee invention.
Perhaps a definition is in order: The American Dream is the idea that you will have a reasonable, stable job, be able to work hard and buy your own little place. Your children will not only live better than you but they will live longer. They will attend college and lead a life you never had.
Despite what Trump’s constituency would have you believe, America is already a great country. As write this I’m in a jet flying from Istanbul to Washington and I happen to know of what I speak.
And I’m not the only one: The US takes in millions of immigrants and they all want a piece of this dream. The idea that you can move from another country, put down roots and create a better life for your family is not simply some dream, it happens thousands of times a day.
As you know, the American Dream is under real stress. The middle class has not only stagnated, it is shrinking and most folks are dropping out the bottom. These people are under economic duress and it is only getting worse.
If you want to know why so many are angry, consider the loss of the American Dream. A loss whipped-up by those who want to divide and win.
My Russian dream
What is my Russian dream?
I am not going to talk it personally because these things are too individual and, I believe, have no connection to national identity. I’d add one word to the question and this is how it sounds now.
What is my Russian national dream?
In May 1994, after 9 months spent at Baylor University, Waco, TX, as a 19-year old foreign exchange student, I got back home, full of my American memories and experiences. So, being again on home ground, I was surprised – very positively – by the energy of the people and the place. Being in downtown Moscow just 10 hours away from NYC, I could compare it and you know what? Personally, Moscow beat was pounding louder! Just when I was leaving, in August 1993, Russia looked really depressing. Now it was back to life, full of motion and energy.
As a new kid in town after a comparatively long break, I could actually feel how the country is reviving. At least, in Moscow. You could feel it in the air.
So that was my Russian dream: to live in my home country, in a big proud country that accepts the right values and turns its face to people, not to some ideology. A country where people would live, not just survive. It would be too simple to draw direct comparisons with America, but I felt like Russia was on its way: getting back to be a ‘normal country’, open to the world, ready for challenges, building up the future.
This is how I felt in the 1990s and early 2000s: we are getting back, we’re accepting the world and the world is accepting us. Being a part of the whole picture, no more strange Russians building Communism or something else that doesn’t really fit human nature.
I’ve got friends all over the world, from the United States to Nepal and from Japan to North Cyprus. So I’ve always felt myself as part of a bigger picture. Like living in a global village.
Now it is all getting away: Russia is trying hard to once again become a pariah, just like in the Soviet times. Not an Iron Curtain, but some kind of curtain is introduced again, dividing it between ‘us’ here in Russia and ‘them’, some distant strangers or enemies, across the border.
The country is now looking back, looking for some ‘greatness’ in the past, forgetting how bright the future could be and that this bright future is being made today.
What a load of BS! It feels like I am losing my home, a comfortable place to live in.
I want to be back home and want my dream back.
The British Dream
Don’t bother looking….
I had never heard of “The British Dream”. Not until I was made aware that the British prime minister spouted on about it in one of her recent speeches.
She needn’t have bothered. She was rightly ridiculed. There has never been a British Dream.
Yes, I have heard of the American Dream, and no doubt, my cowboy friend will reveal all in his missive.
But a British Dream? No.
Maybe, because the original Americans were all, in effect, immigrants, they have found it relatively easy to welcome different people over the centuries to help make their country great.
Us Brits, on the other hand, fear immigrants. We find it repulsive that they come to our country, start off on the generous benefit system, then look jealously at them as they make good. As if they have had an advantage over us, when in fact all they have done is work their socks off. In the meantime, us Brits stand aside and wonder why we are not owed a living because, damn it, we’re Brits!!
To prove how there cannot be a “British Dream”, let me tell you a tale of how I lived for over three decades in a small British island called Jersey. It is a mere 14 kilometres west to east, and just 9 north to south.
My wife and I gave everything to this island that we could during our 30 years there, but always, there seemed to be a tacit, but nevertheless, deep underlying resentment. The most common phrase we heard when questioning anything we thought was not right, was: “There’s a boat in the morning”, meaning “You can leave this island whenever you want. And if you weren’t born here, we’d rather you leave.”
I was lucky enough to have a successful career as a broadcaster in Jersey with the BBC. But, even after five years following my retirement, I am still slagged off on local social media sites, because, “he wasn’t even local, he wasn’t born here.” How dare I have a responsible job, when I am not worthy, because I wasn’t born there?
Even today, this little rock has a position called the Bailiff, who is responsible for presiding over government sittings, but is also the island’s Chief Judge. Nowhere else on this planet would this conflict be acceptable, but we still have the majority of the islanders, and their politicians, not wishing to disturb the status quo. “We want to leave our grandchildren something, don’t let us lose this, it’s the Jersey Way” one ex-politician posted recently.
The smaller the area, the more small-minded we become.
The British Dream? There are far too many Brits who are intolerant, bigoted and prejudiced to ever offer anything that would resemble a British Dream…….