“After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she?s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.” This is how President Reagan saw America, as a shining country. Our country shines so brightly because of “the American Dream.” The American dream is not just the rags-to-riches story nor manifest destiny; it?s about freedom and possibility.Our heritage is something special and unique. We have become the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world though a culmination of events and ideas: our revolution, the creation of our unique and long-lasting constitution and the strength of our people and leaders. Our place in history was cemented by our victories in World War II, the Cold War, and our reluctance to crumble on September 11.
At only 229 years old, our nation is considerably young. Yet, because the Constitution we signed into place has remained unlike every other government?s throughout the rest of the world, I will go out on a limb and say that I think we found something that really works.
Our country does not work because of a constitution; after all, it?s only words. Rather, our country works because of the people who believe in those words. One of our nation?s greatest aspects is that we are a melting-pot, filled with different cultures that all converge to form America.
The American dream still inspires people to take risks in the hope of making their life just a little bit better, and only in America is this possible. It is where an immigrant?s son born into nothing can create the most popular mouse ever. It is where a college dropout can invent technology that would transform our very lifestyles. It is where a young Texas girl can become American?s very first idol without ever taking a singing lesson.
However, there are those nay-sayers who spit on the “American Dream,” claiming it is only for the wealthy elites, those connected with affluent educations. I guess we will always have people like that, but they are certainly not the majority. The spirit of America lives on today, as we continue to spread our philosophy all over the world. People from Afghanistan and Iraq now have a sense of what we feel everyday. They are experiencing freedom and possibility for the first time because of the courage of America.
These last few years have been a great test on our way of life. America is an on-going experiment. How long can our values of freedom, capitalism and possibility last? But our nation continues to prosper, even though the evils in this world have tried to destroy us. As Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address, “We?re a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way.
But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours.” He certainly had a point, didn?t he? Where dreams are a possibility: that is America.
Rick Loughery is a junior majoring in political science.