American Dream by Claudia Brennan

| America, image by Claudia Brennan, 2012 |

When the pilgrims arrived on the shore of the new world, they found a secularization of the Garden of Eden; a place that would give birth to a Dream that would soon permeate every facet of American society. The American Dream: the search for an elusive state of utopia stands alone in its capacity to function as a lingua franca that transcends race, class, gender, religion and time.

And although today this same dream may operate as a cognitive bias that allows Americans to withstand the trials of modern existence, it remains a distillation of hope that exists as the cornerstone of the national character. Each day, each venture, each person can, in America, be loaded with possibility. This possibility may be a promise of fulfillment and communion that never eventuates, but yet the optimism remains. Pursuits of beauty, truth, character, under the benevolence of the red, white and blue, allows everyday existence to become what Hunter S. Thompson would refer to as “a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country.”

The American Dream is an illusory conception of reality that imbues living in the nation with a quality of excitement that far outweighs anything offered by neighboring nations, and cements the United States’ status as a place that demands attention. If there is one thing that I have come to understand from spending time in America, it is why the nation is so loaded with iconography, patriotism and immortalized in mythology.

In the face of overwhelming nihilism, America serves you with a dose of optimism that is difficult to fight.

Claudia Brennan

2 comments

  1. I’m such a lurker. . .but had to say how much I enjoyed this post. The Super Bowl extravaganza yesterday gives certain muscle to Thompson’s phrase of “a gross, physical salute.”

    But we do also revere the Pollyana that is inherent in our national character, and also resides in mine.

  2. Thanks for your comment Elizabeth. My 18 year old niece wrote this piece. Here in Australia we are always searching for a national identity and I think Claudia found on her recent visit an appreciation of the “Pollyana” character which is sometimes hard to find in Australia!

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