Sunday, August 31, 2014

The American Dream…It Must Live On

"You don't have to see the first staircase, just take the first step."
            -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Currently we live in a culture where the “American Dream is dying”. It’s literally becoming something completely out of reach for the majority of the American population. Yet, this is the entire notion our country was founded on, an ideal:"If you work hard enough you, you and your family will have a live a good and comfortable life". It used to be that if you worked hard and saved your money you could work your way into the middle class.  Yet, the middle class is slowly disappearing.  Costs are rising, food and healthcare costs are too high, minimum wage still does not match the cost of living, housing prices are still depreciating, taxes continue to rise. And, while the job market is gradually improving, the recovery process is still too slow.  

Americans continue to grind it out each and every day with the hope of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Yet, these hard working American families are struggling everyday to make ends meet with no end in site. The bills and debt are never-ending. 

As a country, we need to look to our future. We need to take a stand to build a better future for each other. And most importantly for our youth and the generations to come.  We can do this by refocusing our priorities and our goals.

We need to stop glorifying celebrities, fame, and million dollar salaries for professional athletes and movie stars. Yes, these people provide a wonderful service of entertainment and distraction. But what about our teachers, school janitors, firefighters, police officers, postal workers, EMT’s, therapists, nurses, non profit workers, and everyone else that goes to work every day to make our world a better place without any thanks and barely making ends meet? Why is our society so backwards? Why does television, Twitter, and social media glorify these people? Why does NBC Nightly News only cover one “feel good story” at the end of the segment, after all of the devastation from world recapped from the day? At least it's a start. When people watch these segments on television and social media, we always want more. Let's make these stories and our focus, be on the positive changes that we need to start making in our country. 


If we focus on education, we can focus on educating our children to have the knowledge to create, compete, and be successful in a global market. They can design better infrastructures for our roads and bridges. Improve healthcare, expand scientific research, fight & cure diseases, and even improve our technology and national security systems. As well, as focus on our environment, farming, and global policy.  Our children are our future. If we focus on education we can change not only our nation, but our international global position. As well, we can decrease our massively over populated criminal population by motivating children at a younger age by starting preschool age children in school and motivating them early. 
There is extensive research to support the benefits of this idea.

"We can't always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."
           -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Besides education, we live in a country where there is no excuse for anyone to be without food, clothes, or shelter.  There is extreme poverty, within the United States and throughout the world.  This should not be acceptable to us, and we NEED to take a stand. We can repurpose, recycle, and redistribute our resources. We can set-up community involvement and advocate that we ALL get involved for the benefit everyone.  If we do this it will benefit the whole world. Look at the benefits of Global Citizen # and the excellent tactics they are using to get people involved.

Current Statistics (Only a few average household expenses to consider):
·      Currently since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been $7.25.  In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two year period.[13] The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House.[14][15][16] (Per Wikipedia).
·      Rent in the “10 Most Busy/Expensive Metropolitan Areas” average $769 for 240-450 square feet (BUT the benefit was great public transportation and easy walking).
·      Healthcare insurance premiums average $325/person for each plan (this is a very conservative estimate) and this does not account for doctor visits, medications, dental/vision costs, or an incidents.
·      Cost to feed a family of 4: According to the US States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition and Policy and Promotion- The Average Monthly Cost for a family of 4 with two parents between the ages of 19-50 and two children, one between the age of 6-8 and one between the age of 9-11 is about $965/month.
·      According to USA Today, the cost to raise a child born in the year 2013 is estimated to be $245, 340. This cost is meant to include food, shelter, and other expenses until the age of 18. 
·      Costs not included: Owning a home, car expenses (gas, insurance), television, cable, internet, college tuition, utilities, emergency expenses, leisure activities, fun outings, vacations.

****As you can see a family that has a family member out of work or that is trying to get by on minimum wage or a wage very close to it, is NOT getting by. NOT even close.  They are struggling and only surviving by assistance programs if available.  WE MUST DO SOMETHING.  

This is no way to live, and people are losing hope which is even worse.  You must always have hope and be able to feel like you can have a dream and a way out. Unfortunately right now this does not seem to be the sentiment. 

There are elections.  We can vote. We can write our representatives, congressman and women, senators, and become politically active in the causes we believe in. Please help me have a voice to make a change. I truly believe we can make a difference. It’s time we make fresh start and focus on what truly matters in our country. 

This is our future.  We can no longer afford the bickering about political parties.  We need to come together, to work together, for each other.  That’s it.

We may not achieve everything we dream, but we will not achieve anything unless we dream."
         -Author Unknown

We must find a way so that people feel like they can continue to dream.  We cannot let the American Dream die. If it does, our American culture and all it stands for will go along with it.  We are resilient, but something larger than life will be lost and future generations depend on us to regroup and #reprioritize what our nation is quickly losing.  

Throughout history there have been some inspirational speeches that have given people fortitude, hope, and yes, inspiration. Please read these words and find a way to envision your life as you would if there were no boundaries. Now LIVE IT!

Famous lines from speeches (My personal favorites), compliments of TIME and Wikipedia:
1.    Jim Valvano: On March 13, 1993, shortly before his death, Jim Valvano gave an acceptance speech for the Arthur Ash Courage and Humanitarian Award at the ESPY Awards, presented by ESPN. He said he was creating The V Foundation for Cancer Research. He then went on to say the foundation's motto would be "Don't Give Up . . . Don't Ever Give Up."
Even though he was told his time to speak was up, he kept speaking. And during this time, he said the following to a room full of people moved to emotions beyond this realm:
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.[14]
Mr. Valvano's ESPY acceptance speech is legendary, to this day. He closed by saying, "Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all." He received a standing ovation from the ESPY crowd.
2.   Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, 1775: Patrick Henry: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! — I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
3.    Fredrick Douglass, The Hypocrisy of American Slavery, 1852: "Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future."
4.    Abraham Lincoln, From the Podium at the Gettysburg Address, 1863: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
5.    Susan B. Anthony, Women's Rights to the Suffrage, 1873 From the Podium: “"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people — women as well as men."
6.    President John F. Kennedy’s, Inaugural Address, 1961 from the Podium: President Kennedy “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
7.    President Lyndon B. Johnson, The American Promise, 1965 from the Podium: "There is no moral issue. It is wrong — deadly wrong — to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer."

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living
someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — 
which is living with the results of other people's
thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions
drown out your own inner voice. And most
important, have the courage to follow your heart
and intuition. They somehow already know what 
you truly want to become. Everything else is 
            -Steve Jobs

 ~"Let's Dream the American Dream"~Stephanie Puryear 2014


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  2. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
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    Keep Posting:)