I was encouraged to read “American Dream is Alive and Well” in the Feb. 8 Tribune. I am encouraged by its acknowledgement of much that is good about life in the USA. While I don’t trust all statistics used in opinion pieces, if even close to accurate, the high percentage cited of Americans who still believe in the American dream and find it attainable is encouraging. Likewise, the positive tone and attitudes of Americans expressed via the survey are actually consistent with those of the majority of family, friends and acquaintances in my American life. And I am encouraged that for so many, the American dream is defined by freedom, family, community and opportunity.
Reading most opinion and editorial pieces these days often leaves us little to find encouraging. The focus on American divisiveness, acrimony, insults and distrust of each other suggests that for many, the American dream may be dying. An example is the accompanying piece in the Feb. 8 Tribune about the president as role model (which naturally leads one to compare the role of many celebrities, athletes, CEOs and other politicians as models for youth in today’s society). Not encouraging.
As for me, I’m all in for the life of the American Dream. I want to continue to be honestly encouraged. Thanks for giving me such reading.
Gary J. Brennan, Arroyo Grande
More on American dream
Well, after reading Mr. Abrams’ opinion piece, “American dream is alive and well,” I’m relieved. I guess my concern over the increasing wealth inequality in our country was unfounded.
Samuel J. Abrams of the American Enterprise Institute has done a deep survey that finds that the American Dream is not really about social mobility or increased financial well being after all. It turns out that it is really more about being free to live as we wish.
Abrams reports that 90 percent of those earning over $100,000 have a positive outlook on this new American dream. Even 72 percent of those earning under $35,000 had a positive outlook. No specific mention was made of the feelings of the 4 percent of workers who earn minimum wage or less, but what the heck, it’s only three million workers.
Strangely, no mention was made of racial tension, substance abuse, mental illness, or gun violence — all of which I had naively taken to be signs of social unrest. I guess it will be possible for the top 1 percent of earners (who evidently still care about the pursuit of wealth) to safely continue their avaricious behavior without fear of a revolt from those on the short end of the stick.
Bruce T. Bevans, Atascadero
Health care for all isn’t ‘radical’
Marc Thiessen recently wrote a commentary titled “Schultz calls Democrats out for how radical their party is,” implying that he is in agreement with Schultz. The fact that many Democrats call for a health care system (single payer) that provides health care for all of its citizens is not a radical idea. It is a compassionate idea. To ask people to pay for-profit insurance companies high premiums when they are paid a minimum or near minimum wage is what is radical. No one should have to declare bankruptcy because they became ill.
Many in the Democratic Party are trying to avoid the concentration of wealth. The concentration of wealth goes hand in hand with the concentration of power. The concentration of both enhances plutocracy. Is it radical to favor democracy over plutocracy?
Democrats encourage a system that enables all eligible citizens to vote (a constitutional right). This is not radical. Some politicians devise systems which deny citizens their right to vote which is not only unconstitutional and criminal; it is also unpatriotic.
The above are examples of what Democrats and some Republicans stand for. They are morally, ethically and legally the right thing to do. To label them as radical is demagoguery.
Dr. John Zinke, Cambria