President Obama had this to say recently in a speech he gave in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (emphasis mine):
"If you're willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you've got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement,"
"That's all most people want," he said. "Folks don't have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream."
Did I just read a passage out of the Communist Manifesto? Small measure of the American Dream? What about all the American Dream? What happened? Is Obama now downsizing the American Dream? What's this nonsense about unrealistic ambitions? Who the hell is he to decide what realistic ambitions are?
Just as a reminder here is how Historian James Truslow Adams popularized the phrase "American Dream" in his 1931 book Epic of America:
The American dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of merely material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been much more than that. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.
Obama's comments above, oddly enough, reminds me of another speech given by another Democratic president talking down the American Dream - for your reading displeasure here is an excerpt from Jimmy Carter's Malaise speech:
There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others.
In other words, anyone who succeeds in this country has done so at the expense of others. Sound familiar? Collectivist hogwash! This country was built by people of unlimited ambitions, shooting for the moon and having the right to succeed or fail based on their abilities. Our current leaders see this another way, in their view you can succeed, just not too much.