WITH JORDANNA THIGPEN
The American Dream
By Jordanna Thigpen
June 30, 2006
It's easy right now to be outraged about the state of our nation.
Every day, multiple acute incidents and chronic suffering suggests
our collective failure as a society. This Fourth of July, reflection
on our best qualities can help us remember the American dream.
In the administrative offices of the San Francisco Superior Court
there is a replica of the original Betsy Ross Stars and Stripes.
Walking by it yesterday, I was struck by the significance of the
circle of 13 stars: a unified collective. That seems to be the
very essence of the evolving American dream.
But what is the American dream? Is it a dark, Boschian nightmare
from which we can't escape? Is it animated, or in black and white?
Right now, it is like the vague and slippery memory of a dream
that you have upon first awakening.
Let's celebrate America's innovation. We're innovative because
we have to be. For the vast majority of us, whether in this generation
or before, no one gave us anything: we had to design and build
and think for ourselves. In the marketplace of ideas, we're the
latchkey kid who goes home after school to "build stuff,"
working focused and alone, forgetting to eat dinner.
Our inventions have transformed the world as a result.
Let's celebrate America's motivation. Growing up hard has sharpened
and toughed our collective spirit. We want to make our cities
the best in the world, and we are trying so hard. We are hungry
It's the secret to our prosperity.
America is industrious in every sense of the word. Chemicals,
steel, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, high tech
our nation has
been built and prospered because of these industries. Say what
you will about some of them, but they have ensured infrastructure,
education, and employment.
The most successful have had strong rank-and-file union membership.
And finally, let's celebrate that America as the land of choice.
Our freedom here is the gossamer threads of our own Indra's Web.
Our civil liberties may currently be at stake, but our freedom
is unparalleled anywhere in the world.
The dream of America is a living spirit in each of us. It is
the dream of equality. It is the dream of respect and dignity
for all people. It is the dream of not just tolerance, but acceptance,
and yet love. It is the dream of living in peace.
This Fourth of July, can we take a collective step forward? Can
we commit to realizing our potential as a nation? Can we remember
why we came to exist as a nation in the first place? It can be
our highest duty, and our joyous burden, to manifest and celebrate
District 6 resident Jordanna Thigpen is an attorney, small
business owner and President of the San Francisco Small Business
Commission. You can usually find her at work and she doesn't get
to Ocean Beach often enough. Email Jordanna at email@example.com.