Something funky with WordPress today, no paragraph breaks.
noun, often attributive \ˈdrēm\
Definition of DREAM
1: a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep — compare rem sleep
3: something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality <the new car is a dream to operate>
4 a : a strongly desired goal or purpose <a dream of becoming president> b : something that fully satisfies a wish : ideal <a meal that was a gourmet’s dream>
I’ve highlighted the pertinent definitions above. Dream describes an idealistic state, most often seen during sleep, in which reality is suspended. Nowhere in the definition does it mention that a dream is something that is promised, or even likely.
A dream works without the constraints of reality, allowing the imagination to work with “what if” (1). It is accessible during waking periods, during which we can use our imaginations to find ways to make reality conform with this dream (2 a&b). It is something beautiful, as opposed to nightmares, that we are motivated to make true (3). That beauty makes it desirable, as a goal or purpose, so that if accomplished will satisfy our desires (4a&b).
My dreams have been fleeting, in that once accomplished, they were difficult and sometimes impossible to sustain. It works better in a group, with a shared dream, until the various members of the group interpret the utilization of the dream in ways that cause it to fail.
Sometimes accomplishing a dream and having it fail can be an inspiration to others, who dream to not make the same mistakes, Sometimes it’s disheartening, but what is not attempted is not achieved.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his dream. A land fulfilling it’s promise of equal opportunity. An audience of three hundred thousand people listened to him that day, respectably gathered and listening to every word. Dr. King wanted the American Dream to be accessible to every citizen of the United States. That everyone would be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin.
Unfortunately, at about the same time in Oakland, CA, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale had their own dream. Their dream was of the Black Panther Party, a militant group that would take what was not given to them. There’s a reasonable argument that they only took what they deserved, but as we’ve seen repeatedly around the world, when you take something by force, it is not given willingly.
Nonetheless, progress was made. Some well meaning programs didn’t work out so well, and in an attempt to restore equality, some people were found to be less equal than others. Resentment kept racism alive.
Today, you can walk into any office and see Black CEOs where once the only Black employees were janitors. You can also see blocks and blocks of black ghettos, where families tied to welfare have given up. There are also white ghettos, but they don’t make it onto the six o’clock news.
Dr. King dreamed of equal opportunity. That has been achieved. But opportunity is not a measure of outcome, and low income children of all races fail to see the value of working for their dreams. My town is color blind, the only color that they see is green. Wealthy people of all races live side by side, their children play together and will go to the same colleges. In Philadelphia, children of all races fail in school, use drugs, and get into gangs. They do not have jobs waiting for them. They think they have been denied the dream, but they have been denied the ability to understand the dream. They think the dream is to have all that stuff rich folks have. The opportunity denied them is not institutional, but familial. Very few children rise from poverty, and after generations of poverty the dream is lost. They have dreams, but no skills to accomplish them.
My dream is of a world in which family is the most cherished of possessions. Parents who work hard so that their children will be better off than they were. Parents who see the value in a one income family, where one parent cares for the home and the other cares for the bank book, and neither cares about having the newest car, or biggest house, or biggest television sets. Where children are taught the value of education rather than the value of having the newest Iphone. A world in which “want” and “need” are not synonyms.
There are poor parents in the wealthiest neighborhoods. Mom’s out all day at the tennis club, Dad’s gone all weekend playing golf, kids shuffled between activities, and no one sits down together for a meal and discusses their lives. If you don’t teach children the value of family, how are they going to build families of their own?
There will always be people without money. But there doesn’t have to be poor people. “Poor” is a state of mind, “broke” is a state of economics. As long as there is love, no one needs to be poor.
So that’s my dream, a world in which everyone loves each other. Won’t be happening in my lifetime, but I can plant the seeds.
- I have a dream too (thetalentmill.wordpress.com
- WE Have a Dream: revisiting Dr. King’s speech, 50 years later (evergreeninstitute.wordpress.com)
- 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech (thoughtcatalog.com)
- I Still Have a Dream (dashrism.com)
- We Have a Dream (dreamblueblog.wordpress.com)