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The American Dream Is Still Alive

Watching the news these days is depressing:

Congress does little to nothing. Ugly hatred reveals itself as adults yell at YMCA camp kids, thinking they are undocumented minors. Our president admits that our country tortured detainees post 9/11. Corporations seem to be granted more rights and more tax breaks while families struggle to pay for the basics.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good or even believe that good is out there.

Last week, at a celebration of new U.S. citizens, I was reminded what makes the United States so great. The event was for the newly formed New American Pathways. They work with refugees to help them adjust to a new life, new freedom, and a new culture. Thanks to them, my faith in the American Dream was restored.

A woman who was born in Bhutan, but raised in Nepal, was a citizen of neither country. She finally found a home in the United States. Literally. She and her husband, also a new U.S. citizen, just purchased a home in the Atlanta area.

A man from Cuba told the audience about how, when he was just 10 years old, his family was prepared to fly to the U.S. from the airport in Havana. Just a few moments before take-off, the family was told that only the boy could go. Knowing that life was getting more difficult in Cuba, his parents made the unimaginable decision of having their son go before them. They had no way of knowing it would take four years before they would be reunited. The 10-year-old boy grew up to be the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

People still come to the United States, seeing our country as a safe-haven. They don’t come for a handout, they don’t come to take advantage of us. They come because they have no hope in their home country. No hope for an education, no hope for a job, no hope for respect, no hope for their own safety.

The United States still represents great hope for people throughout the world. Are we a perfect country? Of course not. But to quote one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Hope remains alive in the United States and because of that, the American Dream is also alive.

– Tracie