Friday, November 23, 2012

The American Dream

Well the United States of America has elected its President for the next four years. The brutally verbal presidential cat-fight is finally over. Many opinion leaders, trolls, analysts, volunteers, found themselves a job to do, thanks to the fierce presidential fight which lasted for over a year. Apart from doing routine chores, many of these passionate followers of the presidential elections have suddenly found nothing interesting to do. Making a sincere confession, I being one among them.

People chose status-quo. They chose the 'charismatic' for some and the 'incompetent' for others as the President of the supposedly most powerful country of the world. Did Americans make a correct decision, well, who am I to write about the right or the wrong. The only thing to cheer about is the triumph of democracy. In countries like India and the USA, which are the largest democracies of the world, it is the freedom of the people to vote that is the victor.

I am all of three months old in the Unites States and there could indeed be no other year better than the Presidential election period to experience the real America. Every American works toward fulfilling the American dream. According to James Truslow Adams (1931), an American writer and historian, the American dream is, "…life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. And there is no doubt how Americans truly live up to this dream. The election of a man, who created history by becoming the first African-American to be the president of the US way back in 2008, is reelected again for the next four years. What more evidence would we need to demonstrate Americans belief in diversity, equality, and love for the nation.

I may have got to play a small part as a volunteer during the presidential elections, but there's lots that I learnt in the process. The oozing passion of every American is indescribable in words. The freedom to cheer or jeer their presidential candidates openly in public is what I swear by. But all this said, it was thoroughly disappointing at a point when I was asked by a fellow American whether India is a democracy. The point when I was asked by a young lad how I spoke such good English in just 2.5 months of my stay in America, almost swept the floor beneath my feet. Following which, I spent almost 30 minutes with this guy illuminating him how English is the most popular language spoken in a multi-lingual country called India, which speaks over 22 languages. And how most of us learn English right from our mother's womb.

Wonder whether it is the self-sufficiency and the fiscal independence of America, which discourages Americans to be interested in what’s happening around the world. But again, the United States is a huge country, and it’s impossible to generalize.

Are sections of media to be held responsible for not informing people about the world beyond America? Or is media rightly doing its job of conveying to people what they want to hear/ read? Recently a reputed newspaper exacerbated the epidemic of dengue in India with a huge half page article. Another media paraded the slums in India and the growing poverty. In the last three months, I have not come across an article which talks about the prosperous side of India. So, the question I want to ask is…is media doing its job to be balanced and accurate about the happenings around the world?

However, today, there is a slight twist in the US administration’s foreign policy. With Asia “pivot", the United States has begun its initial engagements with countries in Asia-Pacific recognizing that most of the dominant issues of the twenty-first century will be decided by this region. America has realized that while it spends most of its money on post-conflict reconstruction, many states in the Asia-Pacific region were investing heavily in power-projection capabilities, naval and air force.  America has confessed that Asia pivot is linked profoundly to its own prosperity and that they have unique responsibilities in terms of maintenance of peace and stability.

The election may be over, but the campaigning continues to fix the huge debt burden that America is reeling under. Increase in tax and across the board spending cuts are proposed as the only way to prevent the economy to go back into recession. Well let’s see whether Congressional leaders are convinced with this debt reduction formula proposed by Obama. In a recent survey carried out by a discount coupon company, sixty-three percent of college graduates believed that the American Dream is dead with increased debt, inability to find work, and trouble finding affordable housing. 

Not only Americans but also the rest of the world wants America to come out from its multitrillion dollar deficit.  The world is a global village and we cannot afford a second fiscal cliff after Europe's failed attempt to overcome it. And for many Americans who have given up their American dream, they can hope to relive it once again.

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