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IN the midst of one of the worst recession in the United States, I would rather reminisce about the good times in my more than 42 years sojourn in the Big Apple.

In 2006 while still a state senator, President Barack Obama wrote a memoir, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”

It was this interpretation of the American Dream that helped establish his statewide and national reputations.

His memoir was the No. 1 New York Times bestseller list.

Some years ago, Karen Davila of The Filipino Channel interviewed this writer for her show in the Philippines who posed the question:

Have you lived the American Dream?

Puzzled by her query, I blurted out a mangled reply not to her liking which prompted her to delete my interview in her program.

What is the American Dream?

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success.

In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, “Epic of America: The American Dream,” is the dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.

It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages but merely a dream of social orders in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The ethos today simply indicates the ability, through participation in the society and economy, for everyone to achieve prosperity.

According to the dream, this includes the opportunity for one’s children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers.

It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the prior restrictions that limit people according to their class, race or ethnicity. (From Wikipedia)

My American Dream

Based on the above definition of the American Dream, I recall two times when I experienced the euphoria of the American Dream.

First, in my two decades working with a multinational company in New York City and Connecticut, my biographer penned a romanticized memoir of my American Dream.

Second, in my 17 years stint with the Filipino Reporter, I realized my second American Dream before the onslaught of the Great Recession of recent years.

Author’s comment

Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino journalist, claimed that on the surface he had built a good life and lived the American Dream.

The concept of the American Dream applies only to native-born American citizens or legal residents of the United States, not to undocumented aliens.

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