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Happy fifth everybody!


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By Micky Leonard



Well, it’s happened again. America’s birthday has come and gone and she’s another year older. Songs were sung, beers were drunk and  good times and hot dogs rolled. That oh-so-inspiring holidays where young and old alike can revel in what it is to be American and go to bed at night dreaming that oh-so-American of dreams.

Well, here’s the thing: I’m not so sure I dig that dream. Frankly, it’s getting a little old to me. Now, before you start misquoting the Declaration and hurling Budweiser cans at me, hear me out.

Politicians have called the American Dream a promise — a promise that if you work hard and give it your all, then this land of opportunity will heartily reward you for your toils. This is obnoxious.

It’s obnoxious because if you turn this opportunity down, even in the slightest of ways, then you’re automatically scoffed at and scorned. You immediately become THAT guy who chose not to take advantage of his opportunity. You become THAT guy who turned down the dream that you’ve been so lucky to be born into.

Your parents must concern themselves with shrug-shouldered explanations to their friends as to why their kid isn’t a doctor or lawyer. They begin to wonder where in their child-rearing they went astray. Were there not enough baseball games? Did we send him to school dressing too dorky? Most likely it was that crummy community he grew up in where all the kids are hooligans and there aren’t enough churches.

Your phone starts ringing off the hook with questions as to why you haven’t gotten a “real” job yet. Why haven’t you started a 401(K) and had three kids yet?! Why haven’t you become an acupuncturist like all of your little friends? Well to quote a great ancestor of Mulan (who knew a little something about dreams), “we can’t ALL be acupuncturists!”

It’s the pressure. The expectation. Sure, in the United States we are lucky and blessed to have opportunities all over the place. But first of all, let’s not get carried away and call this dream a promise or have any expectations that it is always going to work out.

I think a certain salesman can tell you a thing or two about that. Oh wait, he can’t.  He’s dead.

Now, hopefully through this rather rude hyperbole you’ve begun to see my point. America’s awesome and we should try not to be such little punks and hippies all the time. But let’s just calm down a little bit with this dream nonsense.

So to young people I say this: if you want to be president or CEO or something, go for it and good luck, my man. Or, if you want to lay about and work at RadioShack your whole life, that’s cool too. It’s all good man.

And to parents, teachers and politicians I say shut up already! You’re unoriginal and super annoying and we young people are tired of it all.

Figure out a new way to inspire or get re-elected. And let’s just calm down a bit, it’s all going to be fine. 

Thank you and happy fifth of July, everybody.

­— mileonar@indiana.edu

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