Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is the American Dream?

Having finished the rewrite on my upcoming novel, I've finally found some time to do some reading in all formats: books, magazines, and internet news.

I came across an interesting article called Deporting the American dream.

Curious, I read it, and found it was about the Salvadoran deportees, and their re-acculturation into Salvadoran society. First, I have to say, I'm completely clueless about the whole deportation thing. Mainstream media makes it sound like this never happens. So I read on, wondering, what does happen once an immigrant is deported. How do they reestablish themselves into a country they might not have lived in for years?

The article answers some of these questions, quoting deportees on how difficult it is to get used to a different, non-American way of life. But, mostly the article talks about how they have taken American ways back to their country, and how they are unaccepted by their society. Yet admired by some as well.

But what are these "American ways"? A gang culture. Tattoos and hip hop.

This is what they took back. After reading this, I couldn't help but question what those things have to do with the "American Dream". If that is all they were exposed to in America, and the only things they were able to take away with them, our country is in serious trouble. Used to be that people would think of progress, and a positive work ethic when they thought of America. When my father would think about returning to Argentina and leaving America, the things he knew he would miss were things like being able to get a job anytime he needed one and make money for his family. Or having access to the newest and best technology. Then of course there were material things that he had gotten used in this country that would be harder to come by in Argentina. And if he had returned, he would have been an asset to his birth country. They would have been lucky to get an citizen with American traits back.

Now, it seems, Latin American countries dread getting their Americanized countrymen back.