The American Dream Is Officially Dead

Trump isn’t destroying democracy. It was destroyed a long time ago.

biden, trump and symbols of american dream ArChe1993, lev radin, Heidi Besen and Orhan Cam via Shutterstock / Steve Knutson via Canva

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I’ve been grappling with the fact that we now have a convicted felon who is expected to become President. The only one standing in his way is an old man subject to memory lapses and verbal gaffes. 

There is no Lincoln, JFK, or even Obama around when we need an orator to inspire our country to greatness. Maybe it is just too late for that.  

That thought occurred to me the other day when I was bemoaning the unsustainability of elite college education with absurdly low admittance rates, tuition that will soon be a million bucks, and an arms race that includes Colby College in Maine building a $200 million gym for a student body of a thousand kids just because — even as these same schools scramble to cut legacy admittance because the data has revealed that the vast majority of the student body come from 0.1 percent of families. Or, they are elite athletes being exploited to get the 0.1 percent to give more. And if none of that works, the parents just buy off the coaches to pretend their kid is an elite athlete even if their performance and grades aren't up to par.


The networks of these elite college alumni dominate every aspect of American life. Yeah, you can still make it as a technology genius or a rock star or an NBA star in our country — but it’s more likely that you will get hit by lightning. There’s a reason Facebook was invented at Harvard.

They teach happiness courses at places like Harvard and Yale these days. Apparently, the affluent have realized, like the Romans, that gluttony has its limits.

Recent research points to the fact that happiness is closely correlated to wealth as long as basic security, food, shelter, safety, and decent living conditions are not met. The inflection point is a low number in a world filled with billionaires running the show — let’s call it a household income of $100K. After that, the correlation fades. The American capitalist system myth that ultra wealth buys ultra happiness proves to be patently false and those who reach the lofty mountaintop often find themselves crushed by this realization (see the death by suicide of billionaire Thomas Lee, who invented private equity).


But this is all-time idle chatter among the 350,000 Americans who are part of the monarchy. For the rest of the 350 million Americans, it’s utter rubbish.  

Layer on top of that this spring’s student encampments over the Middle East. I suspect most of America doesn't care what side these kids are on, just that they have the luxury to do such a thing. 

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The wars in the Middle East and in Ukraine are indeed horrific — but there’s a war here at home that is a heck of a lot more immediate for most Americans.

“If I was on the outside looking in, I would start a revolution at this point,” tumbled out of my mouth, even as a person of extreme privilege and generally liberal leanings.

That comment really stuck with me as I heard Trump's verdict. Why are more African Americans and women and young people supporting Trump despite the fact that he is patently racist, sexist and hardly relatable to young people?

In my city of Boston, the average net worth of a white family is on the order of $247,500. The net worth of an overage African American family is $8. On par with the rest of the country, a staggering percentage of black and brown men are incarcerated. 

I have a friend who runs a K-12 school in the poorest part of Boston for a thousand non-white kids (a failed school that's now a charter school). He defines success for his students as having a job six years after high school graduation. For his students, an elite liberal arts college education is a cruel joke.


Melinda Gates isn’t quitting the Gates Foundation to focus on supporting women because gender equity is getting better. It’s horrific.

And our young people, even the ones lucky enough to go to college, face dim prospects — and many are rebelling against the extremes of the progressive agenda in recent years, which favors political correctness over a living wage for all.

protester holding up a sign about change because american dream is dead Ground Picture / Shutterstock


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The reality is that the revolution that tumbled out of my mouth has been going on for a long time. I just was in denial. 

It started among displaced white men who no longer had any shot at that $100K threshold and has now spread to even traditionally disadvantaged groups who care less about Trump's absurd politics than ripping apart a corrupt system.  

Can you blame the Trump voters? Seriously — think about it.  

The concentration of wealth continues to accelerate. In 2020, billionaires in the United States control more wealth than the households that comprise the poorer half of the population. As of March 18, 2024, the 737 billionaires in the US had a combined wealth of $5.529 trillion, 87.6% more than the $2.947 trillion they held in 2020.


The 'American Dream' is officially dead.  

Trump has a very hard time telling the truth about most things. He is a despicable human in many ways. But his supporters don’t care about any of that. He’s the only one, in their view, willing to tell the truth about the hypocrisy that is America at this point. It’s a dark message bent on stealing elections and burning the capital to the ground.

But for the majority of Americans who have been left behind and lied to, destruction is better than more of the same.

Trump isn’t destroying democracy. It was destroyed a long time ago. And we are all standing around complicit in the erosion of equal opportunity and the decimation of the middle class.


I’ll vote for Biden. And I will puke if Trump gets elected. 

But I won’t blame anyone who votes for him.

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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.