So there's a commercial on TV that really bugs me--it's put out by the National Realtors Association, and it's about home ownership. Seen it? If not, it's a young boy and his grandpa, and the boy says someday he'll own a house, and the grandfather, in a sad and very resigned voice says, "I hope so." The narrator goes on to say that the American Dream of home ownership is is peril.
I have a few issues with this. First off, it's highly negative and resigned. Like there's nothing to be done. It offers no solutions to the perceived problem. It's leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
But the bigger issue I have with it is this: who says home ownership IS the American Dream (yes, that should be capitalized, go with me on this)? America has long been the "Land of Opportunity." It's a place where all other people flock in order to make something. And I suppose that owning a home is something. But as far as a national dream, I'm not sure owning homes cuts it anymore.
Personally, home ownership is not something that I'm overly attached to. I do appreciate a roof over my head, but I don't have to own it. Owning stuff ties us down, it demands our time and attention. And to be honest, I'd rather spend my resources doing other stuff. I want the freedom to go if I need to.
Freedom. That's what I think of when I think of the American Dream. The chance to do what I want, the chance to make something of myself. The opportunity to live to the best of my ability. To do what I was created for.
Has the American Dream shifted? Are more of us saying "no thanks" to the old dream of owning stuff, of staking a claim? If you look at my generation and those following us, I would tend to say yes. I don't think it's wrong to want to own a home, I just think that it's not for everyone.
What do you think? What is your American Dream (or Canadian, or whatever your nationality might be!)?