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I Want My American Dream Back

I Want My American Dream Back
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New York (The Hawk): As a little Jewish boy in the streets of Baghdad

I was looked upon by Arab boys my age as inferior.

I became accustomed to it as if it were a natural phenomenon

which I could do little to change.

When my family and I landed in Israel

following the historic exodus of the Iraqi Jews

I did not understand why we were uprooted to go to a foreign land.

But even at that tender age of nine or ten

I felt that being among other Jewish boys

I would no longer be looked down upon;

but that was not the case.

I wondered why, why?

'We are Sephardic Jews,' my brother told me

'the Ashkenazi Jews do not think of us as equal'

and so, living among my fellow Jews did not change my plight.

I left Israel to study in Europe

and could not help but look back but in anger.

To my chagrin, though not as much to my surprise

here too, in the cradle of Western democracies,

racism and discrimination were just under their skin.

And I could feel it deep in my veins.

In France I was seen as an undesirable intruder.

In England, a foreigner, a stranger.

Though I loved the European culture and their way of life

Europe was not a welcoming home

To meet my yearning desire.

All the while I had been hearing about the "American dream"

The magic, the sound these two words exude

wholly captured my imagination.

Going back to the lands that rejected me

was no longer the path I'll travel

as my longing to reach the American shores

was the only thing that was anchored in my mind.

I imagined America as the land of the free

that gave voice to the forgotten.

Where race, color, and creed do not matter

and human rights are guarded with zeal.

Where the ingathering of all cultures and people made it richer

and human resources and talent knew no limits or constraints.

Where opportunity awaits the able

and generosity is extended to the needy.

Where everyone is equal before the law

and political differences are valued to make America better.

Where sacrifices are willingly made to right the wrong

and morals and fortitude guide its leaders.

Where caring about friends and allies is the hallmark of the nation

and opposing oppression near and far is the emblem that distinguished America.

This is the character of America,

This is the soul of America.

This is what made America great

The America that gave me a home

The America that fulfilled my dreams.

These were the ideals that held Americans together

and with all that America stands for and believes in.

America was never and is not a perfect union

and every president—from Lincoln to Nixon

has transgressed in one form or another.

But then America's strive to live up to its ideals

has and will always be as if it were a new endeavor

and no country in human history

has risen to govern with such a vision and resolve

placing the right of the individual at the core of its constitution.

With all of its faults and failings

Two hundred and forty years of the American experience

have made America the beacon for all nations.

Young and old, large and small countries

looked at America with awe and admiration.

Never has it occurred though to the multitude of Americans

that one man, in four short years

would nearly shatter everything that America stood for.

He sullied the country's character

and fouled its soul.

He gravely injured its revered institutions

and battered its unity as one nation.

He alienated Americans from one another

and basked in the polarization and division he gleefully fostered.

He betrayed America's friends and allies

and cozied up to its adversaries and foes

He tarnished America's exceptionalism and grace

and sacrificed its greatness

on the altar of his illusions and shame.

Trump is cunning, cruel, and corrupt,

deranged, delinquent, and deceptive

He is a narcissist, white supremacist, and racist

a bigot, brutal, and beastly.

Not a single maligning word in the English dictionary

does not fit Trump's personality and demeanor.

Four more years of Trump

will irreparably impair America,

tear the country asunder,

weaken its exemplary institutions,

sow chaos, trepidation, and fear

threaten liberty and the freedom of the press

and gravely poison the socio-political order.

Four more years of Trump in power

will permanently squander America's leadership role,

bankrupt America's moral standing,

embolden America's enemies,

compromise the security of our allies,

and leave America's foes to cheer its decline.

No man should be allowed to destroy America's noble experience.

His enablers—the Republican leadership

their deafening silence is nothing short of treason.

History will condemn them for having sold their country

by putting their personal and party interest before the nation's.

They are so intoxicated with power

caring less where America will be after four more years of Trump.

No, America will never be the same

if they are allowed to crush the once-cherished American dream.

And as long I can discern right from wrong

I will fight alongside millions of my fellow Americans

to restore America's greatness and grace

Because I want my American dream back.

Updated : 2 Nov 2020 2:34 PM GMT
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Alon Ben-Meir

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.


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