Rebuilding the American Dream

By Richard Thayer

There’s a good possibility you haven’t heard of it yet. It was evidently officially launched back in February of this year. I just heard about it this past week thanks to MoveOn and The Washington Post.

It’s called the American Dream Movement and it’s being headed up by Van Jones, (photo by Carlos Osorio-AP) Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a former member of the Obama White House. You may recall, if your memory is better than mine, that he stepped down from his position there in 2009 because of all the fuss Republicans were making about his being an “activist.” Heaven forbid we should have an “activist” in Washington, DC, especially a “liberal” one. Basically, it’s a thinking man’s/woman’s tea party movement. It’s for those who are unhappy with the way things are going in Washington and around the country, what with the economy being stagnant, joblessness hovering around the 10 percentile mark, collective bargaining being disallowed in one state after another, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security being targeted for privatization, and other federal and state-supported programs being axed for the sake of “saving the economy.”

Even though it has gotten off to a slow start, it looks like the American Dream Movement is finally gaining some traction and momentum. Last week The Washington Post ran an article on the movement and its leader, Van Jones. In addition, web sites have been created to tout the new movement: The American Dream Movement, Rebuild the Dream, and MoveOn.org.  Richard Trumpka, President of the AFL-CIO, has made a video trumpeting the new progressive movement.

In The Washington Post’s “The Fix,” Jones is quoted as saying that he and the movement’s other organizers can do what the tea party has done. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.”

Noting that polls have shown that tea party participants tend to be wealthy and well-educated, Jones says the American Dream Movement is aimed at reaching those at the other end of the socio-economic spectrum such as the unemployed, those facing foreclosure on their homes, those whose bargaining rights have either been taken away or are in the process of being taken,  and those who don’t believe that Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” is the path we need to be on.

At the present time MoveOn is organizing house meetings for July 16 and 17, the purpose of which is to discuss the current state of the economy and set priorities for getting the nation back on track. Their goal is to have a house meeting in every one of the countries 435 congressional districts.

Among the steps being advocated for renewing and redeeming the American Dream are these:

  • Increase revenue for America’s government sensibility by making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share.
  • Reduce spending responsibly by cutting the real fat–like corporate welfare for military contractors, big agriculture and big oil.
  • Simultaneously protect the heart and soul of America–our teachers, nurses, and first responders.
  • Guarantee the health, safety and success of our children and communities by leaving the muscle and bone of America’s communities intact.
  • Maintain the American Way by treating employees with dignity and respecting their right to a seat at the bargaining table.
  • Rebuild the middle class–and pathways into it–by fighting for a “made in America” innovation and manufacturing agenda, including trade and currency policies that honor American workers and entrepreneurs.
  • Stand for the idea that, in a crisis, Americans turn TO each other–and not ON each other.

To see a video of Van Jones talking about rebuilding the American dream, go here. And to sign up to host a meeting at your home in July, go here.


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