Letters

The American Dream is about more than material comfort

Re “The New American Dream” (Opinion, Sept. 14): In the midst of the Great Depression, James Truslow Adams wrote, “[The American Dream] is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Indeed, while the Dream surely must involve some baseline level of material comfort — a safe home, three square meals, affordable health care — it must also be more than mere conspicuous consumption. As Martin Luther King Jr. declared, the Dream can only be achieved when all people are created equal; when people of different backgrounds sit together at the “table of brotherhood”; when freedom and justice reign across our land; and when our children are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

We millennials may not be the richest generation; but if we end up the happiest, the freest, the most tolerant, we will have accomplished something far greater for ourselves and for the world: reaffirming the true meaning of America’s eternal creed.

Andrew L. Kalloch

Portland, Ore.