Lost in Illusion?

Santa art for Penda

By Domingo Fortuna

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that a particular illusion is shared by more than two million people around the world. I asked myself: why is this happening? One day as I made my way through the crowd at the train station I saw a poster of a university that was encouraging people to choose a profession. The careers that were displayed on the poster were doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher, and architect. The poster made me understand that this wasn’t a coincidence, but rather an illusion.


The illusion of being “successful” is shared around the world. Here in the United State this illusion is called the “American Dream”. Such a dream drags people towards different levels of stress. The American dream is an unquestioned aspiration in our community. Those two words can define the whole life of a person who has spent his or her entire life trying to live this dream. Most people try to pursue happiness by achieving their goals in life, but at the end, happiness still seems to be far away.


The “American Dream” means slightly different things to different demographics or classes within our social structure. For example: for most American citizens the “dream” is an actual option, rather than an dream, since our government offers them a number of opportunities. In contrast, immigrants who try to trespass U.S. borders have a different definition of these words. For them the “American Dream” is their opportunity to have a new life. If we take a minute and check the average crime and poverty rates in different parts of the globe outside of the U.S. we can understand their reason for wanting to come to America.


Immigrants leave their loved ones behind and risk their lives to achieve the dream of a new life, but most of them don’t make it through. Their journey is overwhelmingly dangerous, but their desire is bigger than their fear. There is not an age requirement to become an illegal immigrant. Most of them are just children. People might think that their parents are irresponsible, but this is not the case. For some of them it is a choice and for others it is their only way to stay alive. In areas outside of the economically developed world, there are small communities that are constantly menaced by the violence connected with drug trafficking. In the news there are regular reports of suspiciously missing, and murdered people outside  the U.S. In Latin American countries the police have discovered massive pits full of human remains. Not only in Latin America, but also around the world people have found such disturbing discoveries.


The desire for a better future has been the death of millions. Among those millions are faces that you might love to meet, but regrettably their voices can no longer be heard. For me the “American Dream” is a nightmare because this dream can destroy the lives of many. It haunts me that people still think about the “American Dream” as a prize for hard work rather than as an illusion that never existed.

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