The American Dream is the belief that you can obtain success through hard work.
Regardless of your lot in life, upward mobility is possible.
I believe in this concept, but I also acknowledge that the deck is stacked against the majority.
Clinton is as good an example as any. If you have money, a degree from the local college and grew up here, you have a big jump on most folks when it comes to getting ahead in this town.
Money gives you power. Some use it for good, others not so much. Some with power tend to throw their weight around.
You see this a lot in politics. You see it at the national level and at the local level.
And you see a lot of corruption, because money can lead to pride.
Pride leads to a fall. If not in this life, the next.
Now it is OK to have money, but it is not OK to let money turn you into a jackass.
I’ve met some really good-hearted people in Clinton who have money and care about their fellow man. And I’ve met several jackasses that have power and care only about themselves.
The American dream can happen for the poor, but it is tougher and takes longer.
Case in point, the Martha Dendy project. Great potential at revitalizing a community, but nothing done, not because of race, but because most of those with money in Clinton care more about their part of town.
I don’t think anybody would argue with me that a Presbyterian College degree goes a long way in Clinton. PC is a good school.
In other areas it is the same. Where you get your degree from carries a lot of weight.
Some people even have an air about where they went to school, as if it elevates them above the masses.
The right degree from the right place can certainly put you over. But those degrees usually cost a lot of money.
It’s what you know? Please, it’s always who you know. If you’re a Clinton native and have a homegrown surname, you have an advantage in town.
It’s that way all across the nation.
Not-from-around-here people are welcomed, but it takes time for most locals to warm up to outsiders.
And those on the outside looking in always have less pull than the natives.
Feudal society had three social classes — king, noble and peasant.
Class systems continue to this day — rich, middle and poor. There is not much of a middle class anymore in America, just like there is not much middle ground in America.
Clinton is no different than any other town.
I agree with Democrats on the fact that some are born with a better chance than others at the American Dream. I disagree that it is because of skin color, because it has everything to do with money and status. I know people of different skin color that live in poverty.
Still, the American Dream is attainable. It takes hard work, double the work if you don’t have the advantage of money and status.
Brian Whitmore is the publisher of The Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. Whitmore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.