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Doreen Clark Headshot

Mending the American Dream

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There seems to be much discussion, especially with our presidential election looming in the coming days, about what is not working in America. Whether voting for a Republican, Democratic or Independent candidate, descriptive words ring from the mouths of many in regard to the job crisis. Though all these words stem from a real place in what I will call the Office of Despair, they would be haphazardly filed in folders possibly labeled "uncertain," "underpaid," "underworked" and "lost." The file cabinet of melancholy justifiably highlights negativity and glass-half-empty metrics; however, our mindset may be detrimental to progress and the mending of The American Dream. We must ask, "What is working?"

Understanding that the crisis includes those who are out of work, those who are underemployed and those who are hanging by a thread to meet payroll, the crisis also includes those who have had to surrender their livelihood, have been consumed by the last morsel of their self-esteem and, most horribly, have relinquished all hope. Yet is it possible, in this election year, that the best way to rebuild (in addition to reform) is to remind those caught in the web of casualty and those beaten to believe they are no longer worthy, that we are a nation of talent, unparalleled know-how and, at the heart, believers in what is the basis of The Dream? We have the tools to work as a nation... again. Yet, America is at a fork in the road and it may be time to make a turbulent and difficult mental shift.

America has been built on pride and perseverance -- leading the way to what has become the land of opportunity. Yet when crisis depletes this foundation and morale becomes tattered, advancement becomes a difficult ladder to climb. The question being battled is this: "If hope is closed, why should we go there?" After all, when life is not good for many, the masses stop caring and the less we care, the less we do.

We can mend The American Dream once we realize the land of opportunity does not only refer to employment but to education and training. We are a nation that has the ability to find success in nothing more than an idea. There is potential in the ruins. Yes, politicians must create policies that help the small business and the entrepreneur, as these are rising out of the ashes of the crisis. But the real change is right before us and it is in our hands. After all, being tired of status quo may be the best ammunition to the successful mending of The American Dream.

We should be a glass-half-full nation, as we have built profitable brands through word-of-mouth, we have used technology to reach the masses and to inspire and we have found ways to fund visions...encouraging others along the way. The Dream is still before us. Positivity breeds productivity. We have it. We have built it. We know how to use it. We must continue to ask, "What is working?"

So the trend may be the rise of the entrepreneur, the freelancer, those who can make their own destiny in the new normal of the business world's confines; creating jobs along the way. When choosing the path at the fork in the road, we need to take the curve leading us to the cross streets of "Rise Above It" and "Care" -- leading us to a road less traveled, called "Rebuild." Americans need to take what we have, what we know how to do, where we want to go and what we believe in and start again. A difficult task. Nothing about this is easy. We are a nation of greatness and we are on an ever-important journey of mending the American Dream.