What is the American Dream?

What is the American Dream?

Hot debate is everywhere these days on the topic of America. What does it mean to be an American? Who is an American? What does this country stand for? How do we define life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

The answer is found in gangsta-rapper-turned-media-icon Snoop Dogg.

No, seriously

It sounds crazy at first, but it hit me about two weeks ago when I read that Snoop’s son Cordell Broadus had been offered a scholarship to play football for UCLA. Put another way, a man with a high school diploma and a drug conviction turned himself into a music and fashion mogul and now has the chance to see his son use his own talent to achieve a college degree.

It doesn’t get more “American Dream” than that, does it?

Snoop surely is not a hero we should idolize, but he absolutely embodies what much of our culture says is “making it in America.” To wit:

  • Snoop, né Calvin Broadus, is a former gang member who’s now a multimillionaire by way of the (perfectly legal) music and clothing industries.
  • His father, a Vietnam veteran, was largely absent from Snoop’s life. Yet Snoop has been married to his high school sweetheart, Shante, since 1997 and has helped coached his two sons’ youth football teams.
  • His endorsement deals range from adidas to Chrysler to Pepsi. Snoop has had his own reality-TV show and appeared on countless other programs, including “The Price Is Right,” on which he won $72,000 for his charity, the Snoop Youth Football League.

What is America?

On Wednesday, we celebrated America. We blew things up despite a Midwestern drought and wall-to-wall news coverage of raging wildfires in Colorado. We watched — on national television — as people stuffed themselves with hot dogs in a display of gluttony being elevated to art.

We hosted parades that featured floats railing against our sitting president and offered a 2-mph platform for every local yokel who wants a piece of the political pie, right on down to the county clerk.

As children scrambled around the convertibles and pickup tricks to gather candy and bubble gum off the pavement, we still had no answers for healthcare, immigration, poverty, religious liberty or even civil discourse.

Amidst all that noise, both from fireworks literal and figurative, it’s hard to recall what makes America “America.”

If you’re looking for signs that there still exists an “American Dream” to be believed in and fought for, then I say Snoop Dogg is a pretty good place to start.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons


About the Author

Jennifer Scroggins works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.