Are Protests and Riots Creating a New American Dream?

Are Protests and Riots Creating a New American Dream?

( – What is the American dream? For so long, it was the white picket fence in front of a beautiful home. That dream was never real. For many Americans, it was never their dream to begin with. If the quarantines, protests, and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer demonstrate anything, it’s that there is a new American dream coming out of these challenging times.

President John F. Kennedy once said:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”

On Sunday morning, I took a trip to Lowes and noticed at the entrance of the parking lot an African American man standing with a handwritten sign that said, “Jesus Loves You and So Do I.” He waved at every car that drove by him. It was a huge gesture. There was an African American man in a white community, sharing a simple but profound message. Being there wasn’t just a show of goodwill; it was a demonstration of love.

Sometimes, it’s not the big things that matter. It’s the small things done over and over again. A smile, a hello, helping someone put groceries in the car in the parking lot while they tend to young children, or even helping a neighbor build a deck. If America is to heal, that’s where it starts. It’s not what’s said that’s important. It’s what’s done that matters. We have to show one another, no matter our race, that we matter to one another and value each other.

I am hoping that the legacy of Floyd’s death will ultimately be that he brought America together, righted past wrongs, and helped us to pursue a more perfect union. The opportunity is there if we are willing to accept the challenge.

A More Perfect Union

Our founding fathers understood that the new country was far from perfect. That’s why in the US Constitution, the very first words are, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…” America has always strived towards that goal.

Sometimes, it’s painful. Many times, we have gotten it wrong. Seeking perfection is a lofty goal that never has an end. Yet, we are always trying to be more perfect knowing we will never fully arrive.

While rioters are destroying parts of cities and towns across America, some Americans are stepping up and offering hope. They are offering our countrymen empathy, sincerity, and a driven passion to make changes so that everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential if they choose to do so. It doesn’t matter what your skin color, gender, or past is — together, we can overcome our challenges and obstacles.

People Stepping Up

All across America, we are seeing police officers taking a knee in respect for their towns and cities, especially in respect of African American communities. On Monday, they were walking alongside protestors in solidarity and hugging people who were hurting while telling them that they mattered.

People organized volunteer teams to clean up their cities and towns after rioters left to help their communities recover. They boarded windows, swept broken glass, and picked up trash. You may never know volunteers were there or who they were, but you’ll see the effect of their love for the community.

We all have our part to play in search of becoming a more perfect union. It only requires us to do small things over and over again. If we all did that, all of the small things would turn into something much bigger than ourselves. It would result in America being the shining light on the hill for the world to see and emulate.

If you ask me, that’s the real American dream!

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

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