Yesterday my grandson was one of the 333 students to graduate from his high school. We celebrated his achievements with joy and enthusiasm. Proud parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends were there doing the same for their graduate. It was a great celebration!
What struck me most at this event was the realization that the American dream (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [men] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”) has pockets of reality. This reality was evident in the composition of this Class of 2016. I was fascinated by the names of the students: Ahmed, de Luna, Capobiano, Kim, Myers, Chen, Wright, Singh, Finkelstein, Mahmoud, Hong, Johnson, Nguyen, Isroilova, Karunakaran, Williams, Smith, Herandez, Okada, and Owens. These graduates represent not only the American dream, but the cosmic dream of an international community. (There were no indigenous Americans in the class—every name represents an immigrant, a refugee, a particular race, nationality or creed—who came to America to find the dream).
The American dream, however, isn’t just a dream for a few who happen to live in the geographical space of these United States. When we say all [men] are created equal, (which expresses the dignity and the worth of every human personality) the American dream ceases to be just an American dream. That dream takes on cosmic proportions and becomes, in my faith, the Dream of God. The American dream can never become a reality without this larger dream of a world of brothers and sisters living in peace and good will with one another. The world in which we live is a world of geographical oneness and we are challenged to make it spiritually one. No nation can live alone, just as no individual can live alone. We must live together and we must all be concerned about each other.
We’ve got a long way to go to make the American dream a reality within our own geographical boundaries. But I am convinced that can never be until we are able to see and live in the larger geographical neighborhood, the larger dream, that gives dignity and worth to every human personality everywhere.