Over the weekend, I was reading Adam Hamilton's book, and I couldn't help but notice what he said about there being two versions of the American Dream. One, of course, was Dr. King's dream of beloved community, of racial equality, of justice and peace and character and solidarity. It was a dream about a quality of life. The other was what we might call the Wall Street version, the dream of getting more and more stuff, faster and faster, with less and less effort—what we might call a style of life. ... So, here we are as a nation, caught between two American Dreams: Beloved Community and Beloved Economy. Here we are, torn between two pursuits—a spiritual quality of life and a materialistic style of life.Interesting how he contrasts quality of life with style of life calling one spiritual and one materialistic. Causes me to ponder which dream I embrace the most and whether the two are really at odds with each other. I wonder if there is a moderate middle ground that embraces both dreams? Is it possible that the contrast is not that sharp? Can one own a large home and still care about the ideals of the Beloved Community? Is it possible for a person to value racial equality and still make a lot of money on Wall Street?
I think that it is possible but maybe not in the ways that we imagine. Because we all lose if those who fly the banner of the Beloved Community declare war on those who fly the Beloved Economy flag. And those who embrace the Beloved Economy can find themselves existing in a sad place if they reject the principles of the Beloved Community. So I suggest to you that there are really not two American Dreams because each dream needs each other. One dream without the other becomes a nightmare.