Is the American Dream alive or dead? Political comedian John Fugelsang hits the road to find out in Dream On, an epic journey exploring the state of the American Dream after decades of rising income inequality and declining economic mobility.
Is the American Dream alive or dead? Political comedian John Fugelsang hits the road to find out in Dream On. This epic road trip retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose study of our young country in 1831 came to define America as a place where anyone, of any background, could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. Following in the Frenchman’s footsteps, Fugelsang asks whether the optimistic spirit of the American Dream that Tocqueville popularized is alive and well in the twenty-first century, or whether George Carlin was right when he famously quipped, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Dream On features stories of hard-working people trapped in poverty; senior citizens who have lost their pensions; blue collar workers whose jobs have disappeared; homeowners fighting foreclosure; once prosperous families struggling with hunger and homelessness; fast food workers fighting for a living wage; non-violent drug offenders in prison for decades; undocumented immigrants fighting deportation; low-income communities struggling with poverty-related disease; rust belt cities coping with deindustrialization; educators trying to reform our failing public schools; and social entrepreneurs designing new ways to reduce poverty. As countless Americans struggle with diminished prospects for the future, our core beliefs about the value of work, the inevitability of progress, the fairness of the system, and America’s standing in the world are being shaken. After decades of rising income inequality and declining economic mobility, reviving the American Dream has become the defining issue of our time.