Tag Archives: dream

The true meaning of the American dream

By: Gregory Lane

Photo by Lyric Otto
Photo by Lyric Otto

America is not the greatest country on God’s green earth. And we’re not a runner-up either. The economy is far from ideal for nearly all Americans, and plenty are without jobs or homes. Our educational system is embarrassing—its goal is to create devout workers instead of open minds, and too many are unable to graduate from high school and even college with useful life skills, if they graduate at all. Speaking of school, killings at schools are becoming regular, if not expected, tragedies. It’s become the norm for children to grow up in broken or divorced homes. The nation plummets in an ocean of debt, which stands at over $17,514,857,000,000 during the writing of this article. Oh and we can send a vastly underpaid 18-year-old to war overseas but he or she can’t buy a beer at the local bar. How did this happen, America?

I’m not going to blame the Grand Old Party, dead cowboy movie presidents, or sing about how Fox News is brainwashing the masses. And I’m definitely not pointing a finger at unchecked liberal media, environmentalists, or the Democrats.

There is this awful tendency to blame someone or something or even concepts for problems which arise from countless factors and contributors, most of which are unforeseeable. It feels like I’m watching a contest whenever I read an article online or listen to the news; who or what is going to be on the hate radar today? Will it be Obama? Bush? Feminists? Terrorists? Video Games? Movies? Aliens? The gay agenda? Gun advocates? When will we stop lobbying for a certain angle whenever something goes wrong?

It’s offensive to the victims and to the concept of empirical evidence when something like whether or not a murderer played video games is a sign of his or her violent behavior. It’s ignorant and prejudiced to wonder if a terrorist’s religious label is a primary identifier. It’s ridiculous to assume one man, even the president, in a massive government like the United States, is the sole reason for why it’s hard to find a job right now.

Yet, throughout all our failures and issues, we hold the potential for the greatest country this world has ever seen. I’m tired of hearing how the United States should be more like Europe, or how life was better in the ‘50s. The spirit of America is built upon the ability to stand on two feet and pick up those who have stumbled, not complain and whine. America has the size, the resources, the strength, and desire to carry this spirit.

We have had impressive leaders, men and women at the forefront of science, industry, the arts, justice, and discovery—Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt—America is a land of heroes and heroines, from the struggling parent raising a child, the small business owner, and the starving artists, to the men and women in D.C. and those in executive meetings for Microsoft and Google.

Each and every person here has the potential to contribute, to be a hero to someone and themselves, and I want every soul living under the red, white, and blue proud to be an American. This of course means innumerable and different things to everyone, and it is that diversity which makes the United States experiment unique and successful.

Don’t have a job? Volunteer where you’re needed. Divorced and loveless? Love those around you and love yourself. Lost everything and saw your life shatter into pieces? Pick them up, one at a time, or leave them for something new—make decisions, contribute, work, live with a purpose.

For a concept as impersonal and inflated as America, I’ve still seen nothing more representative of the human condition. We reach so high and yet suffer immensely. We suffer not without meaning, not without fighting, and not without growing—that’s the real American dream.


Follow us:

Interpreting the dream

By Trevor Randall

"Uniting for human rights and environmental justice" was the theme of the 16th annual Martin Luther Jr. Human Rights Conference, co-hosted by Whatcom on Jan. 18. Photo by Zach Barlow
“Uniting for human rights and environmental justice” was the theme of the 16th annual Martin Luther Jr. Human Rights Conference, co-hosted by Whatcom on Jan. 18. Photo by Zach Barlow


Jan. 20 marked the 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday set aside to honor the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. and his work for the Civil Rights Movement. On Saturday, Jan. 18, Whatcom Community College hosted the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Conference.

The event, held in Syre Student Center, was hosted by the college, the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

 “Uniting for Human Rights and Environmental Justice” was the conference theme and featured local guest speakers such as Jeremiah “Jay” Julius, a member of the Lummi Nation, who discussed the importance of environmental justice and prevalent environmental issues in Whatcom County.

The Whatcom Human Rights Task Force is a nonprofit organization that aims to “promote and protect the rights of the human family,” according to its website. Janet Marino, the executive director for The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center said that the two organizations work closely to put on events such as the conference.

The conference began with a performance by Whatcom students of the hymn “We Shall Overcome.” Following the hymn, an opening speech was given by Dr. Victor Nolet, a professor from the Woodring College of Education on Western Washington University’s campus.

Nolet opened by giving thanks to all the sponsors of the conference, and pointed out that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force. Nolet emphasized that we should all be thankful to the Lummi people for allowing us to share their homelands.

Juanita Jefferson, a member of the Lummi Nation and part of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, came on to the stage after Nolet. She gave a speech about the struggles of her people and how every person on this earth is connected.

 “There is no difference between one another, we are all brothers and sisters,” Jefferson said.

Her speech focused on how anyone can make a difference for human rights. “If you lead, we will follow,” were her closing words.

Key speaker Julius then took the stage. Julius said he is a member of the Lummi Nation Governing Council, and spoke about the growing need to protect the land and waters around the San Juan Islands which are sacred to the people of the Lummi Tribe.

 “I am not here to seek sympathy for my people, I am here to educate and give you a better understanding of the history,” Julius said.

Julius talked about some of the traditions of the Lummi people. He spoke about the waters around the San Juan Islands and how he grew up fishing with his family. To the Lummi people fishing and being on the water is a way life, he said.

“It is so important to me to be on the water, it’s who we are,” Julius said.

 He talked about how the waters around Bellingham are contaminated with mercury, the herring have disappeared, and that there have been 52 reported oil spills in Bellingham Bay.

“It’s about protecting the future,” Julius said. “When are we going to stop being so naive and do something about it?”

“Destroying is easy,” said Julius, who encouraged his audience to find their greatness within and change the world for the better.

The rest of the conference focused on preserving the environment in the Bellingham area.

After the speeches, there were a variety of workshops available for students and attendees. Some were about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and how his ideas and beliefs can be preserved. Others focused on different issues throughout Whatcom County, such as human health, preserving our water, and fish consumption.

“We must stand for what is right, and defend what is right,” Julius said. These words were a continuing theme throughout the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Conference.


Follow us: