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Quotes / The American Dream

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You have the American dream! The dream is to be born in a gutter and grow up, and then get all the money in the world and stick it in your ears and go THBBBBBT.

It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

"Americans are fanatical about money, breasts and freedom. There is a thing called "The American Dream", which apparently involves setting a pair of breasts free and giving them money."
The Alien's Dictionary.

    Comic Books 

I am a lawyer. Yes. We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice. Insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure of the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. God bless America.
I am a liar. No. We the acid scarred victims of history of evil and hypocrisy exalt criminals to office. Vietnam, El Salvador, Chile with lovely missiles, roaring bombs of the rich and the white and the pious and burn children and torture women. Forever and ever, amen. God bless America.

You've been referred to by some as the world's greatest boyscout, fighting for truth, justice and the American Way... as if they were some inseparable holy trinity.
Truth? That's in the teller. Just calmly massaged words that very well be nothing but carefully finessed lies.
Justice? Belongs to the Judge, who sits above those who put him up because they can't trust themselves.
And the American Way? It constantly evolves out of something that proves to be true and a lie, just and more... All men are created equal. You are not a man!

Lemme tell you the problem with America, okay? This could be the greatest place on Earth. It really could. You got all these different people comin' here to get away from oppression an' poverty. All lookin' for a better life. But what do they do? They hang on to all the things that got 'em into trouble in the first place. They wanna go on fightin' the same wars an' hatin' the same people they did in the old world. They all wanna be Italian or Greek, or Irish or Polish or Russian, or African or Vietnamese or Cambodian of whatever... so they hang onto alla that. They stick to their own kind, an' everyone stays suspicious of everyone else an' for what...? Culture? History? What the hell is that, a bunch of stuff your folks said you hadda believe in all your life? Does that make it real? But you, man. You showed 'em how it's done. You're the classic immigrant guy who comes to the States an' joins the meltin' pot. It's like you're sayin' — okay, I'm from planet Krypton or wherever, but that's all in the past. I'm startin' over. I'm American. What can I do to help?
Tommy Monaghan, Hitman by Garth Ennis

"I'm loyal to nothing, General — except the Dream."



Bonasera: I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom, but — I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a boyfriend; not an Italian. She went to the movies with him; she stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago, he took her for a drive, with another boyfriend. They made her drink whiskey. And then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her, like an animal. When I went to the hospital, her nose was a'broken. Her jaw was shattered, held together by wire. She couldn't even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life — beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again...I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison— suspended sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool. And those two bastard, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, "for justice, we must go to Don Corleone."

That was it. No more letters from truant officers. No more letters from school. In fact, no more letters from anybody. How could I go back to school after that and pledge allegiance to the flag and sit through good government bullshit. Hundreds of guys depended on Paulie and he got a piece of everything they made. It was tribute, just like the old country, except they were doing it in America. All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what the FBI can never understand, that what Paulie and the organization does is offer protection for people who can’t go to the cops. They’re like the police department for wiseguys.

Nite Owl: What happened to the American Dream?
Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it.
Watchmen film version

     Live-Action Television 

Jimmy Darmody: I just want an opportunity.
Nucky Thompson: This is America. What the fuck is stopping you?

I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It's the only dream you can have - to come out a number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I'm gonna win it for him.
Happy Loman, who is missing the point of the story he's in quite spectacularly, Death of a Salesman

Pop, I'm dime a dozen,and so are you.
Young Biff The actual point of the Death of a Salesman

Let's forget all this bullshit about the Great American Dream. The important thing is the Great Samoan Dream.

Hamilton: I wonder sometimes if this is the right country for me.
Colonel Burr You would prefer to live under the British crown?
Hamilton: Of course not! But there is something wrong here. I sense it everywhere. Don’t you?
Colonel Burr: I sense nothing more than the ordinary busy-ness of men wanting to make a place for themselves. Some are simply busier than others, and so will take the higher ground. But it is no different here from what it is in London or what it was in Caesar’s Rome.
Hamilton: There is more to it than that, Burr. But then I have always thought we might be able to make something unique in this place.
Colonel Burr: Our uniqueness is only geographical.
Hamilton: No, it is moral. That is the secret to all greatness.
Colonel Burr: Are great souls ever moral?
Hamilton: They are nothing else!
American Chronicles: Burr, by Gore Vidal


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes, "Harlem"

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus," engraved on a plaque inside of the Statue of Liberty


Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
Let's club 'em to death
And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard
Lou Reed, Dirty Blvd

In the USA
You can have your say,
You can set your goals
And seize the day,
You're given the freedom
To work your way
To the head of the line!
(Leon Czolgosz shoots President William McKinley)
The Ballad of Czolgosz, Assassins

Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er
Our fortunes to be made [sic] we were thinkin'
When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands
Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln"
Paddy's Lamentation, Folk Song, featured in Gangs of New York

I last saw your face in a watercolour sky
As sea birds argued a long goodbye
I took your kiss on the spray of the new line star
You gotta live with your dreams
Don't make them so hard

And these are the hands that built America
These are the hands that built America
The Irish, the Blacks, the Chinese, the Jews
Korean, Hispanic, Muslim, Indian

Of all of the promises
Is this one we can keep?
Of all of the dreams
Is this one still out of reach?
U2, The Hands That Built America, featured in Gangs of New York

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island\\
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.
Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land, The most-frequently quoted part of the song

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?
Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land, The rarely quoted part of the song


     Video Games 
Send us your brightest, your smartest, your most intelligent,
Yearning to breathe free and submit to our authority,
Watch us trick them into wiping rich people's asses,
While we convince them it's a land of opportunity.
— Engraving on the tablet in the Statue of Happiness's hand, Grand Theft Auto IV

Connor, if you are reading this, I have failed to say goodbye as I wanted, but the time never seemed appropriate. I leave this land and all its resources to you. I trust you now know this place has become something of great significance. A community to serve as an example of what this would-be nation could become. But the larger and stronger it grows, the more fragile and difficult to defend it becomes. I hope your friends who are birthing this infant country understand this truth.
Achilles Davenport, Assassin's Creed III

    Real Life 
We do not see faith, hope, and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal."
Martin Luther King


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