The American Dream: Between Hope and Despair

no picture Michael Boampong
Member since March 2, 2011
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It might be time to retune back home … as the popular saying goes : – no matter how far away you roam, there’s no place like home!

About three weeks ago, while I was in the heat of preparing and participating in some eight seminars as part of my Masters Degree programme, I had an email from an American friend of mine. It was nothing more than something related to my African brothers and sisters in the United States (US) who have chosen to “abandon the American dream”. This article comes at a time when I have developed some great interest in transnational migration issues – an istockphoto.comarea which I dwelt on in my thesis that I defended yesterday at a seminar.

Well before reading this article, I had also read a news article about how disappointed some potential migrants are, after they heard the crushing news that for the first time since 1994 when Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program was put in place, there has been a computer error in the selection of winners, thus rendering results invalid. Interestingly a friend of mine told me:

“I will plan a lawsuit with some people and I believe I will win after the State Department decided to play with the emotions of thousands of people like me ….after having hopes that at last we were going to escape the economic hardships here and also have our share of the American dream, everything has now been dashed away”.

The DV Lottery Programme is aimed at increasing the number of immigrants from some developing countries with traditionally low rates of immigration to the US. Each year some 50,000 people are selected randomly to apply for a US immigrant visa under this. It seems to be good in the sense that it provides a more legal option for people to stay and work in the US while increasing the level of diversity in the American society.

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States which is based on the ideology that once you “land” in the US you are guaranteed “prosperity and success”.

However, the American dream seems not to be easy to realize as most immigrants would imagine or it is non-existent, at a time when the “U.S. economy continues to stagnate” with a growth rate of 1.8 percent – consumer spending and home prices going down as well as jobs and wages also going nowhere.

As rational beings most migrants have learnt from their experiences and have decided to return back home or maintain a transnational identity – living here and there – after realizing that their economic potential could be high in their country of origin. Imagine being poorer in a developed country – when you don’t have a job to earn an income and there is no relative around to provide you with a free meal as could easily have been done in a developing country like Africa where family ties are very strong.

Pastor E. Shadrach Deline in his song and interview with the BBC Network Africa says it all that it is time to “go back home” if conditions are better at home or stay back in your country of origin and concentrate on what you have doing.


Well, there is much for young and potential immigrants learn from the experiences of migrants. With global economies in a flux and jobs losses at an all time high, would you still consider migrating for the so-called greener pastures ? Are you better off realizing your dreams in Africa or in the West? Or do the more developed countries in the west still remain the best places to build a better life?

Photos uploaded by user Michael Boampong

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