An embattled American Dream
Dieser Artikel entstand im Rahmen des Englisch-Grundkurses Q1 bei Herrn Holzinger
November 3rd, 2020 is the day. The day that will influence not just the lives of 320 million Americans and the future of their country, but also the future of all other countries. Regarding their political and economic power, the USA is one of the most important countries of the world. On November 3rd the US citizens can choose between Joe Biden (Democrats) or Donald Trump (Republicans). They can decide, who of the two should become the next president of the USA.
The country’s next head of state will face many problems like unemployment, rising deaths from infections caused by the Corona pandemic. But the issue of racism and the worldwide climate change have also forced both candidates to formulate a clear position at the Conventions of the two parties in August. By means of their speeches, their election campaigns and the TV discussions Biden and Trump try to convince the people to vote for them. But who of the two candidates has a better chance to become or remain the president of the United States?
In general, one can say that both are experienced candidates for the job. Before Joe Biden became Vice-President during the presidency of Barack Obama (2009-2017), he gained political experience as a member of the US Senate. In contrast, Donald Trump had no political position before his presidential candidacy in 2016. Nevertheless, he always was interested in politics and published political statements and opinions in different newspapers and his books. In addition, he joined the Republican party in 1987. The climax of his political career was in 2017, when he became the 45th president of the United States, the greatest political success in his life.
Today, nearly 4 years after the last presidential election in the USA, both politicians fight for the votes of the US citizens. In August and September this year, Biden and Trump accepted their candidacy for President during the Democrat and Republican Convention. At their conventions Biden and Trump gave a first impression of the aims they want to strive for during their presidency. Of course, both talked about the most serious problems the USA have to deal with. Both tried to convince the voters that their solutions are the best ones. But just like in many other candidates´ speeches in the past, they put emphasis on the American Dream and criticized of the rival, as well.
The American Dream is one of the most important values of the Americans and just like in Trump´s and Biden´s speech, it was emphasized by nearly all former presidents of the USA. In addition to that, other famous people and idols of the USA refer to it, e.g. Martin Luther King in his famous speech “I have a Dream”. Despite its popularity, this American ideal could not be more contradictory.
On the one hand, it praises the individuality and the fact, that everyone can achieve his or her aims and dreams if he or she works hard for it. This thinking includes that everyone can rise from “a dishwasher to a millionaire” and gives many people a hope. Nevertheless, it can be very ruthless, too. This aspect of the American Dream neglects that under certain circumstances, you can’t achieve your aims and that you might not have the possibilities to devote yourself to your passions, e.g. because of an illness. Trumps puts emphasis especially on this individualism and self-reliance when talking about the American Dream.
On the other hand, the American Dream also comprises the idea of brotherhood and solidarity between the Americans. Just like individualism, this principle has its advantages and disadvantages. Of course, it represents the idea that nobody should be left behind and everyone deserves help. However, this also means that the personal skills are less in the focus and maybe will not be promoted as much as it would be in an individualized society, which Trump favours. Joe Biden strongly advocated strengthening the belief in togetherness in his speech during the Democratic Convention.
Everybody has to decide for themselves which of the two ways of think is better, but probably just like with many contradictory philosophies a combination of the two would be a good compromise.
Furthermore, the harsh criticism of the rival candidate is one the most important methods before the presidential elections. Trump and Biden claim that only their way of governing will lead the country to a “path of hope” (Biden), whereas the opposite party will “demolish” (Trump) the destiny of the United States.
This bashing was also visible in the first TV debate which was broadcasted on 29th September. Both candidates had two minutes to give their opinion about the six major topics of the debates, e.g. racism, the Covid-19 pandemic and the appointment of a new judge to the Supreme Court.
At the end of the debate many Americans were disappointed, about the answers of the two adversaries. The New York Times also stressed the vulgar language of both candidates and quoted Joe Biden’s ”Will you shut up man” as the title of their article about the TV debate.
Both candidates did not perform very well at the debate and generally, it was very chaotic. Trump interrupted Biden several times during his two minutes of free speaking and provoked Biden. Although one might think that Biden seemed more respectful and professional than Trump, in the end Biden responded to the provocations and reacted unprofessionally, too. Additionally, he seemed a little bit more insecure than his rival.
Another central topic of the debate was Trump´s way of leading the country, especially the way he dealt with the Corona pandemic. Biden criticized that Trump reacted irresponsibly with too lax rules. Indeed, a few days later Trump contracted the virus.
On the other hand, Donald Trump opposes Biden´s stricter measures because he thinks that the economy will suffer even more.
So, all in all, till now, neither candidate could convince the electorates with their strategy and secure their victory. Although according to the last public opinions, a majority is for Biden, the situation can always change and especially the upcoming events like TV debates or the public speeches of the Vice-presidential candidates will have a big influence on the election in November. Furthermore, a majority of the citizens’ votes does not automatically mean a victory in the elections. As the US has an indirect electoral system, the electors’ vote is decisive for the presidency. This could be clearly seen at the 2016 election when Trump won because he had more votes in the Electoral college although he did not have the majority of the people’s votes. There’s only one thing we can certainly say about the exciting husting between Donald Trump and Joe Biden: it can always come up with a (nasty) surprise.