Commentary: Obama Believes the American Dream Should Be Open to Everyone

The president knows about working hard, reaping the rewards and giving back.

Posted: 09/28/2012 10:42 AM EDT
Commentary: Barack Obama Believes The american Dream Should Be Open to Everyone

Y'know, I grew up hearing that if you worked hard, worked fair, paid your fair share of taxes, and got a little lucky, you could build a good life in America. You could also give someone else a hand, sharing in the wealth. That's why America stood as "the shining city on the hill." That’s why America is considered the leader of the free world.

Anyway, I guess I've achieved this version of the American Dream: making some money honestly and sharing the results. My history is almost stereotypical; I come from a family balanced between lower and middle class, always in danger of sliding toward lower end. We always had enough to eat, but sometimes we had to dig into savings.

There's this Barack Obama guy, and his history is similar: working hard, paying his taxes, then sharing the results.

Took me a long time, but I realized there's another American Dream. You get yourself born into a rich, elite family, and get a good life handed to you by your parents. You figure taxes are for suckers and your politics are about stopping others from realizing any version of the American Dream.

There's an element of self-delusion among people who were born to privilege. To borrow a baseball metaphor, guys like this were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

I'm committed to the American Dream being open to everyone, not just the elite. If you wonder why my job is customer service, that's the reason why.

And that’s also the reason why I'll be voting for Barack Obama come November.

Craig Newmark is a self-described nerd, pioneer of the Web, speaker, philanthropist, and a strong advocate of the use of technology for the public good. He is the founder of craigslist. It is now one of the world’s most-visited websites with around 50 billion pages views per month.

This essay originally ran as part of 90 Days, 90 Reasons. For more essays, written by people such as Russell Simmons, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat and Majora Carter, go to 90days90reasons.comFollow 90 Days, 90 Reasons on Twitter: Or like them on Facebook:

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