There are some people who will tell you that, for them, the American dream has turned into a nightmare. Here we are looking at, for instance, the thousands of people who are homeless in various parts of the United States. Here we are also looking at the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people who may not exactly be homeless, but who are nonetheless living in very desperate circumstances. Think of folks like, say, some Walmart associates who are living on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. Think also of the folks who have gotten trapped in debt, folks who have gotten into dead-end jobs with absolutely no prospects of advancement, and folks who have no hope of ever retiring. Many of these are the people who will tell you that, for them, the American dream is dead: what they now have to endure is more like a nightmare. The question that comes up is as to how they ended up in this situation: that is, how their American dream turned into a nightmare.
The truth of the matter is this: that, for most people, the American dream turns into a nightmare the moment they fall short of the ‘system’s’ expectations. The system expects you to live on the narrow and straight path. The system is quite unforgiving. And the moment you fall short of the system’s expectations, the ramifications are bound to be huge.
So you find that someone who made a small blunder, like that of driving under influence, ends up having to pay for it for life. The person in question may find it hard to secure jobs, on account of the DUI record. And the moment the person can’t secure jobs, his or her life goes downhill first. You find another person who made the blunder of snorting coke once, and whose life has never been the same since. What I am saying is that, for most people, the transition from having an American dream to having to endure an American nightmare is due to a very small blunder.