US Audio Analysis: Is the American Dream Over?


PHOTO: Worshippers after Wednesday’s shootings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s shootings at an African American church in South Carolina which killed nine people, I was asked by BBC WM Radio this morning to consider the state of the American Dream.

Beginning with the question of why Americans might think they are exceptional, the discussion includes specific issues such as gun control, race, health care, and “prosperity”.

Listen to discussion from 10:18

When you grow up in the US — whether you’re in Alabama or California or New York — because the country is so big, it is important that you are imbued with the spirit that “We Are All American”. Even though we live thousands of miles apart, and quite often don’t have that much in common with each other, we are all part of this great experiment.

Here in Britain, we have many chants on football terraces. In America, we don’t have that many at sporting events but we always have “We’re Number 1”. For many Americans, this identity is bound up with the notion of the flag and My Country, Right or Wrong.

When you have events, like we have in Charleston and others in the past year — not of unity, but of division — you have to ask yourself, “What is It We Are Upholding as Americans?”

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  1. When the UK had ONE school shooting in Andy Murray’s hometown where 16 kids and teacher where killed. The Government passed tougher firearms laws and since the mid 90s we never had another shooting like that.

    There been at least 4 occasions in the states where some loon has massacred a bunch of people the Batman massacre, the virgin killer, a school shooting and now this attack on a black church. Why dose Obama not call for tougher gun laws? If he had principles he would do that, as president it is with in his power to do so. But he won’t because he is gutless. Even if he knows it would fail he should still try anyway. But he is just going to make some heartfelt pretty speeches but not do anything. I really don’t get why he won’t? He can’t run for office again so political career is over in about a year so why doesn’t he do something? How much influence can the NRA really have? There must be some Republicans who agree the US needs tougher gun laws.

  2. The US does not need tougher gun laws. Anyone who wants one can get one. And that is how it should be. You brits seem to forget your own history. What happened is tragic. And should never happen. But it does and it will. And when that maniac walks into my deli with a machete, or a gun, I want the right to shoot back or kill him before he hurts any of my loved ones or me. ISIS blows up a mosque in Iraq, where is the column about tougher laws on acquiring explosives in that country? This whole argument about tougher gun laws is nonsense. We need to educate people so that the desire to do horrible things is eradicated and we need to better deal with mentally ill people on a societal basis. I have never seen as many knife fights as when I was in europe. I’ve only seen 1 knife fight in ‘Merika in my life ( 44 years now ). I’ve never seen anybody get shot or been anywhere where guns are being fired, From my perspective, europe is a whole lot more violent. Its easy to lose the scale when you are only viewing things through the media. And especially when you don’t live here, you don’t really have any idea.

  3. The Yanki Dream [of unfettered world dictatorship] lasted from 1945-49, when the USSR euthanised it by testing their own nuclear weapon.

    • Thank you for clearly demonstrating once again that you have no idea what Professor Lucas is talking about and are only capable of regurgitating propagandistic conspiracy theories.

  4. Wrong, Kevin — my statement succinctly extracts the political essence, whereas Scott’s is mere space-filler on the subject.

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