America is a melting pot, and education has been a mainspring for our democracy and freedom, a means of providing gifts of knowledge and opportunity to all citizens, no matter how humble their background, so they could climb higher, help build the American dream, and leave a better life for those who follow.
Whoever is writing in the United States is using the American Dream as an ironical pole of his story. People elsewhere tend to accept, to a far greater degree anyway, that the conditions of life are hostile to mans pretensions.
Increasing access to federal student loans has been a bipartisan effort in Washington, one that I have supported. But it has created what many experts believe is a bubble in higher education, not unlike the housing bubble that preceded the financial crisis.
The state of New Jersey is really two places - terrible cities and wonderful suburbs. I live in the suburbs, the final battleground of the American dream, where people get married and have kids and try to scratch out a happy life for themselves. It's very romantic in that way, but a bit naive. I like to play with that in my work.
I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled.
Being materialistic is part of the hip-hop community's nature, because jazz and blues and rock 'n' roll, when they started out in the urban communities, were about the American Dream, and the lack of opportunity in that structure. So they talked about everything - uplifting and getting what is perceived as success in America.
I was born on the other side of the tracks, in public housing in Brooklyn, New York. My dad never made more than $20,000 a year, and I grew up in a family that lost health insurance. So I was scarred at a young age with understanding what it was like to watch my parents lose access to the American dream.
Greek myths are heroic, noble and tragic; but the American Dream is heroic, comical, and uplifting. Americans are a people in whom overweening ambition is rewarded, not punished. The Wright Brothers did not have their wings melt when they flew too high. Perhaps their wings were more soundly built than those of Icarus.
If we do nothing, we are handing our children a ticking time bomb that will require they pay ever greater payroll taxes just as they are beginning their careers, starting their own families and staking their claim to the American Dream.