So, I've been mulling.*
If the "American Dream" is to be American (yes, U.S. American), what is essential Americanness?* Grant it for a bit; set aside the "there is no fully shared set of traits and values," and even the "nationalism isn't for me." What do "we"* dream to be?
We do this, we humans and particularly socialized beings, in essential need of identity group essentials. Pasquale, Vanier, Sojourner Truth, Krista Tippett. "Real Americans," "be a man," "(in)human monsters."
Yet the dream figure. . . it's not just a plan and a goal, right? Or we'd hear speeches about and raise ourselves to pursue the "American Plan and Goal." It's a dream, a bit of reality heavily funhouse-mirrored through angst and recent consumption (like, in the metaphor, what you ate before you went to bed) and memory. And yet it must be unified, if not uniform.
So what is the dreamy American these days?*
* Nothing new here, just a little nostalgia for now.
* Oh, it depends on what our definition of "is" is.
* Culture is the stuff that makes us, us; myths are the stories we tell ourselves over and over about ourselves.