The United States of America can dream only because of one of the most extensive acts of genocide in recorded human history. When Europeans landed in the region that was eventually to include the United States, there were people here. Population estimates vary, but a conservative estimate is 12 million north of the Rio Grande, perhaps 2 million in what is now Canada and the rest in what is now the continental United States. By the end of the so-called Indian Wars, the 1900 census recorded 237,000 indigenous people in the United States. That’s an extermination rate of 95 to 99 percent. That is to say, the European colonists and their heirs successfully eliminated almost the entire indigenous population -- or the “merciless Indian Savages” as they are labeled in the Declaration of Independence, one of the most famous articulations of the American Dream. Almost every Indian died in the course of the European invasion to create the United States so that we may dream our dreams. Millions of people died for the crime of being inconveniently located on land desired by Europeans who believed in their right to dominate.
I have concluded that the American Dream is inconsistent with social justice and ecological sustainability. So, I’m against the American Dream. I don’t want to rescue, redefine, or renew the American Dream. I want us all to recognize the need to transcend the domination/subordination dynamic at the heart of the American Dream. If we could manage that, the dream would fade -- as dreams do -- when we awake and come into consciousness.
From The Anguish in the American Dream by Robert Jensen