The Instigator
TallIndianKid
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
adealornodeal
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Resolved: The American Dream still exists.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
adealornodeal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/14/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 18,732 times Debate No: 13381
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

TallIndianKid

Pro

Resolved: The American Dream still exists.

Let's start out with the definition of the American Dream. As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a dream is "a strongly desired goal or purpose". Also it is the "American" dream. Thus, the definition of the American Dream is a person's ability to strive after a strongly desired goal. Continuing the definition, the person has the best chance to reach his or her goals because he is in, or under the influence of, America.

Contention 1: Women

Throughout the world women are not given a fair chance to achieve their dreams because society holds them to be inferior to males. A prime example is in India. According to Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, when a girl was born to a family, she was considered a curse and was often killed on the spot. Similarly in China, women are seen as incapable in the workspace, and due to this, women earn 77% less money [1]. The one place that women know they can get the best opportunity is in the United States of America. In this country, women are allowed to hold a job without being sexually discriminated; they are allowed to own land on their own; they are allowed to pursue a career in any field they desire; they are allowed to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity, whereas in other countries women are constantly raped. Just two years ago Hillary Clinton attempted, and nearly succeeded, to become the first female president of the United States. In addition, according to the US Department of Labor, "women comprise 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force"[2]. Women are at par with the number of men employee, a great feat that illustrates the great opportunity that women receive in the United States. It is clear that women receive the best opportunity to succeed here in the US, and thus the American dream clearly lives on.

My opponent may say that women do not make as much money as men. This may be true, but you as the judge must look at this statement in context. Most women belong to families and have kids. According to Freakonomics, women are much more attached to children in comparison to men. Thus, they work fewer hours to attend to the kids, causing them to earn less money. These women desire to go to their kids, so they accept the inevitable consequence of making less money, and thus they still are living the American Dream.

Contention 2: When did the American Dream cease to exist?

In order for something to stop existing, there has to be something that caused this. I challenge my opponent to state the incident that "killed" the American Dream. My opponent will almost certainly cite the recent economic recession as the cause, but there is simply no evidence to support this. The United States has gone through World War 1, the Great Depression, World War 2, the Vietnam War, and George Bush, yet the dream has remained intact throughout all of these events. It is pure folly to believe that just because the US hit an economic blip, it is suddenly going to stop becoming the ideal country to live in. This is evident by the fact that although we have gone through some rough times, as all countries have, the United States has remained, and will remain, the number one country to immigrate to. At some points, there has actually been too many people rushing into the US to flee from their poor, non-ideal country that the US had to make laws that limited immigration. Currently, the United States remains the #1 immigration destination, and 165 million people world wide wish to move into to the United States from their country of origin [3]. Clearly the American Dream existed, still exists, and always will exist.

Contention 3: the Economics of the American Dream.

Simply put, the United States is the country where a person is offered the best financial opportunity. Millionaires are literally made in minutes and anyone has the opportunity to do so. A person is entitled to the right to start any business that he or she desires to make, and essentially, the United States has adapted a laissez faire policy. This is the essence of the American Dream, and it is still very much alive today.

Contention 4: Education.

According to Fareed Zakaria in the book Post-American World, the United States has the best educational institutions in the world. In other words, any person who comes to the United States is offered the best education in the world. This allows for the development of young minds, leading to better lives in the future. And this educational opportunity is not just offered to men. As stated in Freakonomics, 58% of all college students are women.

Clearly, the evidence to support my claim is pervasive, and thus I strongly urge an Affirmative Vote in today's debate.

I thank my opponent in advanced for accepting the debate and look forward to an interesting debate.

[1] http://www.christusrex.org...
[2] http://www.dol.gov...
[3] http://www.gallup.com...
adealornodeal

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate. I will use this round to build my case, and will respond to my opponent's contentions in Round 2.

I would like to begin by proposing a more comprehensive definition of the "American Dream". The term was first used by James Truslow Adams in 1931 novel, "The Epic of America", thus making his definition of the term the most appropriate. Adams stated, "the American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." [1] Under this definition, my opponent is under the burden of proof to show that regardless of one's social class, gender, or sexual orientation, they have equal access to achieving the goals outlined in the original American Dream.

Contention 1: Real freedom has been replaced with symbols of personal freedom.

Steve McCallion accurately describes America today by saying that "like any other great brand that gets distracted by its success, America has lost its way and compromised its future for near-term gains" and that America "has mortgaged its future to maintain the symbols of personal freedom (the house, the car, the big screen TV) at the expense of real freedom" [2] This statement could not be truer today. The US currently owes $1 trillion in debt to China, our public education system is on the brink of collapse, and we rank #1 worldwide in our obesity rate. Americans have replaced the dream for "social order" and that "life should be better and richer and fuller for every man" [1] with the endless pursuit of self-promotion without regards to others. This statement will be further examined in Contention 2.

Contention 2: The Ends Justify The Means

Under the perverted version of the "American Dream", the ends clearly justify the means. In this contention we'll explore the corrupt means behind American motivation to get to the top.

Subpoint A: Corruption

Where is the American Dream when some of the largest figures in the media are linked to hundred-million dollar scandals? Mark Zuckerberg allegedly stole the idea for the world's largest social networking site from Harvard classmates. And whilst "The Social Network" is overwhelmingly exaggerated in its storytelling, certain facts still stand: Zuckerberg's best friend sued him for a whopping $600 million dollars after his company share was reduced to a fraction of a percent. When was the last time your best friend did that to you?

Many billionaires have reached such status in similar ways. Don't forget Bernie Madoff, who stole billions from Americans by orchestratting the largest Ponzi scheme in American history. He was found guilty of 11 federal crimes after over 20 years of fraudulent activity and is now sentenced to 150 years in prison. [3] Zuckerberg's and Madoff's faces paint an ugly, but accurate, picture representing of what Americans are now willing to do to get to the top.

Subpoint B: Lobbying

In 2000, Senator Phil Gramm was lobbied by Enron to slip a provision into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that would allow for the creation of the Enron Loophole. This allowed the creation of a deregulated oil futures market and allow Enron create fake electricity shortages in California and cheat Californians out of an estimated $40 billion dollars. [4]

Buying votes in Congress is no new matter. Lobbying was used yet again when passing deregulating the economy (which lead to the recession), passing Medicare Part D (which hiked the cost of healthcare) and when eliminating the Estate Tax, by referring to it as a "Death Tax". [5] [6] [7] When massive corporations can alter the course of the economy in order to exploit it for their own benefit, the American Dream become the "government dream" where corporations can buy votes and elections. Senator Dick Durbin explains that the financial lobby is "the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." [5]

The American Dream has clearly fallen victim to corruption and no longer exists. Kevin Drum says it best: "Wall Street lobbyists don't just have influence in Washington. They own it lock, stock, and barrel." [5]

Subpoint C: The Disappearing Middle Class

As wealth becomes more polarized, the middle class has gradually started to disappear. There is "a growing gap between rich and poor, in which the average CEO earns 400 times that of his average employee, creating a class of economic royalty that challenges our founding ideals." [2]

Subpoint D: The Environment

American's have embraced a high-emissions lifestyle which gives us the second largest carbon footprint by ratio to GDP, with 5,752,289 tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere annually; more than all of the EU put together (3,908,662 tons). [7] Such a wasteful lifestyle contradicts the foundations of the American Dream, and once again stating that Americans believe the ends (wealth) justify the means (environmental degradation).

Contention 3: Gays

Even as the days of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) slowly come to an end, the Justice Department continues to fight against it. Just today, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to set aside her ruling on DADT because it would "irreparably harm our military and the national security of the United States." Since when does the freedom of a group of people to fight to protect one's country irreparably HARM our military? How can it threaten the NATIONAL SECURITY of the United States? If there was a ruling that blacks could not serve in the military unless they covered all of their skin, the US would be shocked. When no such reaction occurs from such statements from a branch of the US government itself, and when the Justice Department isolates a group of people in such a manner as it did, the American Dream does not exist. [8] Whilst Obama pledges to remove this policy, he admits that "this is not a situation where I can, by the stroke of a pen, end this policy " because of the massive distaste America feels towards gays. For gays in the United States today, when the basic right to serve for one's country without having to conceal one's identity does not exist, the American Dream does not exist.

Contention 4: The Working Poor

In Barbara Ehrenreich's novel "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America", we see the abuses inflicted by businesses (both big and small) onto their employees. In her novel, Ehrenreich travels from city to city working minimum wage jobs in a modern-day attempt to discover whether or not it is possible to survive in America on the minimum wage. Even with her $1,500 head start, she finds it impossible to pay for adequate housing, food, and transportation without juggling two minimum wage jobs, living in bad housing conditions (in Florida, a trailer park became a luxury for her, whereas in Minneapolis, a hotel was the best it would get). This situation exists because of the degradation of business-owners on their workers. In her experiences at Wal-Mart, Ehrenreich finds that managers arbitrarily change shift schedules, disrespect employees, shorten lunch breaks, and prevent any socializing between employees to degrade them into being quiet, unmotivated, and submissive. [9] It's clear that for the working poor, the American Dream is out of reach. Under today's definition, the American Dream must be within reach for all social classes in order to exist, and thus it's clear that it does not exist.

Because I have run out of characters, my resources can be found under the "comments" section.

For the aforementioned reasons, I strongly negate.
Debate Round No. 1
TallIndianKid

Pro

TallIndianKid forfeited this round.
adealornodeal

Con

I will examine the definition, framework, and burden of today's debate.

Definitions:

My opponent begins by constructing his own definition of the American Dream. He stated that "the definition of the American Dream is a person's ability to strive after a strongly desired goal". My opponent's definition is too simplistic; the American Dream is much more than just achieving your individual goals. That's not what America is about; America isn't about ruthless capitalism. Under my opponent's definition, Bernie Madoff would be classified as an American hero; an American who sought his "strongly desired goal[s]" because he was "in, or under the influence of, America." The definition I offer by James Truslow Adams is much more inclusive. The American dream is a term of art; my definition truly captures the widely accepted meaning of the American Dream. Thus, the definition we must use in today's round is that "the American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." [1]

Framework:

Now that we have clarified the definition of the American Dream, I would like to set a framework for the round. The definition of the American Dream states that it must apply to ALL Americans, regardless of financial or ethnic situations. Thus, if the negation proves that one group of people are not being given the equal opportunity to life a "better, richer, and fuller" life, then he has proven that the conditions outlined in the American Dream have not been met, and thus it does not exist. The affirmative must prove otherwise.

Burden:

The affirmative carries a burden in today's debate. He states that I must find a time or incident after which the American Dream disappeared. I will answer my opponent's question with a question of my own: when did the American Dream ever truly exist? Up until the 1960s, African Americans were denied their rights and discrimination was rampant. Ever since the 60s, gays, lesbians, and the working class have continually been crushed under discrimination and the thumbs of CEOs who earn 400 times their salary. Washington is constantly caving into pressure from lobbyist organizations representing Wall Street – lobbyist practices which lead to the creation of the Enron loophole, a deregulated oil futures market, established higher cost for prescription medicines under Medicare Part D and created deregulatory practices that lead to the ongoing recession. Because the resolution uses the words "still exists", my opponent must find a time in the past where the conditions set forth in the American Dream existed. If he cannot, he loses this round by default, because if the American Dream didn't exist in the past, it cannot "still exist".

Response to Contention 1, Women:

"They work fewer hours to attend to the kids, causing them to earn less money."

My opponent's analysis of Steven Levitt's book is flawed. The reason women earn less than men in the workplace is not because they "attend to the kids". It's because they're women. "The workplace pay gap between men and women, once thought to be narrowing, has only been getting worse, according to an analysis of recently released census data conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research." [1] The National Committee on Pay Equality finds that as of 2010, women earn only 77% of what men earn, meaning that a woman who works the SAME job as a man will earn 23% less than the male worker. [2] According to AFLCIO, the disparity in the wages for men and women is steadily increasing. Economist Evelyn Murphy finds that this disparity causes women to lose up to $2 million in the course of her work life. [3] Furthermore, the National Committee on Pay Equality finds that women of color earn even less than other women; only 67.5% of what men earn, or 32.5% less than their male coworkers. Whilst women in America have more rights than women in other nations, they are not equal to men in terms of pay. The American Dream does not state that Americans must be "better off than individuals in other nations". Rather, it states that equality must exist for all Americans regardless of gender or race. As we can see, with women earning 23% less and with women of color earning 32.5% less than their coworkers, this equality does not yet exist.

Response to Contention 2:

See the Affirmative's Burden above. My opponent must prove that the American Dream has ever existed at some point in the past in order for him to prove that it "still exists". If it never existed before, it cannot "still exist", and thus the negation wins this debate.

Response to Contention 3, Economics:

Extend my arguments regarding economic corruption present in the United States. The ability of multi-billion-dollar corporations to buy out elections and pocket senators' votes makes for a corrupt atmosphere where the ends justify the means.

Response to Contention 4, Education:

America's education system is quickly going down the drain. Newsweek explains the necessity that we reform tenure laws and fire bad teachers [4] "The relative decline of American education… has long been a national embarrassment as well as a threat to the nation's future. Once upon a time, American students tested better than any other students in the world. Now, ranked against European schoolchildren, America does about as well as Lithuania, behind at least 10 other nations."

Considering the influence of teachers in a student's success, Newsweek states that "nothing, then, is more important than hiring good teachers and firing bad ones."

However, "the teachers unions have become more powerful. In most states, after two or three years, teachers are given lifetime tenure." Kati Haycock, coauthor of the 2006 study on teaching inequality explains, ""The research shows that kids who have two, three, four strong teachers in a row will eventually excel, no matter what their background, while kids who have even two weak teachers in a row will never recover," Firing bad teachers is imperative to protecting the future of American public education, but due to current politics, it is near impossible.

Next, many American universities practice affirmative action policies that put students from "majority" races at a disadvantage to minorities, because they will often lose spots in colleges to an underqualified minority candidate. This is called reverse discrimination. Affirmative action policies are based on race, not income, and thus are unfair. Why should the wealthy son of an African-American lawyer be given preference in admission to college over the equally-qualified poor daughter of an Asian schoolteacher simply on the basis of race? Fair affirmative action policies would be based off of a family's income, which determines a) where the family lives/living conditions, b) the schools the children will attend, c) access to out-of-school tutoring/learning programs such as SAT class, etc.

With America's education system slowly deteriorating due to bad politics and reverse discrimination, it's clear that education is not giving Americans equal opportunities. How can the poor daughter of an Asian school teacher believe in the American Dream when the equally-qualified wealthy son of an African-American lawyer is given preference over her into college?

As for my own case, I would like to extend all of my contentions.

[1] http://usgovinfo.about.com...
[2] http://www.pay-equity.org...
[3] http://www.aflcio.org...
[4] http://www.newsweek.com...
Debate Round No. 2
TallIndianKid

Pro

--Definition--

The definition of the American dream in today's debate is a person's ability to strive after a strongly desired goal because he or she is in America. My opponent tries to refute my definition by saying that the author Bernie Madoff would be
considered an American Hero under my definition. I have 2 responses to this.

1. Nowhere did I state that if a person achieved his or her dream, he or she would be an American Hero. I am simply stating what the American dream is, and has in the past, constituted of. My definition is better than his because his definition believes that everyone in America is trying to live and work for the "better and richer and fuller for every man". This is simply untrue. All people have come to America to help themselves, and not help others. My opponent is actually using a logical fallacy that is generalizing from too small a sample size. My opponent assumes that because some people believe in the greater good of society, all people believe in the greater good. This is clearly untrue. My opponent is in fact advocating that the American dream is a communistic society where all men are doing well. If you as the judge believe that the American dream is a dream of communism, then go with my opponent's definition. Otherwise, you must look to my definition of the American dream, which is a person's ability to strive after a strongly desired goal because he or she is in America.

2. My second response is that my opponent is actually contradicting and making clear that there should be an affirmative vote on today's resolution. He admits that Bernie Madoff has achieved his goals in America, and thus, he is admitting that the American dream does exist. Thus, I urge an affirmative vote on today's debate.

Now let's move on to the burden that the negative team must prove.

--Burden—

My opponent believes that he can evade my question about when the American dream ever disappeared by asking me another question: When did the American dream ever truly exist? This is a logical fallacy in which my opponent is demanding negative proof. Basically, because he has no response to my question, he is trying to evade my question by asking me another question, which contradicts my question. As the judge you must erase my opponent's question from the debate and only look to see that my opponent has no answer to my question: When did the American Dream cease to exist? Until my opponent can answer me this one question, there is no choice but an affirmative vote on today's ballot because my opponent is admitting that the American dream has never ceased to exist.

But furthermore, I will answer my opponent's question: When did the American dream ever truly exist?

I have a number of answers to this.

1. My opponent is being quite foolish by asking me whether or not the American dream ever truly existed. Of course it had existed, else we would not be having this debate today about whether or not the American dream still exists today. Because my opponent has accepted me on this debate, he has accepted that the American Dream did at one point exist, and that we are now debating about whether or not it exists still, as stated under the resolution.

2. My second response is that my opponent's whole "burden" paragraph in his second speech tried to say how the American dream hasn't existed under his definition. As I showed you previously in this speech, my opponent's definition is not the correct definition in today's debate, and thus his argumentation is flawed.

3. Looking under my definition, the American dream has always existed. A person has always had the best ability to "strive after a strongly desired goal" in America. Throughout the ages people have been emigrating out of their countries and immigrating into the Unites Stated because America was the place to be. America is the land of success. My opponent makes a valid point that there has been discrimination in the past. Let me emphasize though, that this was in the past. The resolution is asking whether or not the American dream exists in the present. In the past there may have been discrimination, but today there is equality under the law for all sexes and races. My opponent may site how women receive slightly less compensation for their work, but this is just irrelevant. I challenge my opponent to give instances where women actually felt like they were being ripped off. Sure they may be making less money, but this is not infracting upon their American dream.

Thus, it is clear that it is my opponent's burden of proof to prove that the American dream has ceased to exist.

Let's move on to my opponent's case.

--Refutations—

Contention 1: Real freedom has been replaced with symbols of personal freedom.

1. Under my definition that I have proved to you, this is an irrelevant argument because the American dream is for the individual, not for society. This argument actually goes to my side of the debate because my opponent himself states that Americans are in a "pursuit of self-promotion". This is the American Dream, and so clearly it does exist.

2. My opponent says that obesity is rising and so the American dream does not exist. This just proves my point. Because Americans are living the dream, they are doing what they want, and so they are eating lots of food. Just because it may be bad for them, does not mean that they aren't living the American dream.

Contention 2: The Ends Justify The Means

My opponent lists a number of impressive numbers in this contention as a whole, but these are all easily refuted with one key point.

My opponent has fallen to the logical fallacy known as the Nirvana Fallacy. This fallacy is that sure, a situation may not be perfect, but at least it is better then the alternatives. Yes, there may be some flukes in the American system such as corruption or lobbying, but as a whole, the American system is the best system in the world and gives the people of this country the best opportunity, so thus, the American dream exists.

B. Lobbyists

This sub point actually goes to my side because lobbying in fact helps the American dream exist. Because of lobbying, the politicians are constantly given information on both sides of the debate by lobbyists. Because of this, the politicians are able to see a full scope of arguments on both sides, and are then able to pass bills and laws that have had much thought put into them. Because of this, the best possible laws and bills are passed, giving the people of American the best opportunity to do well, and thus, preserving the American dream.

C. Middle-Class

These CEO's are just people that have successfully followed through the American dream, and are currently living the dream, thus the dream does exist.

Contentions 3: Gays

DADT is actually put in place to help the gay community. Think about it, if a gay person were to come out in the army, people would not look at him the same way. America cannot control the way society perceives gays, but they are putting laws in place to try and mitigate the damage. DADT is one of them. Also, many states have passed the legalization of gay marriage, and California is on the verge of passing this bill. Clearly the American government is preserving the American dream.

Contention 4: The Working Poor

My opponent confronts the logical fallacy of proof by example. He is stating that because in one instance there are issues, the whole United States must be flawed. Yes, there may be unfair treatment at a Wal-Mart, but this does not mean that it is everywhere in the United States. The large majority of the people in the US are in fact employed and doing fine.

For these reasons, I see no other option but an Affirmative vote.
adealornodeal

Con

My opponent has dropped his case, so I will use this round to extend my own.

Definition:

My opponent places two responses to the definition I provide for the American Dream. Here are my responses:

1.He states: "All people have come to America to help themselves, and not help others." and wildly claims that I am trying to prove that America is a communist nation where all are trying to benefit each other. This could not be further from the truth. What I stated as my definition of the American Dream was that every American would have equal opportunity to pursue his or her own goals – no mention of communism. His response holds no ground.

2.He states that since one corrupt American used corrupt means to achieve his goals, he is living the American Dream. This is wrong for two reasons: 1) Using corrupt means to achieve success is in strict contradiction of everything outlined in the American Dream; rather, it goes against every basic American virtue and principle. 2) The American Dream states that individuals of all races, genders, and financial situations must be able to attain their goals. My opponent in no way proves that this occurs.

Ultimately, we can only look to the definition of the American Dream I provide, which encompasses all of the conditions set forth by the original American dream states by James Truslow Adams, whilst my opponent's definition is simply a re-iteration of ruthless capitalism where the ends justify the means.

Burden:

My opponent asks me to point to the incident that ended the American Dream. I have answered my his question by stating that the conditions set forth in the American Dream were never met; unless my opponent can prove otherwise, he loses this round. However, my question remains unanswered; when did the American Dream ever truly exist? Prior to beginning this debate, my opponent and I agreed that in order for the American Dream to "exist", the conditions outlined in its definition, such as equal opportunity for all races, genders, etc., must be met.

To make this burden simpler to understand, I'll provide an analogy. Assume a friend asks you if your cat is "still alive". If you never had a pet cat, then it obviously cannot be "still alive". Likewise, if my opponent cannot show us a time in American history where the American Dream existed, it cannot "still exist", and he automatically loses the round under the context of the resolution.

I will now refute to my opponent's responses to my contentions.

Contention 1.

My opponent misunderstands this point. It states that the dream that Americans are pursuing isn't even the true American Dream. The dream most Americans pursue today is that of a flat-screen TV and an expensive car. However, under the original and accepted definition of the American Dream, James Adams clearly states that "it is not a dream of motor cars and high wages". This contention proves that since Americans aren't even in pursuit of what the real American Dream outlines, the dream no longer exists.

Contention 2: The Ends Justify The Means

Subpoint A and B: Corruption and Lobbying

My opponent ignores these points entirely, stating that I fall for a "Nirvana Fallacy". If the resolution for this debate had been "Resolved: Economic opportunity in the US is better than the rest of the world", then my opponent's Nirvana Fallacy argument could apply. However, today's debate isn't about comparing America to other nations. It's about comparing America today to the America idealized in the American Dream. All of my examples of corruption, ranging from Bernie Madoff stealing billions in fraudlent activities, to the involvement of lobbying in the passing of Medicare Part D, which skyrocketed the price of prescription drugs, still stand. They are prime examples of how the ends justify the means for Americans and how the rich get richer by manipulating the government as the poor get poorer.

My opponent attempts to respond to my lobbying argument by stating that "politicians are given information on both sides thanks to lobbyists". This is false. Lobbyists provide biased and often false information to politicians, and it is rare that lobbyists are on both sides of an issue, let alone both sides having equal resources to access these politicians. As a result, thanks to lobbying, the rich are able to buy the votes of congressmen. There exists a group called the Congressional Research Service which provides congressmen with unbiased information for both sides of every bill, thus making lobbyists unnecessary. [1]

We must extend all my examples of corruption in the US. 1) Bernie Madoff's fraudulent activity, 2) the creation of the Enron Loophole through lobbying, 3) Enron stealing money from Californians, 4) deregulating the economy and causing the recession, 5) repealing the Estate Tax.

Subpoint C: Middle Class

"These CEO's are just people that have successfully followed through the American dream, and are currently living the dream, thus the dream does exist."

I have two responses to this. 1) My opponent disregards the contention ENTIRELY, forgetting the disappearance of the middle class and the ever-growing gap between the rich and poor. This prevents the American Dream from ever being accessible to the poor. 2) The American Dream must provide equal opportunity to all despite financial backgrounds. As I proved in Subpoint B, when corrupt congressmen are able to buy out Congress, it prevents the poor from ever getting wealthier while the rich continue to suppress them. [2]

Contention 3: Gays

DADT is definitely NOT put in place to help the gay community. My opponent states "Think about it, if a gay person were to come out in the army, people would not look at him the same way". Imagine if we lived during the Civil Rights Movement, and my opponent argued: "Think about it, if a black person were to go to the same restaurant as a white person, people would not look at him the same way." My opponent doesn't realize that social change comes in steps; in order to make gays more acceptable in American culture, the government must first accept them by eliminating legislation such as DADT. All DADT does is prevent gays from having the American Dream of equal opportunity as other Americans.

Contention 4: The Working Poor

"He is stating that because in one instance there are issues, the whole United States must be flawed." I have four responses.

1)This is not an isolated case; it applies to basically every corporation, large and small, in the United States. Wal-Mart, Target, Burger King… the list goes on.
2)"The large majority of the people in the US are in fact employed and doing fine." My opponent provides no evidence to support this claim.
3)Most Americans aren't "doing fine" simply because they're employed. In her novel, Ehrenreich was employed by several companies, but she was never "doing fine".
4)My opponent says "the large majority of people in the US". Again, think back to the 60s era; if we lived during the Civil Rights Movement, would it be okay to say "the large majority of people in the US have rights, so why should we give them to African Americans too?" Today's resolution doesn't ask if the large majority of Americans have the American Dream; it asks whether or not the conditions outlined in the dream, that all Americans must have equal opportunities regardless of financial standing, have been met. They clearly have not been met.

My opponent has dropped all of his contentions, so you can ignore his entire case, and thus the negation wins by default. Next, it's clear that all of my contentions still stand; unless my opponent can prove to us in his next speech that the American Dream ever existed, that it is indeed accessible to the working poor and to gays, and that the rich can't buy out Congress, it's clear that the American Dream does not exist.

[1] http://www.loc.gov...
[2] Center on Budget and Policy
Debate Round No. 3
TallIndianKid

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and will use my final speech to summarize the debate, explain why you as the judge should vote for the affirmative, and respond to my opponent's arguments.

Today's debate is about whether the American dream still exists. We have provided you definitions of the American dream, but at the end of the day, what is, in essence, the American dream?

The American dream is the dream that a person can have the best opportunity to fulfill his or her desires by being in the United States. This is the truth because of an overlying fact that has been avoided in the debate. The American Dream only exists because of the conditions of the outside world. What I mean is, if it were not for people's aspirations to come to the United States, the American dream would not exist. The dream is merely the belief of foreigners that they can have a very good life by coming into this fine country. My opponent claims "today's debate isn't about comparing America to other nations." This could not be further from the truth. Today's debate is only relevant by comparing life under the United States to life under other countries. Unless my opponent can prove that life under other nations is not as fruitful as life in America, then you must vote Affirmative.

The American dream's existence is based off of what the public believes. The dream is, after all, a dream that is instilled in the hearts and minds of the people. Thus, the most accurate way of gauging whether the dream still exists today is by looking at what the public believes.

As I stated in my case, the United States remains the #1 immigration destination, and 165 million people worldwide wish to move into to the United States from their country of origin. These are 165 million people that firmly believe that they would have a better life in the United States and thus believe in the American dream. Clearly the American dream exists today.

In order for my opponent to prove that the dream does not exist, he must first prove that every single person in this country would rather be living in another country, since, after all, the American dream only exists in American when the people want to be in America. Once the people stop wanting to be in America, the dream then will cease to exist. I challenge my opponent to prove in his final speech that the citizens of the United States believe that they have a better opportunity in another country.

As you can see, the American dream is still alive today. Although things may not be perfect for some people, the way things are in the Unites States are the best in the world. The women here are able to hold jobs, get healthcare, vote, run for office, and do every single thing that a man can do. These women are experiencing the best lives that they can in the world because they live in the Unites States, and thus, they are experiencing what is known as the American Dream

My opponent asks me to prove that gay people are given opportunity in the army. According to the New York Times just last week on October 20, 2010, "The United States military, for the first time, is allowing its recruiters to accept openly gay and lesbian applicants." This completely refutes my opponent's argument that Gay's do not have equal opportunity in the military. The article goes on to state that "President Obama has said that the ‘don't ask, don't tell' policy will end [under his] watch." Clearly Gays are being given equal opportunity and so you must vote affirmative because the American dream does exist.

My opponent claims that the dream has never existed. Clearly this dream has existed in the past because millions of immigrants have flooded our country in order to experience the American Dream. My opponent is exhibiting pure folly by trying to argue that the American dream has not once existed in the past. Had the dream not existed in the past, this debate would not be occurring. For this reason you must disregard my opponent's argument that the American dream has never existed.

In my response to my opponents argument that the working poor does not experience the American dream I say this. Under the guidelines for which I have set forth, the working poor are in fact in the American dream. They may not be living the best lives, but they are definitely living the best life possible, because in other countries their life would be worse.

My opponent also asks me to prove that there is no corruption. My opponent is asking me to prove an impossible task. Where there is money, there is corruption, but this does not negate the American dream. There may be some flaws in the system, but every system in the world has flaws, and in the United States corruption is at least under control.

All of my opponent's arguments are merely trying to prove that there are nitty-gritty problems in America. Yes, there are some problems. No, this does not prove that the American dream does not exist. The standard of living in America is the best in the world and this alone proves that the America dream does in fact exist.

In order for my opponent to win today's debate, he must prove that the life in America is not attractive to many people, that people in America do not want to live in America, and that America does not offer the best opportunity in the world for people.

My opponent will come up in his next speech and challenge the framework for the American dream that I provide that is: the dream is only existent because America is better than other countries, and thus the dream is still alive today. Anything he says is not relevant because the only way to gauge whether or not the dream exists. My opponent will try to statistically tear apart the American dream. This is not a valid refutation because the American dream is not a statistic that exists, but rather, it is a belief, a hope, or a dream that is instilled in the people. Since this belief has always, and will always, be in the hearts and minds of the people, you must vote affirmative.

In my opponents 3rd speech he stated that "unless my opponent can prove to us in his next speech that the American Dream ever existed, that it is indeed accessible to the working poor and to gays, and that the rich can't buy out Congress, it's clear that the American Dream does not exist." I have proven to you that the American dream has existed and does exist. I have proven to you that the working poor and the gays are living the American Dream. I have lastly proven to you that corruption can coexist with the American dream. Under what my opponent has said, I see no other option but an affirmative vote on today's debate.

Thank You.
adealornodeal

Con

I will begin my addressing the remainder of my opponent's case.

1. Framework

My opponent spends all of round 4 attempting to skew the original intent of today's debate. He decides to change his framework and state that in order to "prove that the dream does not exist, [my opponent] must first prove that every single person in this country would rather be living in another country". This framework is entirely false. In order for the American Dream to not exist, there must be a group of Americans that are excluded from it and don't believe in it. Whether or not Americans would rather live somewhere else has nothing to do with today's debate.

Next, my opponent challenges me to prove that American citizens feel that they will have a better life in another country. I'll respond to my opponent with the example of a friend of mine from 6th grade. As a matter of privacy, I will not name him, but he is actually a member of debate.org and will most likely judge this debate. His family moved to Ireland because they felt they could have better opportunities there.

I will go a step further in responding to this challenge. We must remember that in evaluating the existence of the American Dream, we are comparing America today as what America would be if the conditions explained in the American Dream were to exist. We are NOT comparing America to other countries. The American Dream does not state: "The dream of every American is to live in America, which is better than all other countries in the world." An assumption like that is na�ve. The American Dream states that all Americans, regardless of their gender, sexuality, and ethnic and financial background, must have equal opportunities to succeed. Because those conditions set forth in the dream have not been met, it does not exist.

2.More new framework

My opponent then states that the pro should win the round if he can simply prove that Americans still believe in the American Dream. As shown in my first contention, however, the American Dream most Americans aspire to accomplish today is a dream of HDTVs and expensive cars; not the true American Dream, which "is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable".

My opponent also tells us that we cannot consider statistics in today's round, and that today's round should be evaluated on whether or not Americans themselves believe in the American Dream. I find it funny that my opponent says this, because statistics are the only way to discover if Americans still believe in the American Dream. A poll conducted by ABC News asked, "Do you think The American Dream still holds true, never held true, or once held true but does not anymore?" and found that 50% of Americans no longer believe in the American Dream. Furthermore, "only 46% of those making 25K and under answered "still true"" for the existence of the Dream. Clearly, the poor are being excluded from the American Dream, which adds to my own case.[1]

The US Government found that "Two-thirds of the American people say the American Dream is becoming harder to achieve, especially for young families, and they point to financial insecurity and poor quality public education as the most significant barriers, according to a new survey released today by the National League of Cities (NLC)." [2]

These statistics make it very evident that fewer and fewer Americans still believe in the American Dream. This point alone refutes everything left of my opponent's case.

I will now move onto my own case and examine each of these groups that no longer believe the Dream exists.

Framework

I have asked my opponent numerous times to show us a point in American history where all Americans, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, were given equal opportunity to succeed. His response is this:

"Clearly this dream has existed in the past because millions of immigrants have flooded our country in order to experience the American Dream."

Sadly, my opponent's response is no response at all. As I stated in Round 2, the conditions set forth in the American Dream have never truly been met. Until the 1960s, African Americans were denied their rights and discrimination was rampant. Ever since the 60s, gays, lesbians, and the working class have continually been crushed under discrimination and the thumbs of CEOs who earn 400 times their salary. Washington is constantly caving into pressure from lobbyist organizations representing Wall Street – lobbyist practices which lead to the creation of the Enron loophole, a deregulated oil futures market, established higher cost for prescription medicines under Medicare Part D and created deregulatory practices that lead to the ongoing recession. Because the resolution uses the words "still exists", my opponent must find a time in the past where the conditions set forth in the American Dream existed. He did not provide us with ansnwer, and thus he loses this round by default, because if the American Dream didn't exist in the past, it cannot "still exist".

Contention 1: Real Freedom has been replaced

My opponent drops all of his responses to this contention. With this contention, I have proven that the "dream" that Americans believe in is a dream of fast cars and HDTVs; not the true American Dream. Thus, if American's don't even believe in the true American Dream, it cannot exist.

Contention 2: The Ends Justify the Means

2A and B: Corruption and Lobbying

My opponent does not respond to this point. It's a sad day in America when the economy is run by corrupt individuals who pocket government officials and buy out congressional votes for naught but their own benefit.

2C: Disappearing Middle Class

My opponent does not respond to this point either. As the middle class gradually disappears, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, thus making America's classic "rags-to-riches" story ever harder to achieve. Once again, this proves that the American Dream does not exist.

2D: The Environment
My opponent does not respond to this contention. A wasteful lifestyle contradicts the foundations of the American Dream, and once again stating that Americans believe the ends (wealth) justify the means (environmental degradation).

Contention 3: Gays

My opponent cites a New York Times article that states the Pentagon has given gays the right to join the Army. He fails to note that the article also states that the Pentagon and the Justice Department are both working to reverse this situation and implement DADT once again and strip gays of their rights.

Contention 4: The Working Poor

My opponent places no responses on this contention either, and thus we can extend it. It's clear that the working poor have no belief in the American Dream, and with such a large chunk of Americans in disbelief, it's clear that the Dream cannot exist.

Contention 5: Women

I refuted my opponent's contention about women by providing vital statistics that show that women are vastly underpaid compared to their male coworkers. This easily proves that "equal opportunity" does not exist in the workplace when employees are paid different sums for doing the same work on the mere basis of gender.

This debate boils down to an issue of framework. My opponent's framework states that the winner of the round is the one that can prove whether or not Americans believe in the American Dream. As explained in my response to his fourth case, the majority of Americans do NOT believe in the Dream. I also win under my own framework, since my opponent never showed us when the American Dream ever existed, and since all of my contentions still stand at the end of today's round. Because I've won today's round under both frameworks, it's clear that since the conditions outlined in the American Dream have not been m
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TallIndianKid 6 years ago
TallIndianKid
Thx for the RFD FREEDO

could you please explain though how my arguments were bogus. Just curious, thanks.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
Sorry, replace Pro with Con and Con with Pro in my last post.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Ah. I assumed his RFD was valid. Didn't read the debate.
Posted by Sobriquet 6 years ago
Sobriquet
Well, part of your RFD is backwards. I don't know about the arguments, I didnt read the debate through yet.
Posted by Sobriquet 6 years ago
Sobriquet
Other way around, Freedo. You voted right, but your RFD is backwards.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
FREEDO, you awarded points to the wrong person.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
Conduct for Pro because Con forfeited a round.

Arguments for Pro because Con's arguments were filled with bogus facts and Pro had a semantical victory.
Posted by adealornodeal 6 years ago
adealornodeal
For everyone voting on this debate, TallIndianKid and I would like to request that you do not vote-bomb this debate for either side, and if possible, provide an RFD. Thanks!
Posted by adealornodeal 6 years ago
adealornodeal
Please disregard the previous comment; I accidentally omitted sources 6 and 7. Here is the full list.

Round 1 References:
[1] http://memory.loc.gov...
[2] http://www.fastcodesign.com...
[3] http://money.cnn.com...
[4] (Enron/Oil Futures Market) http://baltimorechronicle.com...
[5] (Financial deregulation) http://motherjones.com...
[6] (Medicare Part D) http://mlyon01.wordpress.com...
[7] (Estate Tax/Death Tax) http://fairtaxfraud.com...
[8] http://www.iea.org...
[9] http://www.latimes.com...
[10] http://www.bookjive.com...(Not)_Getting_By_in_America
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by starvard 6 years ago
starvard
TallIndianKidadealornodealTied
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Vote Placed by xStyles 6 years ago
xStyles
TallIndianKidadealornodealTied
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Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
TallIndianKidadealornodealTied
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