Letter from the Editor
Ever since being asked to unpack the common themes underpinning the American Dream, I have found myself searching for a more complete answer. That answer, though, seems to be less a cogent statement and more of a feeling linked to patriotism, opportunity, and fortitude. Literary greats from Twain to Steinbeck have explored the idea. Music has attempted to conjure its inarticulable feeling—just listen to the opening glissando in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Norman Rockwell’s art proves it is both ephemeral and eternal. Yet, though our forbearers often meditated on the meaning of that dream, our contemporaries seem to have forgotten its existence, or have, at least, given up on developing a “more perfect” American ideal.
Though none of the aforementioned interpretations overlapped, they all shared a common thread. Hope. Hope for something better—for ourselves, our posterity, our country, and our world. The American Dream does not discriminate against who can achieve it. It’s propelled by our cumulative power, illustrating that while individually we can create something, together we can create something greater.
To keep dreaming, we must renew our respect for civil discourse by discussing our values, and laws that do not protect those values. Together we must dissent when those values are dismissed. Together we must be guided by the light of our hearts, not our fears. We must question our overreliance on technology, and ask if our values match that technological trajectory. Together we must find common grounds in differing political ideologies, and fight for a shared end regardless of the differing means. We must collaborate despite our differences, not become divided further. And most importantly, we must show respect for those differences, understanding that we’re all operating from a place of hope, wanting the best for our families and country.
The American Dream is not one idea. It is three hundred million (and growing) different ideas coming together to make our union a more perfect one. We must get out of our own way, and move forward together.
In this issue, the Juris staff hopes to recalibrate and redefine that estimable, albeit quixotic, ideal. During the most contentious period in recent history, the law may be an even better medium to clarify the nebulous concept of the American Dream than Gershwin’s glissandos or Twain’s turns of phrase. What Americans hope to achieve, individually and together, deserves to be reflected in our ever-growing body of laws. The Juris staff intends to provide a clearer picture of where we’ve come, where we stand, and where we are headed, when asked about the American Dream. Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy.
Michael Jones, a 2017 J.D. candidate, is the editor-in-chief of Juris and treasurer of the Duquesne Intellectual Property Law Association. He has written at length about liquor law in the United States and Pennsylvania, and works to ensure the availability of medical marijuana for Pennsylvania residents. He is interested in pursuing a career in policy advancing both fields. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.