Achieving the American Dream. By Bill O’Reilly. Video. Talking Points Memo. The O’Reilly Factor. Fox News, December 11, 2014. YouTube. Also here, here, here.
When I was a kid growing up in modest circumstances, my parents told me that I could succeed in life.
They didn’t say much more than that, only that I could be successful.
From my vantage point, the American dream meant that I would lead a happy life and contribute to society, but each one of us has our own definition of the dream.
A recent New York Times poll asked, “Do you think it is still possible to start out poor in this country, work hard, and become rich?”
Sixty-four percent of Americans say it is possible.
Thirty-three percent say it is not.
Three percent don’t know.
Second question, “Do you think the economic system in the U.S. is basically fair?”
Fifty-two percent say it is.
Forty-five percent say it is unfair.
Four percent have no opinion.
For this poll, money was the basic theme, and for this memo we will stay on that subject.
As someone who started out with little – I was flat broke when I began my first broadcast job in Scranton, Pennsylvania – I know that you can become wealthy in America.
So the 33% who say it's not possible are wrong. You are looking at the proof.
But there are things that you have to do to succeed economically.
Number one, you must get educated unless your athletic or music skills are so enormous that you can make a living that way.
Number two, you must be willing to work hard and conform to levels of performance.
That means you have to learn how to speak properly, you have to learn how to groom yourself ... you can’t have a face covered with tattoos unless you can punch like Mike Tyson.
Basically, succeeding economically is about being smart, working hard, and presenting yourself in a way that leads to making money.
Now some Americans work very hard, are smart, and don’t succeed economically.
That’s why life is not fair; you never know how it’s going to shake down.
But remember the poll question was, is it possible to start out poor and become wealthy?
Now here are some things that you cannot do.
First, if you feel America is a rotten, awful country, you will not succeed.
And that is what is being peddled by the far left:
On MSNBC on Dec. 10:
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: “What’s the next institution that you think needs to be isolated and then challenged?”
ROSA CLEMENTE, HIP HOP ACTIVIST: “The economy. Capitalism, I think that’s the institution that’s all over this country, right? It is really what is the oppressive force. And the police are actually, we have a lot of theory I think that proves this, are that force that are keeping us, as particularly working class people, from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice.”
Ms. Clemente will never succeed in this country because her concept of economic justice is basically communism, and we are not going to convert to that.
If you want communism Ms. Clemente, Fidel and Raul Castro are just 90 miles from Florida.
Two, you cannot walk around with a sense of entitlement, that people owe you things.
In our system, nobody owes you anything.
Three, if you want to succeed, you cannot portray yourself as a victim of white privilege, of slavery, or of any other historical injustice.
It may be wrong, but the free market place doesn’t want to hear it.
And finally, if you behave badly; if you are disrespectful; if you act foolishly on a consistent basis; if you refuse to develop your talent; if you have three children by the time you are 20; if you abuse drugs and alcohol or do other self-destructive things, you will never succeed.
Talking Points laments that our leaders will not tell you the things I am saying right now.
Our political parties do not level with the folks; instead both Democrats and Republicans pander to them.
Capitalism is tough, very competitive, but the American dream is still achievable.
And I know what I’m talking about.
And that’s the memo.