“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: / we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” (King Jr.) Martin Luther King Jr. said this in his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream” because in his opinion, the American Dream was a world with peace and no discrimination. However, the 7,003,823,717 other people in the world, might have a different opinion of what the American Dream is. Some have the vision of the “white picket fence” while others have a vision of what used to be the American dream as now the American nightmare. The question of what the American Dream actually is and whether or not it is still alive might just be one of the most controversial topics there is. In 1848 the Soviet Union, now known as Russia, was the first communist country to rise. Communist countries in the twentieth century included Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Congo, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mongolia, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Somalia, South Yemen, Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia (CIA World). Now, in the year 2012, more than one hundred years later, there are five communist countries that still remain. Those countries are China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Mao Zedong took control over China in 1949 and proclaimed China as the People's Republic of China, a communist country. A revolution in 1959 led to the taking over of the Cuban government by Fidel Castro. Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, became a communist country in 1975 following a revolution that was supported by Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Korea, which was captured by Japan in World War II, was divided following the war into a Soviet north and American south. Vietnam was partitioned at a 1954 conference that followed the First Indochina War. While the partition was supposed to be temporary, North Vietnam became communist and supported by the Soviet Union while South Vietnam was democratic and supported by the United States. Following two decades of war, the two parts of Vietnam were unified and in 1976, Vietnam as a unified country became a communist country (CIA World). Every single one of these countries had one thing in common, which is they all either tell you what religion you have to be a part of or that you cannot be a part of any religion at all. However, in 1998 a law known as the International Religious Freedom Act “United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion; to authorize United States actions in response to violations of religious freedom in foreign countries; to establish an Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom within the Department of State, a Commission on International Religious Freedom, and a Special Adviser on International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council; and for other purposes.” (Jung) However, despite this act being passed, it is still difficult for people to “freely” practice their religion. People are allowed to be a part of the religion they choose but they still have restrictions on organized religious activities.(Jung) My grandmother, Elvira Cardenas, came to the United States as a Christian woman in Cuba who just wanted to be able to spread the word of god. “I knew I could save someone’s life by just preaching to them so I knew that God would one day bring me to America, the land of the free.” (Cardenas) My Grandmothers vision of the American Dream was to be able to “spread the word of God” which she was able to achieve in the year 1990. “My vision of the American Dream was not a five star meal and a mansion on the beach. My first meal as an American Citizen just so happened to be...
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