The answer to this question actually depends upon each individual’s views on life as well as upon the concept’s definition. Does the American Dream refer to Martin Luther King’s vision of a world where there is no shred of racial discrimination? Does it include the puritan religious ideas expressed by John Winthrop in his “city upon a hill” sermon? Does it point to Benjamin Franklin’s way to health, wealth and wisdom?
The current version of the American dream differs widely from all these idealisms, focusing instead on the “rags to riches” concept. However, the ways to achieve this goal are no longer getting up early in the morning, working hard, and saving money. The saying “early to bed, and early to rise” does not apply to contemporary society. Modern American people dream of passing from rags to riches in a split second. The best examples for today’s version of the quest for the American Dream are the wave of successful “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” television shows, and the hunt for lottery jackpots.
Moreover, both concepts have been exported worldwide, together with the new vision of the American Dream. The TV show has run in tens of countries around the world. The catchphrase “Is this your final answer?” has been translated in a number of languages. Each “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” nation had its own TV star and some of the participants really fulfilled their dream.
Once a way of raising money for different causes like building roads and bridges, founding universities, and constructing various landmarks, nowadays, the lotteries have become another way of accomplishing the American dream, or at least of trying to. Gone are the days when people were buying lottery tickets to help a cause they believed in. Modern men and women dream of getting rich fast. This is what they play the lottery for. The best examples are the US lotto giants Powerball and Mega Millions and their enormous jackpots.
If you want to have an idea of how popular these lotto games are, you can take a look at their tickets sales figures, especially in peak times when the jackpots are reaching amazing heights. Last year in May, when America’s favorite lottery was reaching its still standing jackpot record, Powerball tickets were selling like hotcakes, totaling a staggering $464,536,548. This means that over 230 million tickets were sold. In mid- December 2013, when Mega Millions was very close to setting a new world record with its $648 million too prize, 340 million tickets were sold, which means more than one per capita in the U.S.!
As it happened with many other typically American concepts that soon became available worldwide, people from all around the world now have access to Powerball’s or Mega Millions’ whopping prizes. Given the advantages provided by technology, we can now buy US lottery tickets online, and make the quest for the American Dream an international one.