…But I’m not the only one.
~~ John Lennon, Imagine
America loves dreamers. America was founded on the backs of individualistic dreamers. Even though we have become a society that believes the 9-to-5 routine is the best path to follow, Americans still admire the dreamers.
Before punching a time clock became the standard in the first half of the 20th century, America was made strong and great by the men and women who had a dream and refused to let anyone or anything stand in the way of their pursuit of that dream. When it comes to dreamers and our reaction to them, most Americans now fall into one of two broad categories.
There’s the group of folks who set on the sidelines and scoff at the dreamers. “Get a real job”. “Settle down and go to work.” These are just a few of the sentiments expressed. They secretly – or not so secretly – envy the person who dares to follow their own path through life.
Then there are the cheerleaders. Through circumstance, sweat, family connection or some combination, they’ve found themselves at a place in life where they can support the dreamer. They have the fortitude and spirit to share the dream also – if only from a distance. They support the dreamer anyway they can. Encouraging words, pats on the back and yah, they even occasionally slide a few dollars into the pocket of the dreamer.
What accounts for the popularity of reality TV? People seem to find a certain fascination in contrasting their relatively boring sedentary lifestyles to the actions taken by the “real” participants — a group of individuals they perceive as their peers.
Reality shows give the rest of America the opportunity to dream even if only vicariously. While many Americans are setting on their sofas and reclining in their lazy chairs, the lucky few are facing the challenges. If we look at those who watch the dreamers with scorn, we can almost hear the arteries clog and the butts grow wider.
I challenge you to be dreamers; I challenge you to be doers and let us make the greatest place in the world even better.
NOTE: This blog grew out of a germ of an idea on an article I’m writing on Country Singer/Songwriter, Randy Joe Galloway for DreamRow Magazine in Nashville, TN
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist living in Asheville, North Carolina. He has traveled the world documenting the tears, joys, laughter and lives of people everywhere. He currently focuses his camera on the same topics in America. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as USAToday, CNN, Upsurge, Dream Row and others. A portion of his income from each photo shoot is donated to organizations that help the homeless in the communities in which he works. You can see more of his photography by clicking here.