We're excited to inaugurate a new series for our Patch readers: "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."
Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses, and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times. There are so many changes happening so fast that it's dizzying: national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, religion, government and private enterprise all touch on fundamental ways in which we see ourselves and our communities. At Patch, we want to explore that conversation on a daily basis so we can better understand how our neighbors are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities that surround us.
We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams which a multitude of people are working toward. Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates returning home because they can't find jobs; and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay their bills. We also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated, and locals who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government.
At the purely local level, we want to know where we, as Livingston neighbors, fit along these fault lines. We've heard some of the local voices in government, religion and business on these issues. In the coming month, we'll be hearing even more.
Nationally, there's a debate about the education system, which is at the center of our dreams of a better life for our children. Locally, we know Livingston’s schools get the best marks from the state. But there are issues associated with that – competition and stress, handling budget cuts in a way that doesn’t affect the quality of education, and dealing with proposed charter schools and what those could mean for the future of the district. And the most important people to turn to for those issues are not national politicians, but our school principals, district administrators, teachers and families.
"Dispatches" will be built upon the compelling vignettes and snapshots we unearth across all of our Patch sites.
And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Livingston go to the heart of your American Dream.