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bernstj on 2012-05-26What Rorty's book also draws attention to is the power of narrative and the way in which the American Dream is a specific narrative that comes into being at a particular time and place and then can be "read back" onto American history - on the Puritan beginnings and those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is a narrative that can be "read forward," projected onto the future, as a means of establishing a vision for a society and economy. This is the art of narrative retellings of the America Dream, which, in the hands of Rorty or Barack Obama, becomes a shining beacon to unify the people in recognizing what is best in America. The question is whether, in a time of radical change and transition - when America is losing its world position as the only superpower, when millions of Americans are losing their homes and jobs as a result of the recession and financial crisis, when America enters into a massive budget-cutting and deficit-financing mode - whether the American Dream can be reclaimed, refurbished, re-articulated and retold in era of decline.