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Dream Big

Since November 4, even the most cynical lefties have been spotted chanting “USA, USA” — un-ironically! — and discussing the American Dream with the kind of gush they would have formerly dismissed as naive platitude. Has a new essence of optimism dawned with the election of what’s-his-’bama, or did liberals need a sudden injection of hope to see the America that’s been here all along?

The problem, according to author Harmon Leon, is the conception of the American Dream as a single-sided effort to emulate the monolith of white conservatism, a viewpoint he skewered relentlessly in his 2005 satire, Republican Like Me. As the nightmare of the Bush years comes to a close, Leon believes it’s time to take a new look at the land of the free. He continued going undercover to immerse himself in various subcultures in the hopes of answering one not-so-simple question: “Does the American Dream truly exist?”

He expanded his targets to include the entire political spectrum, from a day spent with the “God Hates Fags” believers in Kansas’s Westboro Baptist Church to a week working as a carnie in Kentucky to some toke-filled time at a Northern California pot farm.

Surprisingly, it was among the hippies where he felt his personal safety was most at risk.

“There’s tens of thousands of dollars in marijuana up there,” he says. “Seeing the people minding the place, you realize that anyone could rob the whole place with a pen knife.”

Leon will read and sign The American Dream tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Bookstore, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder. For information, call 303-447-2074 or go to
Mon., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., 2008


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