By Janey Whitney
The United States of America is the land of opportunity, and capitalism is highly responsible for America being a country where an individual can go from rags to riches. Senator Tim Scott put it best when he spoke on his grandfather, who as an African American was “forced out of school as a third-grader to pick cotton, and … never learned to read and write.”1 Yet in the United States, he had a grandson who became the first African American elected to both houses of U.S. Congress. This type of progression and opportunity is unmatched in socialist countries such as Venezuela.
Immigrants come to America because of the American dream, which is made possible through our capitalist country. The last published poverty rate for the United States by the United States Census Bureau was in 2018, where it placed only 11.8% of people living below the official poverty rate,2 meanwhile Venezuela has 96% of their population living in poverty in a survey conducted by researchers at Andres Bello Catholic University.3 Since 2015, 5 million Venezuelans have fled the country, and “[t]he population of Venezuelan immigrants in the United States has risen 54 percent since 2015.”4 Colombia, Chile and Peru are also taking in a large number of Venezuelan migrants. Notice Venezuelans aren’t fleeing to other socialist countries.
This is because individuals, including immigrants, have the opportunity to flourish and to have a better life when living in America. You have the stories of politicians such as Senator Tim Scott and the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had humble beginnings yet worked their way to success. Schwarzenegger came to America with “absolutely nothing” and became a titled bodybuilder, actor, and two-term governor of California.5 Not only can you succeed as a politician in America, but you can succeed through many other avenues. Take Do Won Change for example, who immigrated from South Korea and worked as a janitor before opening the store which is today known as Forever 21.6 Look at Oprah, who also had humble beginnings, but today has a net worth of $2.5 billion. Apple, which today is worth over $1 trillion, began in the garage of the mother of Steve Jobs.
In a capitalist country, such as the United States, the opportunity is available for everyone to pursue their dreams regardless of their background. Senator Tim Scott is living proof that in America a family can go from rags to riches, or as he put it in his words, as going “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”7 Success in America isn’t an accident, it is a result of each individual’s determination within our capitalist system. It doesn’t matter if you were born into poverty, or if you immigrated here with little to nothing. In America, anyone can succeed.
LinkedIn: Janey Whitney
Janey Whitney is a 2019 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, Politics and Society. Janey has volunteered, interned, and worked in several different political settings: including law firms, think tanks, and political campaigns. She hopes to run for office one day, in hopes to combat socialist ideals and to fight to keep America the same great country we all love.