How can someone believe in the dream of a bankrupt nation?
I’m afraid to report that the American Dream has been killed. It’s been shot in the head by the very greed that its foundation was built on: get rich.
It’s true that this country allowed for great opportunities. It’s true that those opportunities attracted people from all over the globe. It’s true that a great deal of people were able to “play nice” within the system and do productive work that benefited themselves, their families, and their communities.
That’s all gone now. Now we live in a country where the American Dream still lives on – but without the possibility of the dream ever becoming reality. This is no different than being in prison. A prison for our minds. Fortunately we at least still have the illusion of freedom. And we do still have the freedom of choice (albeit the choice of what the corporations put on the store shelves). But when my neighbors can’t afford to feed their family by shopping at the dollar store – then it is high time that we admit that the American dream has become more like a nightmare.
It was the American Dream that encouraged entrepreneurs to go out and make a living for themselves. This led to remarkable advances in technology and mechanization. While these breakthroughs will surely be a necessity for future life, they are also having the effect of severely disconnecting us from one another and from the delicate balance that our earth needs.
Speaking of our earth, the American Dream has led us (indeed encouraged us) to plunder her. It was in the name of the “almighty dollar” that we’ve punctured our earth with holes. We’ve clear cut our forests depriving our much needed animals of their habitats. We’ve poisoned our rivers with pesticides and herbicides all in the name of fast food. We’ve over fished our oceans. We’ve burned billions of barrels of oil (this stuff was probably never meant to be extracted from the earth in the first place).
Another cog in the American Dream Machine is the Military Industrial Complex. This war machine has been great for our economy and terrible for the people of the world. The very economic roots of war lie in the fact that once you shoot a bullet – you need another one. Or once you drop a bomb – you need another. It’s quite a clever racket and most certainly psychotic.
We need to wake up from this “American Dream” and begin reassessing our true values. If you believe that plundering earth and her resources is no big thing then I beg you to reconsider. If you believe that inequality is simply something we have to live with – then I’m proposing another way.
Our status quo is being perpetuated by well-meaning people who don’t see any alternatives to throwing money at the problem. This vicious cycle may well be the end of us if we don’t turn around soon. A non-violent revolt against the rich is precisely the cultural event that we need to shock ourselves out of the self-consuming system.