The Myth of the American Dream…
The American Dream, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American”. The American Dream is really just that, a dream. For most, it is unattainable, often because of reasons such as race, health, or the misfortune of being born into poverty. Are the “opportunities” truly there for “every” American? I think most of us would agree that that is not the case. We live in a country that is divided down many ideological lines. We are deeply divided by race, gender, religion, and looming over all of these issues, income inequality and taxation.
How did we get to the point of realizing that the dream is only a dream? Many haven’t yet reached that point, but multitudes understand all too well. Apathy plays a big part. I have written about our consumer culture and how it has dumbed and numbed us to the realities of our society. The consumer culture has cultivated the minds of the people to believe that corporations are not only people, but are our friends, that they are there to serve us and nurture our well-being. As this particular mindset grew, the U.S. government, with their infinite wisdom, decided that the corporations do, indeed, know what is best, so they very systematically let go of reins. In deregulating the banking industry, they very effectively created a means of funding the corporate state while imposing very little risk upon that state. After all, that is what the people are for, a corporate safety net.
The idea of the American Dream is absurd. We are part of the lies, the myths, the fictional story of America. We are blind to the truth of what is real. We have bought into American imperialism and have, through mostly apathetic means, allowed our government to engage in terrorism. We don’t like to call it that unless it happen to us, but we really do live in a terrorist state. In an interview on September 20, 2001, Noam Chomsky was asked whether the war on terrorism was winnable. Chomsky responded:
If we want to consider this question seriously, we should recognize that in much of the world the U.S. is regarded as a leading terrorist state, and with good reason. We might bear in mind, for example, that in 1986 the U.S. was condemned by the World Court for “unlawful use of force” (international terrorism) and then vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states (meaning the U.S.) to adhere to international law. Only one of countless examples.
So as we condemn other countries who harbor terrorist regimes we look at ourselves as the savior to the world. We will eradicate the world of all the ‘evil-doers’ and do it all under the guise of “national security”. We have the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act to keep us safe. Just keep that iPod plugged in and your credit card in use, we will keep you safe.
As the disparity in income widens and as more corporations pay fewer and fewer taxes, the cavernous divide between the 1% and the rest of us grows. To protect their interests, we having a frighteningly fast growing police state that is swift, brutal, and increasingly in conflict with protesters. The main stream media, wholly controlled by the corporate state, reports little of this opposition. They would rather you focus on your next purchase, or to take an even bigger step into fantasy, focus your attention on the glamorous excesses of the elite.
The elite do not like disobedience. They prefer a docile and complacent population that simply stays in line and follows the rules handed down to them. Noam Chomsky, from his book, 9-1-1, Was There An Alternative?, states,
Of course, there will be those who demand silent obedience. We expect that from the ultra-right, and anyone with a little familiarity with history will expect it from some left intellectuals as well, perhaps in an even more virulent form. But it is important not to be intimidated by hysterical ranting and lies and to keep as closely as one can to the course of truth and honesty and concern for the human consequences of what one does, or fails to do.
The rise of civil disobedience is not comforting to the ruling class. This is evidenced by the tremendous growth in the police state. The corporate class is dying and they are trying desperately to take all of us down with them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. We need to be awake, aware, and vigilant. Henry David Thoreau said it the very best,
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth — certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.