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The Myth of the "American Dream" (the simple version)

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I have come to the conclusion that the “American Dream” never existed.  This is quite devastating to me since I grew up in the suburbs of Staten Island with immigrant Italian-American family values, and my dad being a war hero.  Under the surface, deep within me, I felt very uncomfortable with the constant reminder that everyone who comes here wants to pursue the dream that is America.  Buying a new car, owning a home, sending your kids to college, and some other stuff that George Carlin, the comedian, refers to hilariously in all of his routines about Americans and buying “stuff”.   

Let’s examine this dream that draws flocks of people from around the globe.  First of all, the colonies were formed after a long exploration conducted by European countries that had tons of money and lots of ships to sail the oceans.  That’s the short version.  Those from the other side of the world came here to start a “New World,” hence, Thanksgiving.  Sounds really nice, but the Wampaugh tribe wouldn’t agree, as well as every other native people who experienced the plagues brought by these white strangers.  Then they brought guns and proceeded to annihilate the indigenous population from the east to the west coasts, taking their lands, food, women, and having no mercy.  Maybe that was their dream, but not those who inhabited this part of the world before the white man came. Ok, so let’s continue. 

After conquering the lands in the name of God and freedom, they formed a Union, and sealed it with the “Constitution”.  That document in and of itself was created by the rich, white landowners, with wives, mistresses and lust.  In that Constitution that we Americans like to refer to all the time as the “be all and end all,” only the ruling class had rights.  Women couldn’t vote, and were considered chattel and any person in this country that was not European/Caucasian/Male/God fearing were completely disregarded. 

All of these colonists grew up into business owners, farmers, cattle and horse ranchers, and plantation owners.  They grew like a virus from the shores of New York to California, pillaging and plundering their way along, seizing the west from not only the indigenous people in the northern hemisphere, but stole California and ran off the Mexicans.   

In order for these rich white men to get even richer, they killed each other, in what we fondly call the “Wild West.”  Gold was discovered, as well as other natural resources.  The bison roamed freely, and other wildlife that are now extinct.  In order to gain control of the abundant resources, white men killed each other, and everyone else who got in their way, completely decimating existing cultures and resources, all the while claiming family values, God and Country. 

Now all of these landowners and business people needed to make more money, and work less so they could enjoy their “American Dream;” hence, the indentured servants.  The continent of Africa, as well as the West Indies, and any place in between, were plundered.  Human beings were herded onto ships until there was absolutely not one more centimeter of space in the hold so that they could be brought to America.  The slave traders didn’t care if they rounded up men, women or children, just so they loaded up enough to make tons of money, and go back and get more.  Not a dream to those people who were ripped from their families, lands, culture and packed away like meat in a locker only to die horrible deaths on the way, or be sold to the highest bidder, never to be free again.   

And so, more people from Europe flooded America through what we like to call “Ellis Island.”  That wonderful place that they just spent millions renovating, where people would cruise by the Statue of Liberty, which statement is inscribed “Give me your tired, your poor.”   Some ships were filled with criminals, dumped from prisons in Europe and were looking for the “American Dream,” mixed in with some people who fled the poverty of their small hometown with just the clothes on their backs.  Upon landing in New York, they found famine and plagues; fighting and discrimination; and, a political system that was so corrupt, it would make even the Bush Regime blush. 

Of course, I could set forth thousands of examples of human beings being treated like trash in this Country; however, let me take you off shore, and fast forward to today.  Yes, that “American Dream,” isn’t that what all these “illegal immigrants” come here for?  Right-wing, and even so called liberal pundits are always talking about it.  Not true.  Those emigrating to these shores either legally or illegally, are doing it for a reason, and it is not a dream.  They are starving in their own Country because of us.   

America the beautiful, the corporate power, the militaristic power, has surely over the last century, created a vast imperialism that no one can mess with.  It is subversive, militant, corrupt and aggressive.  America has combined its corporate mega companies with the politicians and its military might.  Wow, what a dream.  We steel diamonds from Africa, and subjugate and impoverish the people who mine those diamonds, while controlling the government in charge with the weapons and money it desires.  We steel oil, uranium, gold, and thousands of other natural resources from South America, the Middle East, and again Africa and leave those people living in squalor and starvation, with rampant diseases left unchecked. 

In turn, Americans buy everything. They are the mass consumers of the globe.  Doesn’t matter where it came from, or who it really belongs to, or how it got onto the shelves of Wal-Mart or The Gap, just that they want it, at any cost.   Americans want the biggest cars and the biggest houses, and the most “stuff,” but the price for others is destruction.  So those that cannot survive in the countries we have plundered, try to make their way here, to eek out enough money to send home so their families can eat and have a tin roof over their heads, until either the corporations decide to steal their land again, or kick the immigrants out of America.   Wow, what a dream. 

Well, now that my eyes are open to the cost of the “American Dream,” I want to go to cry myself to sleep and hope for nightmares.  Folks, the system in this Country stinks to high heaven.  It is about time that people who give a damn, put an end to all of the above.  This empire that has been carefully constructed on the blood and guts of others around the world will crash, and then at long last we will be the victims.   

Americans do not enjoy democracy, nor did we ever.  We like to fool ourselves into thinking that this is the “best” country in the world, and we have the “best” government.  Scratch the surface of that statement, and you will realize it is not true.  Ask a veteran who swore allegiance to this country, only to return broken, disillusioned, and without medical care; ask the millions of people who cannot find jobs or healthcare; and, ask an African-American about the illusion of civil rights.  

Then I dare you to travel to another country where you don’t stay at a “Sandals all-inclusive Resort”, but live with the natives and let them explain our “American Dream” to you. 

 

http:/elaine.worldcantwait.net

Anti-war activist, mother of three combat tour US marine; member of the national steering committee for the "World Can't Wait" www.worldcantwait.net and member of Military Families Speak Out (my opinions do not reflect the national position of MFSO).

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The pipe dream that we call liberty, and justice f... by Mark Angelo Cummings on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007 at 2:05:07 PM