If the "American Dream" is a home, a family, a car, and a picket fence, why is it that Americans often claim it's the unlimited possibilities in wealth that makes America so great?
Unlimited possibilities when coupled with wealth is a dangerous distraction. And for most Americans, a lie.
They don't have the education, financial backing, connections, or exampling that the few very rich have.
Their schools are filled with wonderful people trying their best to teach what they were taught and told to teach. Students and staff are offered unnatural GMOs, preservatives, and cost cutting mass produced snacks in the cafeteria that cloud the brain and make them sick.
They (and their parents) work fingers and bodies to the bone, always at risk of losing a job if they make a mistake. They're watching their back while trying to keep the team spirit at a job. The paycheck is barely enough to live on, but if they use their brain power and time off to carefully move money around, it can be done. Of course, their brain power and time off have little room for much else.
Everywhere they look, friends and family are struggling to pay bills and feel valuable. Making the struggle feel appropriate and expected.
Now and then a neighbor asks if you'll buy her food stamps from her. She needs cash for a phone bill. And yes, she really wants a beer.
Some folks give up and drown in self-loathing and resentment, dressed up as blame and confusion. "Everything is available for anyone willing to work for it!" they're promised in kids shows, movies and social media memes. Yet they have worked and tried and worked. Why are they still very poor? What's wrong with them? Some turn to drugs, alcohol and other addictions that distract the mind and fool them into feeling that what they want is something they can get.
Others work and try and teach their children to have smaller dreams for a happy life. They encourage--out of love--a distaste for financial success, because they imagine it must only come with back stabbing, cut throat practices and cheating. After all, they themselves have taken every opportunity offered and worked with integrity and strength. Never called in sick or slacked off on the job, only to find that putting food on the table is still a challenge.
Others yet see a possibility and try to make their own way. They are entrepreneurs and out-of-the-box thinkers. With creativity and passion their business or idea begins to bloom. But family and friends question their sanity or the validity of their venture. Their ego and dreams are naked and raw. In order to prove themselves as "successful" they accept money and favors, or offer money and favors. They hold back certain truths in their trade to keep local authorities, pharmaceutical companies, sponsors, advertisers or otherwise powerful or rich "others" from stopping the progress. Or they don't hold back, and are shut down or otherwise kept quiet and struggling.
It's true that in America the possibilities have been endless. It's also true that for most of us they are held like a carrot on a stick. Keeping us busy and distracted.
I love it here in America. Largely because the possibilities are endless. But it's not the possibility for endless amounts of money that can be made, or the hugeness of a possible company I can create, that I love.
It's the belief in the potential of each and every American. Each and every person. Regardless of race, orientation, age, disabilities, sex, religion etc.
Maybe that's not what America is about, or what it's proud of. But it's what I love, and what I believe it should be proud of.
Though, at times, I don't see it as clearly as I once did.