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The American Dream Turns into a Nightmare

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Thomas Blankenship, auctioneer extraordinaire, surveys the crowd of over 1400 people. His four lieutenants dressed in black tuxedos assume their positions amongst the people. Everyone is anxious in anticipation for there are 137 homes to be sold at auction today. The wind dies down creating a brief silence, which is soon shattered by the booming voice of Mr. Blankenship shouting out in the rapid fire language of auctioneers. "Our first property today is located in Cranford, New Jersey, at 1401 Rose Lane" he cries, "valued at $465,000; I am looking for a beginning bid of only $125,000." "Who will give me $125,000" he asks and the auction begins.

 

Not everyone will find their dream house today. Most will leave empty handed, but they will have many other opportunities because auctions like these have become common place. Banks are saddled with homes they cannot sell through the more standard real estate sales methods, so they turn to auctioneers to at least get what they can. The collapse of the housing market has turned the American dream of owning a home into a nightmare! In February 2009, over 290,000 properties – one in every 440 housing units, were slapped with foreclosures.

 

What is happening here and should we be at all surprised? America has always been the land of the free, who welcomes immigrants from foreign shores, who then by their individual sweat and hard work obtain a piece of the American pie, which owning your own home is a huge part. Did it all begin with the fall of the Soviet Union and the USA lost it global competitor giving us the freedom to expand our financial worldwide? The united front we created to win in WWII son eroded into the individual pursuit of power, fame and money. We no longer are a "Band of Brother's" united against a common enemy. Our band is now "Me, myself and I."

 

Noted author and New York Times senior journalist, Tom Friedman stated, individualism and the pursuit of personal profit have become the tool with which the Americans created the foundations of the current financial crisis on their own. In his book, "The World is Flat" he repeatedly emphasizes that we have become a global villages and that there is an integral connection between all beings on this planet. This is a new event and new rules apply. We can no longer afford the old me first individualistic way of thinking because all of our actions affect each other and ultimately affect our self as well.  We must adopt a new paradigm.

 

Think about it in terms of the human body. Each organ functions for the benefit of the whole system. Our cells take the energy they need for their existence and pass along the rest. When a cell varies from this rule and begins taking more energy than it needs and thereby multiplying at a rate that does not serve the whole, we call it cancer. Our global financial crisis, environmental crisis, ecological crisis, energy crisis, health crisis and need I go on, are all examples of the cancers that afflict our nations. We are receiving very painful messages that we need to change and these messages will get more and more painful until we do.

 

America has been and should be a world leader and now is our opportunity to lead the world into a new consciousness, a new reality. This new reality is upon us and we have no choice other than to adapt like cells in one body or experience more and more pain. If we can force our self into soul searching we will see that this egoistic approach to prosperity has run its course and a deep social change is required. If we can recognize the interdependency between us, the interconnection between all nations, we can create a new economics the will be based on the good for us all and not for the individual.  No matter how intimidating this concept might feel, the world has changes, it is a global village, we have no choice.

 

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Pete Latona enjoyed a lengthy sales management career with AT&T and retired in 2006 to form his own consulting business. He currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife Nancy.
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