Now What America?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Declaration of Independence, Adopted 4 July 1776, Continental Congress of America

What has happened since those significant words were adopted by this nation? Did they mean what they wrote? Well we know they meant to be inclusive only to the extent of their understanding of human and man at the time of the writing. Since the time they wrote those words we have expanded their meaning, but now it seems we are contracting them again. Contracting them how far is the question.

Let’s talk about misdirection, the idea that what is important is directly before us but we look the other way. Focused on what is not important, not relevant to our public or national lives or future. We stare mindlessly at the little screen, listen thoughtlessly to those who will never live in our neighborhoods, walk in our shoes, work in our factories or send their children to our schools; we listen as they tell us what to think, feel and fear about our neighbors. We grow ever more terrified of those who mean us no harm, certain they will bring about the demise of all we ‘hold dear’, the American Way of Life, The American Dream. All the while, that dream has left the building, tripped blithely out the door with a wink, a nod and a secret handshake.

We all stood by and let it happen. In truth, we applauded the sleight of hand, the magic trick that stripped us with each presidential term since Ronald Reagan of opportunity and Rights, more of our chance at achieving the much-vaunted American Dream. Meanwhile, our cities, suburbs, schools all become more dangerous. We not only fear for the lives of our children each day we send them off to school, we have to fear they will not have the basics of literacy the competency necessary to compete in the world of the future in a world that increasingly is leaving our nation behind in basic skills, as well as, new sciences and innovations where once we led the world.

The American Dream popularized and defined most accurately perhaps by James Truslow Adams in Epic America:

“But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”[i]

What is your chance of achieving a slice of The American Dream? The better question might be if you are a parent, what is the chance your children will do as well or better than you in life? The outlook isn’t good for either you or your children today.

Charts courtesy Mother Jones

Where does this leave us? We have been fooled into believing we are the best, the greatest nation in the world. We no longer are, we have in fact been sold down the muddy river our futures and that of our children ransomed for a pushcart and extra bullets at Wal-Mart. Fewer of our children will graduate from college and have a job in the coming years or if they do they will be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt they will be unable to pay in their lifetime. Violence is escalating across the nation, yet those in high office refuse to have a conversation about gun control for fear the NRA will spank them, withholding their future support at election time.

We are a nation on the brink of failure. We have failed our children by looking away. We have failed future generations by refusing to take action when we could. Instead of rising up and saying HELL NO, when we had the chance to do so we looked away, we sat idly by enthralled by our cheap toys and two-bit entertainment; we allowed our nation to fall into disrepair. No matter what we call ourselves, Progressive, Liberal, Democrat, Libertarian, Republican, Conservative, New Whig, Green; we have failed our children and our nation. We have looked away for far too long, allowing those in power to strip us of our voice through misdirection and outright lies.

The question is:

Now What America?

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