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?

Chasing Perfection

How many women err on the side either of caution or of recklessness when we begin new relationships?

Venus & Mars Dance

I was speaking to my dear friend, Red, yesterday and we identified our initial list of potential sure to fail strategies we have either executed ourselves or seen our friends and family undertake in their pursuit of happiness. Our list grew throughout the day as she polled her vast Facebook army. By the end of the day there were so many it will be impossible to address them all individually!

There were some common themes though, in no particular order (yet) here are the top deal killers.

  1. Giving up our own life (family, friends and interests)
  2. Playing mind games (manipulation)
  3. Carrying our baggage into the new relationship (matching luggage though might be fine)
  4. Suffocating the new relationship or person
  5. Nagging
  6. Chasing Perfection (are any of us perfect)
  7. Lack of Ambition or Sacrificing Ambition
  8. Money Honey (keeping some of our own)
  9. Beginning a new relationship to soon
  10. Not being our authentic selves
  11. Moving too fast (sex, I love you and all that jazz)
  12. Not hearing what is said (Listening with our ears instead of our notions)
  13. Failing at trust and failing to trust
  14. Talking about the previous relationship or ex ad infinitum
  15. Trying to change ourselves, worse trying to change him

Number 1 on the hit parade seems to be ….Chasing Perfection

AKA

Building the Perfect Mate in Your Mind and Leaving no Room for Adjustment

It is my suspicion that many of the others fall under this one. Nevertheless, to start the ball rolling let’s explore our propensity to build our Dream Man, our Perfect Mate and our seemingly constant desire to mold our latest and greatest into that icon of flawlessness.

The Faceless Prince

When we are little girls we dream of our wedding day, we have a picture in our mind of what we will wear, how many attendants we will have and even what colors we will use. We see the groom standing at the front of the church in our fantasy wedding; usually he is one big tuxedo with a blank face. As we enter our teen years our imagined wedding matures with us, of course. We now have access to greater fodder to fill our minds, including the blank that is our future groom. No longer is his face blank, no indeed now he looks like our latest crush either the school hunk or the latest movie idol to hit the market. We sigh; we sign our names on multiple pages of our notebooks “Mrs. TwiddleTwaddle”.

Eventually we grow up, we reach some magical age of maturity where we recognize that Sir TwiddleTwaddle is unlikely to sweep us off our feet and marry us; or do we? Indeed, it is almost certain most of us have not only by now filled in the blank face of our childhood

Princess Bride Forever (image)

but have also made a list of attributes we require of our future mate, some of which may be non-negotiable. In keeping with the idea that we have defined our perfect mate, identified all his required characteristics, filled every last portion of his personality with our desires, I must ask is there any man that will fulfill our wish list? Will we always be settling in our heart and mind for ‘less than’? Is this what any man who enters our sphere of influence has to look forward to when they hope for a relationship with us? Really, are we always going to be this hard to please or have we left some room in there for our future mate to be their own authentic selves and for us to be happy they are there without equivocation?

There are certainly some things that are non-negotiable or should be at least. From the very beginning of a relationship we should be able to nix any of the following as deal breakers:

  1. Abuse of any kind – kick this one to the curb immediately and without thinking twice if he is verbally abusive it will without doubt escalate eventually. Run; don’t walk to the nearest exit.
  2. Liars – if someone will lie to you early in a relationship, whether on the big stuff or the small stuff, they will always lie to you. See the exit sign over the door, yes the one that is flashing red; make your way to it and leave now.
  3. Cheaters – if you agreed between you to exclusivity and he failed during the early days of your relationship, he won’t change. Forgive him, sure it is always nice to be forgiving nevertheless, get out he isn’t going to stop cheating.

Those are my own hot spots, there are surely more and likely others can add theirs.

The real point is though; men and women are imperfect in their design. If we have built up our perfect mate there will be no one who will measure up, no opportunity for us to explore our options and find that person that just might be perfect for us rather than simply perfect. If we shut the door there will be no opportunity for us to find that future mate that brings their life lessons and experiences, ones that balance ours and help us to live more fully together than apart. If we fail to open the door to imperfection we lose our chance at future love.

More on common themes in future posts, for now I think I will end this with one other thought; when we find that imperfect possibility and our first thought is how we can change them we have already lost.

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