As It Turns Out: Class warfare vs. the American dream

The powerful and the privileged are doing a dandy job of waging class warfare to protect their way of life. Wall Street, commercial banks, real estate and insurance corporations will do anything to carry on as they have been for the past decade of pure plunder. Most of us on the losing side never dreamed they could do it, but they turned “We the people” into “We with the least scruples.”

“We the people” have been mockingly and brutally betrayed, and we “the people” pay the price of their monstrous greed. Even in Washington, D.C., our elected public officials – whom we pay exceptionally well to watch our backs – had their own ideological conservative troops in the war against us. Saddest of all is that these bad boys would hungrily do it over and over again, given the rumor of a chance. Now our economy is on life-support with precious little left over to survive.

The Declaration of Independence’s “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what has made America’s way of life so damned desirable to both Americans and to a majority of the world. The nation was founded by putting the common-class man on equal ground with the upper-class man. Opportunities and possibilities were there for one and all to grasp. Unfortunately, left unchecked by rules and regulations, the meaning of “pursuit of happiness” has evolved into the utmost immature “winner takes all while you can.”

The American Dream has also evolved, becoming less viable. It has gone far beyond the 1950s dream of home, auto and television ownership. As technology has grown, so has our American Dream. Do we even have an idea what it is today, let alone if it’s attainable?

Consumerism has consumed us wholly. And we happily offered ourselves upon a platter. Credit was easy, so we said, “Why not? I deserve to have something nice.” We tried to match our colossal McMansions to the ones we see in the glossy magazines – with all the snazzy commercial kitchen appliances and must-have gadgets. And it’s exceedingly important to be seen in a car that states the status of which we’d like to become accustomed. And why not get that 52-inch plasma? Get one before our friends do, and don’t forget the surround-sound. Goodbye rainy day blahs. Hello-o monthly payments. Homeland Security, protect us from our technology.

Yes, I’m particularly grumpy. I enjoy prosperity enough to really not want to see reversal of fortunes everywhere I turn. Look around and you’ll see someone, if not yourself, who is experiencing some degree of economic setback: eating out less; buying cheaper; having difficulty paying monthly bills and/or taxes; getting laid off; losing their homes.

Americans recovered from the Great Depression, but will we ever see our good old “nearly normal” days again? Perhaps President Obama’s stimulus plan will help. We’ve still got some American ingenuity left; let’s hope that’s enough.

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