On this hot and steamy, Summer dreamy, hammock-sleepy Sunday.
By Capt. Fogg
happened to have CNN on the other day and they were airing another one
of their puff pieces on "The American Dream," one of those annoying
reflections on how the land of opportunity is failing to be a land of
opportunity. I find it annoying because of the assumption that the USA
is somehow a unique place when it comes to providing upward mobility, a
more honest name for a dream that, let's face it, is everyone's
dream. I've seen figures that argue for other countries -- quite a
number of other countries -- being better places to get ahead, to get
out of poverty, to save some money, to make a good life for your
children, but we still call it an American Dream as we still use the
word freedom to stand for some special thing we, and only we possess.
people interviewed all seemed to believe that those Americans about to
enter or having recently entered what we like to call the "work force"
will not have as prosperous a life as their parents. I remember hearing
the same thing about my children's generation some 30 years ago. If
hope for the future is the American Dream, pessimism is the American
affliction. Things are always getting worse.
female interviewee told us her vision for the future of people her age
was bleak "because of all the guns and violence" and the answers of
the others were is bizarre and confused as hers. It's true, the middle
class of America has been shrinking for quite a while, and with a
possible brief interlude, so have living standards, including health and
education for all but a tiny proportion of us, but perhaps the dumbing
down includes an inability to correlate the marginalization of the
masses with the rise of retro-Capitalism and the idea that we're all
dependent on the very, very rich for our prosperity. It's an idea that
does I think, depend heavily on a misunderstanding of Capitalism and of
prosperity. I could easily cite Mexico or other countries with a lot of
wealth in a few pairs of hands and very little opportunity that doesn't
involve swimming a river or climbing a fence.
at home, in my unincorporated area with large spreads of trailer parks
and not much more than a crossroads shopping center or two, I have to
wonder just how much trickles down from a few dozen
multi-multi-millionaires and billionaires who live withing walking
distance from me. They don't shop here, lobby effectively to keep much
commerce and traffic away and although property taxes do help our
schools, most people of the white persuasion send their kids to private
institutions, many of them parochial. There are very few employment
opportunities even at the minimum wage.
Most of the
visible trickling is the water consumption of the private water parks
and golf courses owned by the sports and entertainment folks you never
see, unless it's one of their helicopters going overhead. They might as
well not be here. I can only wash my car on Thursdays and Sundays
while the bulk of our drinking water nourishes grass and water slides.
Trickle Trickle. They're not really job creators other than for lawn
mowing and pool maintenance. If you find a job here, your employer
would likely be a local business man. A shop keeper, painter, mechanic,
grocer -- and they are suffering still, long after the market has hit
historic highs and unemployment is back in the 6% range.
percolating up, not trickling down and of course we understand how it
all ends with no affluent consumers to fuel jobs and opportunities --
and no dream, American or otherwise, just pessimism, hopelessness.
a good part of the malaise has little to do with the failure of
Capitalism, the growth of monopoly, the reduction of choices and
opportunities, it's also the legacy of round the clock scandal, outrage
and doom marketing having so little to do with objective reality. The
20 something has less to worry from guns and violence than I did 50
years ago, she won't be drafted, she's more likely to live a long life
and not to be bankrupted by medical bills, less likely to die in a car
accident and a lot of other better than nothing things, but the spirit
of defeat and hopelessness is there. The habit of looking backward
instead of forward of seeing defeat in victory and victory in being a
loser and I have to blame the information age and the technology that
lets those very, very rich prosper by providing that stream of
disinformation and outrage people just can't tune out and don't know
enough to question. All we lack is a Colosseum.
Bowe Bergdahl spoke a word to anyone, the media had already turned from
hope and relief to slander and scurrilous accusation lest any unity
arise. I understand his parents have received threats and that the slime
machine is at full production levels. The machine that cannot tolerate our
feeling good about anything
lest we tune out, unplug, wake up, fight back.
think it's a fine example of how dreams and hopes and even hard work
are turned to shit for corporate profit: an explanation of the success
of all those apocalyptic destruction blockbuster movies and those
apocalyptic shooting/suicide shootings, stabbings and bombings because
we all know the end times are here and nothing is ever going to get
better, unless you live on Jupiter Island Florida with a private water
park and a private helicopter to fly you between your yacht and your
private golf course. These good folks aren't interested in seeing
Godzilla stomp on our cities. They are
Godzilla and they've been
stomping for years -- and God help anyone, from peon to president who
Labels: American Dreaming