What has become of the American Dream?

What ever became of the American Dream?

It was a long time ago. It was an act of defiance, and it was an act of treason. It was based on a belief that men could govern themselves, and with appropriate checks and balances, corruption and manipulation could be kept in check.

The revolution was driven by men who were pushed to the limit, who could stand no more, who were so deeply and unjustly constrained that they came to the place where, as was stated in that little church in Richmond, by Patrick Henry “…give me liberty or give me death …” It was an act of desperation.

If they failed, they would be placed onto a ship and returned to jolly old England, tried, found guilty, taken to the yard and drawn and quartered. The death that Mr. Henry referred to was not a pleasant passing.

Our laws find their roots in the Code of Hammurabi, defined by the many revisions insisted on by the working class types, such as the Magna Carta, and then “modern” english law. We plagiarized and bastardized these elements until it met the needs of our little band of tyrants. For, you see we were, indeed, tyrants, terrorists, if you will.

And, thus was formed these United States of America well not quite that simply, but, you get the gist.

So, what happened? We have become a machine bound with rust and gum that hums and makes horrible noise, going nowhere, producing little. Where is our republic? Where are the great debates, the great statesmen, the great consensus?

They have gone where all such things go when a plan is left, structurally similar, to churn on year after year, decade after decade, century after century. The polarization of our two party system even our two party system itself, would be unthinkable to our founding fathers.

The overbearing monster that is our federal government would certainly bring Patrick Henry back from the grave to take up arms and level, again the battle cry “…Give me liberty or give me death.” We have left behind the liberty that these men risked everything to gain against insurmountable odds. We walked away from it for the promise of “safety”, “security” and conformity and complacency.

What man in 1950 could have conceived that Americans would board a plane with our baggage opened by strangers from the government, going through our undies in search of the evil from which they so freely promise to protect us? Who would have ever thought that schools would sport metal detectors and policemen? What World War II hero would have sat with his hands folded on his lap as a man held a flight attendant hostage with a box cutter?

Yet, that is what we have become a bunch of fat, lazy, fools, squandering riches beyond description for another donut or a piece of candy. We have lost our fire, we have lost our selves. A government that is spinning out of control seeks to control more and more until, at last, the only element to be managed is its constituency.

The Republicans dislike and distrust the Democrats. The Democrats dislike and distrust the Republicans. Either would rather lose than to see the other win. The government gets bigger and bigger and demands more and more of the wealth of the populous.

With more money comes more government, more control, the further subrogation of our freedom. We stand on and watch and every day the media feeds the fires of fear and we cower and hope and pray that the “evil” will not get us in our well­appointed living rooms.

Where is the American dream? It is inside of your head. You harbor it. You are the vessel that holds this precious thing. The elements of that dream are responsibility for one’s personal actions and the willingness to allow all to exercise their freedoms in any way that they wish, as long as they do not hurt others. If every one of us awoke tomorrow and thought those simple thoughts, laws and regulations could be pared down to a precious few. Men would, again, act as men were meant to act to protect those weaker than themselves. We would find, again, the tolerance that was the foundation of our nation.

The Federal Government was meant to oversee the few elements that are universal through all of the states it was never meant to tax and distribute with strings attached.

There are so many things that must be fixed for us to return to our position of prominence in the world. The grandest is this self­defeating assumption that our government is there to guard us. Our government is there to serve us, to provide transportation between our states, to provide a coordinated military for the defense of our nation.

Most importantly, our government is to keep out of the lives of its people and allow them to enjoy our freedom. If we gain anything at the cost of the loss of our freedom, then all is lost and, for myself, I, too, say:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Well said, old man, well said.

Scott Cahill

Bernie Sanders is Sometimes Right

 

I watched a Bernie Sanders speech this morning. In it he discussed the erosion of the middle class in America. He railed against the inequity of the political system and the obvious pay to play that goes on in our government. Truly the rules are written by those who they affect. Truly, the biggest industries control the funding of all of the significant campaigns. We have failed to find honorable and just campaign finance and control.

Mr. Sanders has called himself a socialist. I find that repugnant. Still, I find that, forsaking his methodology, we are in agreement about the inequity of our government to the very constituency that they swore to serve. It is an unsustainable assault on the future of our nation and all of democracy. If America fails, as it seems bound to do, then democracies will fall like dominoes in the wake of our failure. I am certain that he is wrong in his proposed methodology. I am just as sure that the revision to the equity and justice of our society, which he advocates, must occur.

Mr. Sanders says that it is the charge of government to protect society’s weak. He is right. Mr. Sanders says that we, as a nation have the most failed health care system of any developed country and, in fact are the only large developed country that fails to assure health care to all of its citizens. He is correct. Mr. Sanders says that our nation’s laws and tax structure are drafted to benefit the upper classes and damage the middle class and poor. He is right. He claims that large industry in the U.S. do not pay their fair share of taxes. He is right. He claims that the entirety of our government serves a silent and small cloistered oligarchy, who act to protect their wealth and to increase it without care for others. I am afraid that he is right.

Our cities look like third world slums. Their population poor and infested with despair and drugs. Our infrastructure crumbles beneath the wheels of our cars. Our farms collapse, leaving only giant conglomerates to feed us. We are looking over the edge of a precipice. Over the edge there is no light for the middle class, or the lower class. Those who think themselves the controlling class shall find themselves falling, too.

Democracy is based on the belief that all of us are created equal. Where one goes we all go. When one hurts, we all hurt. No one, not even the elite, will survive such a failure. They will find their wealth wiped out, their security lost. Perhaps, it shall be the lower class who suffers the least when, at last, the lights go out.

The unraveling of the failures that have evolved in our short history as a nation will be very difficult. Always it is easier to destroy than to build. Always, it is easier to ignore the difficult tasks and to address simplistic actions. We have allowed ourselves to do so for too long. The time is upon us to act. America will be repaired one item at a time, until campaign finance, tax equity, and the elimination of all monopoly is complete. The middle class must florish and that requires, as Mr. Samders so elequently stated, the equity of compensation returning to our corporations. This is done only by unleashing free enterprise and removing the constraints to allow business and economy to flourish. Mr. Sanders is wrong when he states the government must set wages or prices. This has never worked in any model of government and it never will.

Our Representative Republic with its wonderful free market can only flourish when the “playing field” is level and just. We have allowed the game to be manipulated by the infusion of money into campaigns and false events. We have looked the other way as legislation which effects monopoly have been allowed to evolve and flourish with the support of law. For a pork barrel item, we have ignored poorly written legislation to become law, knowing that it was drafted to give unfair advantage. The ills that Mr. Sanders addresses are the manifestation of a republic which has lost its way. Such a government, which has allowed the erosion of the most basic tenants of its constitution, will surely fail. We cannot go on as we are now going. Our course must change if we are to remain complete and viable as a society and as a governed people under the framework of our now bastardized Constitution.

We saw the fall of Russia, broken and crippled. Today we see the great bear rising again to take its place on the world stage. Now it is the U.S. that is full of unnecessary regulation, corruption of all levels of government, bureaucracy that stalls the development of business. Do we think ourselves immune? We drive debt to ever greater levels and still, we fail to act.

It will take time and difficulty to fix the problems that we have allowed to manifest within our nation. Still, brothers, we must. If we fail, as surely as day follows the night, we will see the day that this great Republic falls from the face of our earth and all of man’s effort toward self-governance will wither into totalitarianism and oligarchy. The only remaining question before us is this; shall our great nation be broken into pieces by our own hand before it is put back together, or will we do what must be done, and address hard issues, to build, again, the greatest nation on the face of the earth?

Scott Cahill