The New American Dream, Get Rich and Screw Everyone Else

This piece also appears at the Unpaid Punditry Corps.

There are many theories around why a President with piss poor approval ratings, at complete odds with the heart of his party, in the middle of a quagmire of a war that is taking more and more American lives could win re-election. The echo chamber told us it was because of “moral values” voters which was interpreted of course as religious ideologues so afraid of Hollywood, abortion and homosexuals that they put down their NIV bibles, turned off the 700 Club and came out in droves to support Bush. Then there was the line that somehow security trumped all, that we were so effin’ scared of another terrorist attack that the words of Dick Cheney rang right to the core of our very being, “if you make the wrong choice on Nov. 2 we could get hit again and hard.”

Personally I don’t buy any of this crap. The one thing that no one wants to talk about – mainly because of how ugly it makes us look as a people – is the fact that a large portion of those that voted for Bush in 2004 disagree with him on nearly every one of his positions from the war, to the issue of choice, to the blurring of church and state, to loss of civil liberties and on and on and on…but they voted for him anyway. Why? Because of their greed, they voted for Bush because he promised them a few more bucks in their pockets in the form of faux tax cuts.

I am not trying to minimize the fact that many people, regardless of how they truly feel about all other issues, will vote Republican because they own a gun or because they are adamantly opposed to abortion but what I am saying is those people have voted that way for years. What I see when I turn on the television, open up a newspaper, or simply walk along a downtown street are people struggling to jive their version of reality with the one that is sold to them by Madison Avenue. We are no longer citizens of this country, we are now consumers and that role trumps all else. We are expected to ignore our humanity in favor of keeping up with the Jones’.

The American dream, the idea that any person from any racial, ethnic or religious background can come to this country and be treated as an equal based solely on their merits as a citizen is gone. It has been replaced by the new American dream, one that expects us to forget out about our great society, about our humanity in essence, and focus solely on the fact that we can get rich if we only try hard enough – oh… and if we only support Republican’s who will make sure we get to keep every penny of what we earn. This message has been hammered into our little beans so much that we actually believe it. We actually are willing to allow millions of our fellow citizens to go without proper health care or work two plus jobs and still remain in poverty just so that we can have a few extra bucks in our paychecks at the end of the month affording us just enough to run out to Wal-Mart and buy the latest shiny piece of crap manufactured in China.

You don’t believe me? How about you drive by the nearest gated apartment complex and tell me how many 20-30 somethings are living there, paying outrageous rent and driving leased BMW’s so that they can appear wealthy. My contention is that we have completely lost our way, forgotten what we are about as a people. America is about opportunity, not ONLY opportunity to get rich, but the opportunity to be a part of a society that is tolerant of all kinds of people. America is not about trumpeting your Christianity while at the same time promoting hatred for one or another segment of society because of their action in the bedroom, it is about being able to be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan or whatever without having the government tell you otherwise. The Republican Party knows this and they have done everything they can to take advantage of it for political gain. If we are ever going to get back to being the great society we once were, we need to first recognize the fact that being American is not about being rich, it is about being treated equal all things considered.

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