When Reality Becomes a Dream

“When you choose to serve — whether it’s your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American dream.” source

Barack Obama’s new (and fantastically designed, I might add) change.gov is messing with us. That, or his team is pretty confused about dreams vs. reality. Apparently, according to them, the guarantee to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that was written into the Declaration of Independence is a dream. The American Dream.

But that isn’t the American Dream and never has been. Looking past the fact that they are turning a reality into their version of compulsory volunteerism, we have problems with history. “The American Dream” has always been about upward mobility.

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to 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.”

-James Truslow Adams, (Epic of America, 1931)

Adams happened to have coined that term, “The American Dream.” Now, instead of perpetuating the ability for any American to make whatever they want of themselves “regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position,” we will be brought to one level – or at least be brought closer to that one level.

Through taxation and redistribution of wealth to welfare programs and doing to college what we’ve done to the public school system, all men will not just be created equal, they will all be on the same level.

That’s not my real point though. My main point is that Obama’s team has a misunderstanding of these phrases they are throwing around. That, or they are hoping to continue rewriting the expectations and understanding of the American people, many of whom voted based on an image, a race, or the chance to “be a part of history.”


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War has to become an instrument of policy, regardless of differences in culture, ideology, nationality, and personal morality, because with weapons that powerful the alternative could be annihilation.

- John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History

Even in “Crisis,” It’s The Same Old thing

From the AP:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned reluctant lawmakers Tuesday they risk a recession with higher unemployment and increased home foreclosures unless they act on the Bush administration’s $700 billion plan to bail out the financial industry.

Bernanke’s remarks about the risk of recession came in response to a question from Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who seemed eager to hear a strong rationale for lawmakers to act swiftly on the administration’s unprecedented request.

“The financial markets are in quite fragile condition and I think absent a plan they will get worse,” Bernanke said.

Ominously, he added, “I believe if the credit markets are not functioning, that jobs will be lost, that our credit rate will rise, more houses will be foreclosed upon, GDP will contract, that the economy will just not be able to recover in a normal, healthy way.”

Dodd later spoke disparagingly of the administration’s proposal. “What they have sent us is not acceptable,” he told reporters after presiding over a lengthy Senate Banking Committee hearing at which Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urged swift action by Congress.

Even in this so-called crisis which as more “normal people” up in arms than the war in Iraq does, the same old Democrats can’t seem to put aside their agenda and political prejudices to act swiftly to fix a problem. They all know better than the other person. So we get stifled. Again.

And yes, this has happened before. Try every time GWB or McCain or other legislators have attempted to pass regulation laws for the now collapsed Fanne Mae and Freddie Mac. Reasons? Well, I leave that to you to decide… but I will offer the suggestion that a lot of it is due to Dodd being in the pocket of some very wealthy former CEOs of said lending firms. And when I say “in the pocket” I mean that Dodd has received the most amount of money from those CEOs during his career from 1989-2008. source

Look at the number two on that list. Yeah, that’s after only 3 years in the senate. That much money is BIG incentive to stifle good solid legislation that could have prevented, or at least helped to prevent, what we are currently dealing with.

And even with that you think we would be quick to learn that there is a problem. Every time GWB urges lawmakers to act swiftly and put aside partisanship, the opposite happens.

I Take Issue

So what really is my problem with this year’s Democratic campaign? I’ll try to think it out here.

Disclaimer: I am not a registered Republican. I think of myself as an independent. I weigh the issues, reality, tone and context of the candidates.

In the past I’ve talked about how Obama doesn’t say anything and he’s spawned this hipster, popular, indie following. It’s true. I stand by it.

Well okay, I’ll back off on the “doesn’t say anything” comment. He has in the couple of months started outlining his plans, fantastically idealistic as they may be. And some non-hipster people are following him too.

My real issue this year is the falseness of it all. It’s ridiculous. It’s gloss and polish and rhetoric. It’s (sadly) the same way I communicate with visitors to the agapefest website. I don’t speak the same way I shape the tone of my posts there. And Obama does the same thing. He connects on one level but underneath that’s not what’s going on.

His money plans don’t work. He wants to lower taxes for the middle class. Except his idea of the middle class is a lot lower than what most of us would think. So low that my parents who couldn’t afford to send me to college yet made too much for me to get government aid would not make the cut. Instead, their taxes would go up. My taxes would go up. And I make jack. Really. I work in Christian higher ed. They don’t pay so much.

Energy is cool. Let’s be conscientious with our resources. Except in the meantime, over the next 10 years while we’re researching this technology, let’s raise taxes (which will decrease jobs by the way), let prices continue to go up on good, not drill so our gas prices continue to rise, and make government bigger. So says Obama.

While we’re at it, let’s continue to inflate the government and pass legislation on everything. When such legislation is passed, our rights are taken away. And when our government grows bigger and bigger, our money goes into their pockets and our freedoms go away. That is what Obama is for.

I have a problem with increasing funding for welfare, UHC and other similar forms of aid. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not against helping people. But I am against giving people handouts so they can just continue to live their messed up lives. The democratic party would like to increase those forms of aid and claim that it’s about helping people and making society better. On the topic of Universal Health Care, do we really want to be forced into a mediocre healthcare program? Do we want every person put on the same level? Do we want to get rid of the notion of an “American Dream” where any man can raise himself out of his current position and climb to new heights?

Is it even the government’s job to provide for those people, many of  whom are taking advantage of the system? Ask nurses who work in healthcare – they see those people everyday. Instead of programs being created to reform these people, programs are created to give them just enough money to be comfortable with abusing the system.

And so society doesn’t get better. It’s like pouring our money down the drain. If that money instead went into the programs to help people get jobs and lives it’d be different. If it wasn’t an encouragement to the majority of these people living off of government aid to stay on government aid I’d feel different. But it’s a waste. Especially when it’s at the expense of more jobs and lower taxes for everyone else.

Ask yourself a question: Are you lazy? Do you not want to take responsibility for yourself?

Obama will try to put that grandfather’s dream of a utopian world where the workers unite. Yes, everyone will be put on the same level. The rich will be punished for being rich and poor will get their money to raise their plight. He will violate the sound core of capitalism for the sake a proven failed system that always looks good on paper and always sounds good to young, idealistic ears.

Our markets will be closed off to other markets. Our goods prices will even go higher. Our bureaucracy will regulate trade strictly. This will harm the global economy. “Fair” trade is a myth. There is no such thing as “fair.” Someone is always discriminated against because a human is dictating the meaning of fair.

Our dependence on foreign oil is a fact right now. A fact that not only affects our economy but our safety. Obama wants to release this dependence. So do the Republicans. The difference is what each wants to do in the meantime. Not surprisingly, the Democrats opt for the position that will not only make the consumer poorer, but will also make the country itself poorer. If we do not drill here, we are either stuck being dependent on foreign oil over the next ten years while new energy technology is researched and developed (because we are not as far along as one might think), or we will have no oil and will be sitting on under developed energy tech that dimply does not work. And that means higher prices all around.

If you think that we need to pull our troops out of the middle east you need to broaden your context. Widen your view. With Russia already making eyes at us, the Evil Empire could very well rise again to challenge the US. And not amount of smooth-talking is going to fix that. You can delude yourself about that, but first, take a look at history.

Instead of getting worked up over the perceived issues, we should look at the big picture.