One of my favorite political writers, Hunter S. Thompson, used to write about the american dream, or more precisely, about it’s dying. Personally, I think once he could admit that it was well and truly dead, beyond hope of revival, is when he decided to kill himself…
And now I think we are well into the American nightmare, or quite possibly, have been for many decades.
The reality we have tried to shape for ourselves is unsustainable. The myriad of complicated games we played to prop it up fell apart in grand style at the end of Bush’s term, and we still haven’t grasped that it is not coming back. But long before we had lost what had made america great- agriculture and manufacturing.
We have seen manufacturing jobs either outsourced, or replaced by machines. Pretty much the same with agriculture- with an increasing emphasis on mass mono-crop production which allows mechanization of nearly every step of the process, coupled with the use of immigrant labor to do jobs americans are by and large unwilling to do.
For example- everyone talks bout the slow rate of job recovery- the number of unemployed/underemployed. But few are talking about the fact these numbers will never return to where they were. The loss of manufacturing jobs, agriculture, construction- to both mechanization and a lack of american workers with the skills, and work ethic, do do these jobs.
And all the while we have seen the american dream change from working hard, and working our way up to build the life we want, switching to the mentality of a spoiled child- I deserve these things…and of course the last few decades of handing out credit cards and loans to anyone and everyone only fed this- with predictably disastrous results.
Anyone who thinks the america of old can be returned by their politician is fooling themselves. Those days are gone- and they aren’t coming back.
The only question that remains is whether we can wake up, face the realities, and cobble together a new dream. Or if we remain asleep, telling ourselves it’s just a nightmare and it will all magically be better when candidate xyz has control.
So america- are you up for it? Or do we become the shortest lived major nation in world history?