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Is the American Dream over?


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#1 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:36 PM

A superpower in decline: is the American Dream over?
http://www.spiegel.d...,726447,00.html

Great piece if you can read it through without foaming at the mouth.

#2 CoyoteMesc

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:55 PM

Its just like the union here.

We all know that it is strength in numbers. But yet most of us feel that we alone cant changed shit.

They're missing the point.

We're filled with lazy people that depend on someone else to take charge so that we can stand behind 'em.

And some even worse...waiting for those to take charge while others stand behind 'em. Waiting for changes to take effect as they seem to have always done in past history. I have to admit, Im somewhat one of those people. I watch my tv and wait for things to return to normal.

I mean, what can CM do? Not use google, not buy products from businesses going out of the states?
I know for damn sure you can't vote in folks that are dependable. No one is going to save us.

#3 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 01:40 PM

Sadly, the apathy and feelings of general helplessness you describe are all too common in America today. Epidemic in fact. Personally, I believe this is one of the reasons so many people focus on issues like illegal immigration and abortion. Issues that are "easy" to take sides on and scream about keep us from thinking about all the damned hard stuff that seems too big to even consider (let alone try to solve). "Screw the national debt, these Mexicans are stealing our jobs!"

Then there is the vicious demonization of all those who hold opinions different than our own. Suddenly, they aren't "Real Americans" and it becomes perfectly acceptable to call them socialists or nazis. They become straw men we knock down and blame for all society's problems without getting one whit closer to a solution. But it makes for good TV...

It is a lot easier to call Obama a communist (or Bush a moron or Clinton a philanderer or Reagan a crazy old man) than it is to try and find an ideological middle ground we can agree upon. Middle ground involves compromise and considered contemplation - things that most Americans seem less and less interested in every day.

Gridlock is the order of the day for our government and any degree of compromise is perceived as weakness. The intelligent and educated are denounced as "ivory tower elitists" and vilified for being out of touch with the "common man." People who have never even read the constitution throw tantrums about how far away from the founders intents we have fallen. Religious zealots, who know no more about "On The Origin Of Species" than what they have heard from televangelists, ask why monkeys aren't still evolving into people and reject in toto the concept of evolution.

The proven fact that over 98% of our genetic material is identical to that of the great apes is utterly irrelevant - the proof is automatically suspect, in fact, because it comes from the scientific elites. And we all know how much scientists despise and want to destroy everyone's faith in God.

Human induced climate change is categorically denied - after all, the only evidence comes from those pointy headed geek environmentalists who want us all to eschew technology and go live in the trees...like apes. And incidentally, it is the great APES we evolved from. NOT MONKEYS. If you are going to denounce a man's life work as utter bullshit at least get the details of what you are denouncing right!!!

But we just seem to get crazier, dumber and louder every day.

I mean, 1/3 of the country honestly believes that Obama is a Kenyan born Muslim bent on destroying this country. Most Republicans genuinely believe that opposing anything and everything he does is their moral obligation. After all, they are the only bulwark against Obama's intended Islamization of America. They are fighting the good fight against the bad man!!!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not bashing Republicans/conservatives. The Democrats/liberals are just as guilty of using demagoguery and smoke screen wedge issues.

Critical thinking and logical discourse have been replaced by an almost pathological need to scream epithets and deny the basic humanity of anyone who disagrees (even mildly) with what you know to be right. It is all "us against them" where we are 100% right and they are 100% wrong. As a nation, we are becoming more and more angry by the day.

The parallels between the Weimar Republic of 1914 and the US Federal Government of today are both shocking and appalling. All we need is a loud telegenic demagogue to identify the "bad people" who are the source of our problems and the fourth Reich will materialize in Washington, D.C. America will unify behind knocking down yet another straw man while we ignore the real problems in our nation. It will make the McCarthy hearings look like a stroll in the park - McCarthy never hung anybody.

Can anyone say "Sarah Palin" or "Newt Gingrich?" The politics of hate and division have been around for a long time, but the ground has never been so fertile for their seeds of dissent as it is today.

What can we do about it? A lot more than we have been lead to believe, let me tell you. Little things can have a big impact because they make you feel like you are making a difference (no matter how small). Little things get you moving and give you momentum to tackle progressively bigger things.

For me, it is things like fixing the computers at a battered women's shelter pro bono (I'm a computer guy by trade). It is doing escort duty at the local Planned Parenthood and counter demonstrating against the religious zealots screaming "baby killer!"

It is donating stuff we don't need to Good Will (and shopping there as well). It is making charitable donations in lieu of paying income tax. It is pulling over on the highway to help somebody change a tire. It is walking the homeless guy into the diner, buying him lunch and humanizing him by listening to his story for a little while. It is standing up to abusive people instead of standing by.

Acts of charity and bravery are good for the soul. The best way to lead is by example.

All these little things give you traction and make you feel stronger. Little things empower you to tackle ever bigger things until eventually, you start to not feel quite so alone and impotent to affect change. All of a sudden, you realize that you have power. And that feeling is infectious - the stronger you feel, the stronger you make those around you feel.

One thing is for certain, though. Nobody ever made any headway towards solving a problem by ignoring it and calling it too big to tackle.

Unfortunately, solving the big problems requires some serious compromises and some damned hard work. Stuff that is all but impossible to do when we spend so much time laying blame on "the other side" and screaming at each other.

Personally, I think the US is too damned lazy, as a whole, to climb out of this pit we have dug for ourselves. I think we are doomed as a nation and as a people.

But that doesn't stop me from trying to help where I can. I may just be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic but I do it nonetheless because thats who I am and thats what I do.
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#4 TurginBiffel

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 02:39 PM

I agree with the above poster. General laziness among the population is a big problem. And while I like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow they focus too much on the Republicans as the problem of gridlock in the government. Truth is Republicans do what Republicans do and it's not a big secret what their agenda is. And how did they get to power? They were ELECTED by voters. So blame the voters not the GOP. But of course then the shows might not be as popular if you are placing the blame this way.

And who is responsible for our manufacturing going overseas? The answer is the American public voting with their wallets.

Eventually as time goes on I predict the population will eventually become aware enough and diligent as a whole to vote as a majority to change things.

But that day is probably many years away.


#5 CoyoteMesc

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:16 PM

Nice post Buck.

After the read, I can see where many of us are guilty of focusing on the larger issues. The issues that each of us individually shouldn't worry about solving.

Im not saying that we shouldn't know about them. But we have too many things in arms reach around us that we can do something about. As more and more Americans reach out to help a neighbor or volunteer his/her time in his/her community; That Community grows stronger and larger. In turn we all come together and bond as brothers and sister under one nation. "Craw before you walk"

You made a great point ~ "All these little things give you traction and make you feel stronger. Little things empower you to tackle ever bigger things until eventually, you start to not feel quite so alone and impotent to affect change. All of a sudden, you realize that you have power. And that feeling is infectious - the stronger you feel, the stronger you make those around you feel."

Those words hold true for the Country, not just each of us individually.

#6 CoyoteMesc

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:25 PM

And to answer the question of the original
post. No, I don't think its over and wont give up
on what and where I want to go and take my family.

Many more changes and situations would have to happen/arise before I could agree that the American Dream is over.

Many of us are still living that dream daily and many more are seeing it happen everyday.

One might ague that some 'American Dreams' are just not realistic. I mean, ask 25 people to define what the american dream means to them and you may see several definitions.

#7 StheNC

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:18 PM

My American Dream is to live in a nation where there is no profit to be made from caging adult humans.

#8 Teonanacatl38

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:25 PM

"Is the American Dream over?"

I sure hope so....
somebody better start wakin' the fuck up.

It's time to pull our heads outta our arses and start looking at things for what they are.

Natural selection isn't an April Fool's Day joke. It's part of the inherent wisdom within the system.

This planet's way over-crowded. Sooner or later, people gotta do some dyin', and all I know, is....

It sure as shit aint' gonna be me Posted Image


Dead weight be sloughed....let the brush-fire burn. Leave only the gentle spring rains, to sing of what once was, and usher in the Medicine of a Rising Phoenix.

Posted Image Burn baby burn.....

QNzIKoAy2pk

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#9 dfar

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:04 PM

What is the American dream?

American Dream = Being white, male, and between the ages of 30-60.

All others need not apply.

American Dream = old world imperialistic attitude = will not be missed by the majority of the world
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#10 mycowarrier

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:12 PM

Bulworth has a pretty good idea :eusa_clap
d8lUY9jS8oQ
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#11 CoyoteMesc

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:36 PM

What is the American dream?
American Dream = Being white, male, and between the ages of 30-60.
All others need not apply.
American Dream = old world imperialistic attitude = will not be missed by the majority of the world

That's sounds racist, sexist, and extremely offensive.


And know, KNOW that the world would feel the effects if America were to fail. Its only hope would be that if America did fail, it would fail slow, very very slow.
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#12 McDozd

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:48 PM

acLW1vFO-2Q
RIP GC
Mc
:eusa_clap
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#13 roc

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:54 AM

FREEDOM

#14 Justintime

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:59 AM

Heyyy looks like the Indian dream has begun hehe...anyone for a ghost dance?

#15 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:10 PM

A superpower in decline: is the American Dream over?
http://www.spiegel.d...,726447,00.html

Great piece if you can read it through without foaming at the mouth.


I see what you mean about the foaming at the mouth thing. And no, I wasn't able to read it without churning up a little. And it's great to see you back around, posting threads! Your perspective is always welcome and has been missed around here lately...

American Dream = Being white, male, and between the ages of 30-60.


No, that was Michael Jackson's dream. And we should all be so lucky as to get to live like a black American woman named Oprah, among others. The race thing has always been a smokescreen for the real issue (economic class).

Also, I'd suggest to anyone considering commenting in this thread to actually read the article first. It does address some of the points being brought up by people who obviously did NOT read it and just jumped in to take a cheap shot at the U.S.. For one thing, the article did have a fairly specific concept of what the "American Dream" consists of, and why it might be moving out of reach.

Consider this:

It has become a country of plain solutions. People with college degrees are suspect and intelligence has become a blemish. Manfred Henningsen, a German political scientist who teaches in Honolulu, Hawaii, calls it "political and economic paralysis." One reason for the crisis, says Henningsen, is that the American dream, both individual and national, has in fact always been a fiction. "This society was never stable. It was always socially underdeveloped, and anyone who talks about the good old days today is forgetting the injustices of racist America."
Agitators like Glenn Beck are "nationalist, racist and proto-fascist," says Henningsen. "They take advantage of the economic situation, almost the way the right-wing intelligentsia did back in the Weimar Republic."



While I have no love for the present incarnation of the U.S. Government, I do know a lot of Americans who very much want to do the right thing and create a stable, sustainable world in every sense of the word (instead of a Fourth Reich) but whose voices are presently drowned out by the constant sensory overload of flashing lights, petty distractions, and carefully-designed marketing propaganda relentlessly suggesting we buy as much useless crap as possible and implying we're flawed/behind/obsolete if we don't.


Anyway, this statement about Greenspan on page 2 of the article caught my attention:

He placed great stock in the experiences of his friend, the Russian immigrant and philosopher Ayn Rand, who wrote about the evils of collectivist systems. "What she did...was to make me think why capitalism is not only efficient and practical, but also moral," Greenspan said. "Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should."


I didn't know Greenspan was friends with and influenced by Ayn Rand. No wonder why we're so fucked; the dissonance boggles the mind: After administering the Reserve in good Objectivist fashion, Greenspan left it and the economy as a whole in a shambles but somehow can still see his philosophy and legacy as "efficient, practical, but also moral..." which makes me throw up in my mouth a little before I even get to the part about his death-wish for those who for whatever reason are unable or choose not to live in eternal economic competition with each other (while totally neglecting the history of similarly disaffected populations rising up and cutting lots of heads off once pushed a bit too far). Greenspan's strikes me more like the kind of moral code a reptile would have, which is probably why some people believe most of the players at that level actually are reptiles.

If nothing else, the article seemed a good argument for the dissolution of the Federal Reserve. For one thing, who the hell are the board members, how were they picked, and why do they feel they need to exist? Some of those questions are rhetorical; I do know a bit about it from firsthand experience since I've smoked a few joints with a member of the Board (seriously; they're total hypocrites), who also happened to be from a family with tremendous land holdings (going back to before the Civil War). Large property holdings (on the order of many thousands of acres) seems to be a common thread among Board members, so ultimately the Reserve promotes and protects their interests above all others, which explains a lot when I think about it. It also explains the purpose of the recent real estate meltdown (something that was easily foreseen yet strangely ignored); vast property holdings have been transferred from small companies and individuals to banks through the foreclosure process, and since most Board members are also private bank Board members, they just gave themselves a whole lot of property by manipulating fiscal policy and interest rates.

The myopia of multinational corporatism as presently practiced does seem to be moving well ahead of organized religion as the force most likely to bring civilization to its knees. The U.S. losing status as a superpower is irrelevant (as far as I can tell) in this emerging global reality of depleted resources, polluted environments, and exploding population (dominance in this context is like being the healthiest patient in the cancer ward; seems like small consolation to me). This multi-faceted developing global crisis is much more fundamental than who's currently the King of the Hill and unless we collectively get past the petty nationalism, religious conflict, and wholesale destruction of the biosphere our existence depends on then most of us alive right now will get the chance to watch it all burn.
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#16 iamsmiley

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:30 PM

when Americans once again learn that education is the key to America's future and that money grows on trees and does not come from their VISA card then there will once again be hope in the materialistic "American dream"

#17 CoyoteMesc

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:44 PM

Regardless, the article is based on a few facts, a few quotes and many opinions of his and the opinions of others he chose to quote.

I disagree with most of it. I think its based on false information and/or conspiracy theory.

Thats just my opinion.

When the Government says the country is broke, the dominos start to fall. It's just the way it is.

I've never bought into it and I never will. I think that what has happened in the last few years is a product of false claims and scare tactics. And boy, has it ever worked.

Now all the government has to do is to come out and say we're doing ok, we're doing better, we're doing great. When that happens the plan will run its' coarse.

It seems cruel to most, but maybe its part of a larger plan.

Conspiracy theories, with out facts, we're left to assume. I dont trust CNN for fact nor do I expect to get the truth from locals.

Maybe learn to read and write in different languages and read the news in many lands. Put all of it together to make out a little truth of whats REALLY going on.
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#18 mycowarrier

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:31 PM

last two paragraphs of artical

Now Putnam is worried about economic imbalances and new disparities within society. Today an American CEO earns about 300 times as much as an ordinary worker. In 1950, that number was only 30. The consequence is "social segregation," says Putnam, by which he means that people go to different schools and parties and live in different neighborhoods, and that there is no longer any overlap between groups.
"The fundamental bargain, the core of America, has always been that we can live with big gaps between rich and poor as long as there is also equality of opportunity," Putnam says. "If that is no longer true, then the core bargain is being violated."


I believe the gap between the "elite rich" and the "common poor" is getting bigger and the reason for the decline of this country and "The American dream". The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Always has been that way.

Now Obama makes it even worst by extending huge tax breaks to the rich like him. As to extending unemployment benefits again? Most construction workers that got layed off are now working "under the table" and still getting that check from the gov. How's that working out for Obama? Just like all his other "stimulus programs".Blowing up in his face.

Edited by mycowarrier, 02 January 2011 - 10:54 PM.


#19 Nez

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:49 PM

it is over.
its going to crash.
so plant your garden and save seeds and put food by.
you know learning how to build and run a still would be good too.
help foster a strong local community, thats going the one thing that will get us through to a stable place. if we have strong communities we wont be so vulnerable.

#20 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 01:01 AM

Fuckin' good posts for the most part (pardon my obscenity). Some damned good grist for my mental mill lies amongst the detritus here...

I WANT DESPERATELY to respond to individual posts (specifically yours TV - OHHH I wanna respond - but I don't want it to end up just us talking - suffice to say I agree with at least 80% of what you are saying).

But I don't want to derail what I find most interesting about this thread (and this concept).

I want to go back to the ideal of "The American Dream."

That is to say, if you work hard are you guaranteed a chance at a better life for yourself and a better life for your children?

Maybe I should have asked for a group consensus on what "The American Dream" even means before posting. Friggin' drunks with keyboards...




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