As often as American’s advocate and idly stand by in the name of a broken political system, very rarely do politician’s actual endorse an electoral style, capitalist style of democracy. Often times, our elections are ranked as among some of of the worst in the entire world. Sure, we could speculate on “where we went wrong” or “the good old days,” but, I challenge you to find a period in American history where there was true equal opportunity for everybody.
Hell, it almost makes you want to pierce the illusion.
My grandfather lived in an era where he served two tours, one in Korea and one in Vietnam, to come home to a job that sustained his lifestyle. For many years, he worked as the sole postman whose route stretched from Cass Lake to International Falls. Even after he retired, up until his death, he was able to rely on his retirement and government benefits after years of service.
My father, after moving down to Minneapolis in his late teens, hopped from job to job after landing cleaning/sweeping job through his girlfriend’s, later his wife and my mother, uncle at printing company Mcgill Jensen in St. Paul. After working there for years, it got bought up by Banta, and, after working there for close to 20 years, the company was Union busted.
For years afterwards, my father hopped from job to job not in the hope of fulfillment, but just to make sure my family could be provided for and my sister and I had as many opportunities as possible.
Now, he has a solid job in his town and does countless amounts of community work, never losing focus of benefiting everybody. To this day, my father represents my idea of the American dream. He is hardworking, smart, and has an indomitable spirit.
That being said, he is exceptional. I can’t help but feel this idea of the American spirit has warped in the last three generations into a cardboard cutout. It’s depressing, I know. But, what else am I to believe when an obvious frustration bubbles underneath American’s feet. There is a lack of faith because we have been burned too often. We have been laid off one too many times, been taken for granted by corporations and a system that we were always told to have undying faith in; don’t worry, if we did, everything would be alright.
Except for all the times when it wasn’t.
How can I believe in the American dream when my own blood has been burned? How can I believe in the American dream when just being apart of it is inherently anti-global?
How can I believe in it when, ironically enough, even our politicians don’t seem to?