AWAKENING FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM
By Jim Jordal
The long-venerated “American Dream” is dead---at least for half of our people. For these unfortunates the stairway to success is blocked, and the lowest rungs of the upward ladder are unreachable. It’s as if a giant hand drags them back as they attempt to climb. They become the statistics of inter-generational poverty and the invisible dwellers on the “other side of the tracks,” or deep in the high rise ghetto, where “decent” people never go.
The American Dream consists of the bedrock belief held by lower classes---often composed of immigrants--- that through hard work, education, and perseverance they can climb the economic ladder to middle-class comfort and security. And if they were also a bit lucky or uniquely talented they might even rise to considerable wealth and social status (the Carnegie, Rockefeller syndrome).
The American Dream was forged from our heritage of Old Testament Divine law, Greek democracy and the Roman republic, the British Magna Charta and natural law, and our own frontier experience. It makes us unique among nations as having strong limitations of executive power and a heritage of responsible freedom that has been emulated, but seldom successfully, by emerging nations.
But the American Dream is under attack as never before in our history. The changes are taking place quietly, like being “under the radar,” but they are here nonetheless. The threatening privatization of social security, ostensibly to “protect” our retirements, would accomplish the exact opposite, since it would transfer our retirement accounts to Wall Street supervision and the threat of massive losses due to greed and irresponsibility of people and institutions that have already trashed the economy once.
Another example is the impending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), creating a new trade agreement among 12 nations of the Pacific rim. According to political commentator Jim Hightower’s report, this agreement is so dangerous to national sovereignty that the negotiations setting it up have remained secret, even from our Congress through which it must pass. The online People’s Encyclopedia (Wikipedia) reports great concern over this secrecy as well as the fear that member nations would be “obligated to conform all domestic laws and regulations to TPP rules, even to the extent of how governments could spend tax dollars.” Such requirements would, if instituted, greatly threaten the ability of sovereign governments to make environmental improvements, expand human rights, and to pass public welfare legislation. The result would be that corporations could bring suit against governments for damages resulting from their attempts to protect their own people.
Folks, this is too much power to give to massive corporations desiring to benefit themselves and their stockholders at the expense of the public. It fits with views of the Psalmist, who speaks these very appropriate words: “Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with Thee [God]?” (Ps. 94:20). Among the many attempts by the existing “throne of iniquity” to “devise evil by law,” this one stands out in its lack of public transparency, threats to indigenous peoples, ecological damage, and even the continued existence of sovereign governments.
The vast majority of the American public does not wish to hear or accept truth concerning these issues involving the poor suffering at the hands of exploiters. Why? Because accepting truth may force us to act against evil, with the consequent disturbing of our complacency and Illusions of just what a good society is.
Biblical prophets did not only predict the future; they also expounded God’s law, explaining how the moral concepts of natural law never change, and how we as citizens and societies only succeed in breaking ourselves upon the absolute verities of God.
It’s like the apostle Paul said to those Corinthians fearful of truth: “Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth?” Are prophets our enemies because they attempt to “speak truth to power”?
These attempts of create evil by law are one reason why the American Dream” is so elusive for vast numbers of our people. God can end it, if we pray and obey.