No matter how much politicians might say otherwise, divisive politics kills the American Dream.
If you strip down all the political beliefs and goals of the people – across the political spectrum – there is no real difference among them. I’ve said before, “remove the deities, no matter what they are, and what is left is the same.” The “what” is essentially the same, while the “how” to get there differs greatly.
Everyone wants the ability to earn a living, have a place to live, enough money to enjoy some luxuries in life, and not need to worry about how to hold it all together in the event of illness or injury. The arguments start when people talk about how to reach those goals – usually splitting between a desire for government to do more, or less. This election cycle has brought those differences to the foreground more than most in the past several years, but even so, it is not the worst that we’ve seen. More importantly, after other highly contentious races, the political climate managed to cool down enough for our politicians to focus on compromise, instead of division.
And in spite of the very vocal minorities out there, that is exactly what the majority of Americans want.
I mentioned “removing deities” in the beginning here, and what I meant by that is the fuel for hot button issues. Whether it is a God people worship, or a government some people want to do everything for them, it is a deity that the people want (need?) to solve their problems for them. It doesn’t work that way. We can talk about the power of prayer, but the atheist isn’t wrong by suggesting that it is the power of positive thinking that really did the work. Having faith and praying can have a positive effect on people’s minds and bodies, though.
On the other side, we have people calling for government intervention in all of our problems, often expressed on the heels of complaints about the inefficiency of bureaucracy. When we see heartwarming stories about people overcoming difficulties, it’s rare when there is any mention of a government official being involved. Usually, it’s either the person fighting through the problems, or getting help from some friends or strangers. It’s not a government program to the rescue, or if it is, it’s usually a matter of someone helping a veteran get benefits that shouldn’t require a fight to get in the first place.
Beyond all of this is something that should be highly disturbing to everyone, but it isn’t. We have been manipulated by fear and hatred to a greater extent than I have ever seen in my lifetime. Violence is met with violence far too often, as we’ve seen in the multiple protests over the past several years. Intolerance has reached a fevered pitch, and the fear of diversity has been met with radical calls for the government to force acceptance through rule of law. The rugged individualism that theoretically is a cornerstone of our nation has been replaced by mob rule. And all of this is sitting on a firm foundation of hypocrisy.
But, the bottom line remains that for the majority of Americans, none of this matters. All it does is serve to build walls between everyone, and increase everyone’s dependence on government. The two major parties only differ in one thing – how they want to maintain control over the people. That may seem like a cynical or paranoid assessment, but seriously think about it. Think about the promises politicians make. While there might be occasional talk about deficit reduction, it never seems to involve talk about reducing the size or power of government. If there is talk about fixing everyday problems for Americans, it invariably involves a new or expanded government program. But, most of the time, it’s all about government protecting the people from the “evil other.” If you’re a Christian, you need government to protect you from heathens, to the point of legislating your belief system – force those evil people to follow your beliefs. Or you need government to save you from the people in the Bible belt, so it will make it illegal for anyone to disagree with your sexual preferences. And so it goes, on and on.
None of those things deal with the simple desire to have the ability to work, have a place to live, enjoy some luxuries in life, and not live in fear of permanently losing everything if disaster strikes. That is the American Dream, isn’t it? So, we have traded our dreams for a life of infighting, fear, and hatred.
Well, maybe not everyone has. I haven’t. What about you?