America’s broken Dreams.
After decades of untrammeled capitalism there are still those that believe in its system able to the ‘transformation of all to the common good for all.’ This is what really happened though when the power of money took over from the power of sharing, caring, empathy and tolerance. Take a good look!
Was it forty two million or forty four million who are now living in dismal poverty in America? How could a country get it so wrong and so quickly? Here was a nation once held up as an example of giving anyone prepared to put shoulder under the task the just reward in living the life of dreams and untold riches. They had John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Men and mice’ as a previous example. The problem was the neglect of dreams of the spirit and mind and an over emphasis on material benefits. Is this a repeat of the 1920/30’s?
Was it ownership of large houses with triple garages that overtook ownership of caring and friendship, neighbourly concern, an intimacy of living together? Did they forget to understand what gives satisfaction is learning to overcome life’s tribulations and a yearning for bettering ourselves by caring about others? It wasn’t supposed to be this lonely race to fat bank accounts with share portfolios kept locked in study-room’s gleaming drawers. Something went wrong somewhere.
Americans aspired to keep young with Botox infusions, silly anti-erotic chicken-wing look Brazilian waxes and expensive life expanding lotions, do anything to keep death away. That was banished as much as possible with the casket silently sliding and discretely hidden by a curtain, towards its final journey, the incinerator. Better to concentrate on membership to exclusive golf clubs or solariums to give tans as overwhelming proof of health, wellbeing and.. Being and staying alive together with John Travolta and Olivier Newton.
The poverty in America while terribly real is also removed from what we used to think of as poor. The family was still driving a large car; they had flat TV, computers and the kids fiddling with electric gadgets. Some of those did not look very hungry either with large torsos struggling to get in and out of cars. It was the feeling of the US being totally lost in people’s life’s travel that was the real poverty.
The desolation of the urban landscapes, the flotsam of dangling signage and derelict commercialism, windswept and friendless acreages of spiritual dehydration, so palpable and visual, even to the blind. The poverty in the US is truly obscene and it makes the poverty of those in Bangladesh by comparison almost dignified, if one can give dignity to poverty! How will this ever be overcome? It is not just lack of money at play here.
One couple lamented, oh so sadly, there are ‘no safety nets here’, it’s just hearsay; it doesn’t exist! So, of all the riches, of all the wealth creation with gigantic burgers with chips and mayonnaise, there still is no safety net, no care, and no empathy? Where is society’s inclusiveness? No one is smiling anymore!
So, what is going to happen? I wonder if a change of course is required or will the old ways of the past be cranked up again? Perhaps, the Reds under the beds were not that silly back in the fifties. McCarthyism jailed those brave souls that were for equitable sharing, chased them away, but those that had inclination towards social conscience and fled to Canada certainly made that country showing a much more humane face. The extreme materialism in the US and with all those people with guns and assault weapons don’t bode well for a safe future.
One thing still fills me with wonder; those 120 million of smiling Hindus taking a dip into the Ganges at Allahabad. What have they got what the US doesn’t?