(c) Josh Sager – June 2011
Welcome to the United States of America–that shining city on a hill where anybody can make a new and profitable life for themselves despite their background or circumstances. Everybody is treated equally in this society and has an opportunity to build the “American Dream”, making a better life for their children than they had themselves. Characteristics such as race, religion and sexual orientation no longer effect a person’s treatment in this society. From our very founding the concepts of religious freedom and liberty for all have been the driving social constructs in our society.
Economically, we maximize profits through the free-market ideals of capitalist system of economics. Hard work and time will allow anybody to excel in this wonderful free-market economy where there is a direct correlation between effort/ingenuity and reward. In this society everybody pays taxes to the government and in exchange receives security, education, law, and regulations that protect the common good.
Our government only looks out for our interests regardless of corporate/interest group input and only acts in the defense of the common good. Eventually the end state of this utopic society is a country where everybody has a good job, lives in the suburbs, drives a nice car, has enough money for necessities and even has extra money for time off and vacations. The one problem with this wondrous society is that it only exists in the imaginations of the truly ignorant and the dreams of the most idealistic liberals.
Unfortunately, the true picture of the USA is far different than the fanciful ideal outlined above so let me try to correct my previous misstatements.
Welcome to the United States of America. A society where anybody can make something of themselves if they: A) come from money, B) are extremely intelligent/skilled, C) are extremely lucky. While the decrease in upward social mobility is a more recent development, there are social ills which have been endemic to our system from the beginning.
While Americans pay lip service to the ideals of equality and liberty, slavery existed for years and mistreatment of minorities stretches the full timeline of our country. Discrimination against minorities has evolved over the years, giving most definable ethnic groups a turn as the mistreated; from the abuses of the African Americans, to the “No Catholic Need Apply” signs and finally to Muslims and homosexuals in recent years, bigotry has a long history in the USA. As for religious freedom, a small but very vocal minority has co-opted areas of politics in order to impose their views upon society as a whole. Evolution deniers, young-earthers, climate-change deniers, pro-lifers, and various Christian doomsday prophets have twisted what should be secular lawmaking in an attempt to change society to fit their delusions.
Our capitalist system has unfortunately been corrupted into a pseudo-corporatist system where a select few individuals at the top have consolidated massive wealth and influence which they have utilized in order to block others from excelling. Income disparities between the top members of society and the rest of us have grown to previously unimaginable heights at the same time record unemployment numbers plague the country. The top 2% and multinational corporations have stacked the courts (particularly the upper tiers of federal courts) in order to stack the system in their favor. Political bribery has been legalized by removing donation caps and promoted by allowing all donations to be anonymous and thus without repercussions. All politicians (but no more so than the Republicans) are beholden to the rich and formulate policy intended to redistribute money up, cut the top/corporate tax rates, and deregulate industry to increase profits at the expense of average Americans.
WELCOME TO THE USA and good luck if you are poor, sick, a minority, uneducated, unemployed, an immigrant, a public employee, middle class, etc… (Basically everybody not in the top 10%),