If you haven’t heard it before perhaps it is time that you tuned your ears an mind into a new reality, something which many, especially in government circles, have been trying to keep out of the limelight, out of the consciousness of the general American mind: The American Dream is dead, long live the American Dream. The theoretically richest country in the world is only rich on paper, and the paper itself is hardly worth the paper it is written on.
This has been a long time coming. It has worked its way through all levels of society gradually, spreading its tentacles unseen, infecting every single area of normal American life – and by normal I do not count the highest 1% of the population, regardless of race or ethnic origin. The fact is, the United States, despite what some may claim, is no longer the dream land it was once planned to be, it is no longer a land where people can make a success of their lives and live in prosperity. Poverty has more than one foot in the door, at all levels, and there is no sign that it will become any better, no matter who is in power, no matter who tries to build a ladder back to the way things were.
This is partially because things never were ‘as they were’, the level of poverty in the United States has always been there but has been restricted to a smaller portion of the population, predominantly those from foreign lands who come to sample and live from the golden wonder, the promised land and all its riches and discover that all they have to gain is a poorly paid job cleaning toilets or stacking shelves.
And now we see more and more major cities – Detroit is merely the latest example – going down the drain. What we do not see is the help that such major communities need coming in to save them. The finances of individual States, of individual cities and towns are a local matter, not a Federal concern and are left entirely out of the picture when it comes to official statistics, official reports on the State of the Union.
The State of the Union, however, is one of collapse, bankruptcy, ruin, and those who are taking the brunt of this collapse are the ordinary citizens, the grass root taxpayers, the voters who cannot see any way out of their own situation but have to rely on the well-paid politicians and their high-earning, rich supporters.
In Europe, despite much controversy, individual countries are helping one another. They are cutting back on waste, revising their stance on trade, on government, on employment and education. They are using the power of their wealth – paper or otherwise – to ensure that member States in the Union do not collapse.
But this is the old world. This is the world across the sea which was left behind to create the American Dream, so it cannot be right. And yet… and yet in Europe there are no reports of countries, States, cities applying for insolvency. In Europe the help that is needed is there and readily available, it is not a dream, it is a reality to which the government of the United States, the governors of individual States should wake up and take note of.
It is time to revise, to revitalize and to help. And help begins at home, within our own borders, with our neighbors and colleagues because, in the end, when one goes down the others follow one after the other. If Detroit can go bankrupt, why can’t New York, Philadelphia or even California?
- Viktoria Michaelis.