Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where is the America that Nurtured Me?

In the past 10 or 15 years, I have seen the America that provided me with so many opportunities turn into a land divided by income inequality, a deficit of compassion, and the reverence towards strange ideals that allow our elected representatives to make our government a dysfunctional atrocity.
Let me make something clear. I'm descended from two different Mayflower pilgrims and I love my country. I grew up in a time when I could be supported by Social Security but still obtain a PhD. That America no longer exists. We have the 1% and the rest of us, and it seems never the twain shall meet.
Let's take the concept of the Corporation as an individual. That was always a financial concept, but when the court allowed wholly-owned companies to deny basic rights to their employees, the reality became distorted.
When the Supreme Court decided in the Citizens United case, that free speech meant you could spend as much as you wanted on a cause or candidate, the cause of equality took another blow. Now the Koch Brothers can spend as much as they want to try and return us to an America that is mostly a fiction. That America treated African-Americans like chattel. That America refused to let the Chinese become citizens. That America refused to save Jews before they were sent to the gas chambers and certain death. In that America you called a Native American "chief" and nobody cared.
Let's not kid ourselves, money is always what counted in America, but there were pockets of compassion which allowed some of us to become all that we could be. Today America's upward mobility is lower than Canada's and much of Europe's. Are those tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty and do they weep because what she once stood for has become a myth?

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