The American Dream is a lie.
There. I said it.
It isn’t just a lie now that the economic realities of post-industrial “financialized” capitalism have come down on us like a hammer. It was always a lie.
We were told this lie to get us to keep behaving in ways that overwhelmingly benefitted a tiny handful of rich, powerful people, almost all of whom were white, Christian, heterosexual men.
We were told that there was no other way to live except to aim for a house of our own, marriage, three children, a car for each adult in the household, a TV in every room.
We were told that education was the only key to advancement, but then they arranged things so that obtaining an education involves going into an adult lifetime worth of debt so that the educated have no choice other than to go to work for whatever corporation will pay them doing whatever work benefits the corporation and its shareholders. And of course, the interest on those student loans also benefits the people who own the corporations too.
We were told that you had to strive to be “Number One” (but they never mentioned that only “one” can ever be “Number One” and that—if this is your goal—you are statistically overwhelmingly likely to fail).
We were told that buying things would make us happy.
Then we were told that anyone who didn’t believe in or adhere to this patently false ideology was either lazy or on government benefits (or, preferably for the narrative, both).
So I propose a “New American Dream.”
Let’s arrange our society and our economy in ways such that people can spend the majority of their waking adult hours with their families, in their churches, in their neighborhoods, with their friends, or doing what they choose rather than working for the profit of corporation shareholders.
Let’s look at work as a necessary evil rather than the central purpose of life.
Let’s see happiness as being satisfied with what we have rather than as obtaining ever and ever “more.”
Let’s define citizens and not businesses as those whom the government serves.
Let’s put humanity and not money at the center of our view of the world.