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Home » Archives » August 2007 » The American Dream Is??

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08/10/2007: "The American Dream Is??"

To the Editor:

The last time I wrote a letter to the Editor was 1989. I regretted that letter for years to come because it was a little too passionate and shortsighted. I hope I don’t regret this one.

There was a time, not too long ago, when a person in this country, even if he or she had a job at a gas station that he or she could buy a house and a car as long as they went to work every day. That was the American Dream. It was also a time when people had jobs doing things like making shoes, hats and growing things for consumption by other people like themselves.

That America has slipped into history over the course of one generation. The one that I am part of. The backbone of my generation was the middle-class. It was the part that the American Dream was aimed toward. It paid the bulk of the taxes and it enjoyed an economy built and supported by love of country and a belief in law and morals.

As my generation matured, we seemed to lose faith in anything that didn’t have to do with success, the trappings of success or of just the image of success. As we got our hands on the power controls of the corporate board rooms and the seats of government we chose short term profit-taking and international adventures designed to increase more power and more wealth. And we were good at it.

Unfortunately, this amoral lust for money, the new global marketplace and a hand-full of Calvinist corporate pirates have grabbed the tiller of our country and are gutting the golden goose of the middle class for all its worth. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not against getting rich. I’d just like to have enough to pay for my house and my car. I don’t want the top two percent of the wealthiest Americans to pay my bills. I just want to live in a country where I can pay my own way.

If we as Americans don’t stop watching “ Who wants to be a Millionaire” long enough to take this nation back to the rule of law and a country for the people and by the people in 2008, then I am afraid for us all.

Meanwhile, I’ll be trying out how to make my mortgage payment on my service sector paycheck. Also, I’ll be wondering what that smirk on Dick Cheney’s face is all about.

Ed Barrett
Friday Harbor

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