What happened to America?
For decades upon decades, there was so much promise, so much optimism, so much good will.
Or at least it seemed that way.
Whether the American Dream was ever real or not, it certainly was central to the nation’s precious mythology.
But what of the American Dream now?
As a nation, we have survived a bloody civil war, two world wars, two debilitating depressions, and too many military conflicts and various other setbacks in our long history to recount here. The point is, we are not strangers to greater and lesser adversity, and even challenges of the highest order.
Yet, something is different this time.
Something has happened over the past forty years or so, transforming the American Dream into something else, something less than believable, maybe not even worth thinking about.
For some, it’s just an invitation to jab an elbow in someone’s rib cage, wink and smile, quietly snicker. Like looking back on those foolish days of childhood when we believed in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.
Of course, many don’t give it a passing thought. They’re absorbed in other fantasies, lost in movies, video games, professional sports, sitcoms, reality shows.
For others, the American Dream has become a nightmare. It’s a daily visitation which taunts them, mocks them for their credulity. These are folks who scramble everyday just to have food to eat and keep a roof over their heads.
We at the NEAR Foundation haven’t succumbed to either ennui, jaded cynicism, or hopeless resignation.
We think America still has the right stuff.
But we are also realistic. Meaning … if we as Americans want to push our country closer to the ideal — real or mythical — which many have embraced as the essence of what our nation represents in the long course of history, we must courageously and honestly face what a mess we are currently in, then we must boldly and assertively attack the challenges, allowing no room for compromise or surrender.
We have to be candid with ourselves and one another.
We have to be unrelenting in our pursuit of the truth and real solutions.
We have to be strong, put aside our differences, work together toward an American Renewal.