The American Dream idea has been hijacked by the 1% and left the rest of us anxious and broke

The New American DreamThe American Dream is a foregone delusion. There has been a sustained shift of wealth, out of the hands of the many (the middle class) and into the few (the incredibly, disgustingly rich). This is the big picture that is the umbrella, the parentheses that encompass our societal and cultural problems.

Indeed, we know we’re in trouble. Democrats blame Republicans; Republicans blame Democrats. There aren’t any viable moderate political options anymore, as if there ever were. Most Americans agree that our government is sick, and so is our society— so is the world. We have trouble agreeing on who and what is at fault, but we agree that America just ain’t what it once was.

Even those who claim to love America and wrap themselves in flag-print clothing goods (made in China) would say that a growing mass of people in this country are living in a way that is unsustainable. That there is evil going on out there, and it threatens our very existence.

The Occupy Movement brought light (and mass attention) to this truth for awhile, but again we are sleeping, droned to by the squawking mass media coverage of the superficial and “scrubbed news,” while still, the ever constricting amount of “chosen” people amass the wealth and pull the strings to keep the masses numb and sedated to the greater realities that we all face.

We have health concerns, employment concerns, food source concerns… and all of this speaks to our resources and our ability to make informed choices to be able to afford to do what we feel is right for our families and communities.

But whereas most of us feel the tight restrictions on our income (even those who consider themselves “well-to-do”), the small upper crust super rich, the 1%, have consumed the markets and rigged the game so that their cut continues to grow, and the rest of us get to fight over the crumbs that are left.

In the accompanying video, watch just how rich the 1% of the population is. A CEO is shown to earn 380 times more than the average worker makes. How can this be justified? Does a CEO really work that much harder than the average worker? Seems like it’s backwards to me. I’ve done manual labor before, and it can be “back-breaking” work. Going to meetings over lunch and/or dinner isn’t physically demanding, even if you’re somehow “working harder.” It’s suspect at best.

They own all the communications outlets. They control congress through campaign contributions to both sides. They profit from our warped and staggering health care system. They control and manipulate a good stock market and get bargains and bailouts in a bad stock market.

They profit from less regulations through a political system they tune to their liking with their lobbyists. They profit from the labor of the underpaid, the under-employed, and the under-insured. They have any and every luxury and they still want more. There simply isn’t enough left for the rest of us.

The greedy SOB’s have broken the bank playing Monopoly and have taken almost everything, and they’re not done. Because they’re driven by an addiction: Wealth addiction.

It’s no longer enough to make millions of dollars in order to purchase the sports car and dream home they’ve always wanted, they want billions. This small cadre is driving this whole planet over a proverbial cliff.

But what Mary Lou taps into below is an abundance greater than any amount that these greed suckers can consume. And that is the ability to love. To hurt and fall sick and recover. To live a purposeful life regardless of the outcome. To believe and to have hope, and to do it regardless of the opposition, regardless of the odds. To bring forth magic. To love as if everything depended upon it, which it does.

There are ways to fight against the current system that’s holding us back, but we also need to remind ourselves that the American Dream was never about the pursuit of vasts amounts of money, it was about the pursuit of happiness.

Communities are organizing and doing the work to bring our sanity back. Many of us need to ease our anxiety before we can take on the corporate powers that be, otherwise it can be a little overwhelming to the best of us. 

“I think that the majority of people with any degree of ecological consciousness are feeling very sad and anxious these days. The same industrial death machine that is creating ecological collapse is the one telling us that there’s something wrong with us if we are feeling sad and anxious; something they can fix with their very profitable daily drugs (which then leave our bodies and cause further damage to the environment which makes many of us more sad, creating a very profitable feedback loop).

All of our tension, anxiety, sadness is valid. Instead of numbing out, how can we create space to safely express all of the real and huge and intense feelings that the powers that be do not want us to be acknowledging right now? How can we walk with our pain and not be crippled by it? How can we move in the world with an open heart and tears in our eyes and a valid/growing sense that things really are coming to a terrible head in terms of biological and societal collapse?

Our children are sick with cancer and autism and immune system diseases, 90% of North American birds have died off, the bees are disappearing, there’s a hole in the ozone layer, every day we hear of another oil spill. And this is just a small list of how very horrific and depressing and anxiety provoking things are right now.

The forces propelling us into total ecological collapse benefit when we numb out and take their drugs and keep plugging away at our ridiculous grad school projects and day jobs and consumption of their products. Feeling our pain and anxiety and grief/sadness/depression is a radical act. How do we as healers create the space to feel and express and honor these feelings for ourselves and others?” – MaryLou Singleton, Alburquerque, NM

Check out the organizations listed below and see what’s being done, and where you can join in and lend a hand:

american dream


  1. Excellent perspective. I’ve been saying this for the past 10 or so years. Why has this happened? At first I wanted to blame in on Reagan’s “Top Down Economics” ideology. Then I began looking back when I was in grade school. Back in the 50’s when everybody used to go to the same school w/in your district. There was no busing or wealthy Private Schools back then. All the kids played at the same playground. By all the kids I mean the rich and the poor. We didn’t know the difference. Sure ole’ Larry used to always come to school w/starched shirt and pants…because his parantes owned the local cleaners. And Ronnie and Bill’s parents owned the local men’s clothing store. Needless to say they were always dressed to the nine. But then something happened. Urbanization. These well to do folks moved to a wealthy sub-division build by a wealthy builder. We then had seperation from the rich. This led to only the rich congregating w/the rich and the middle class w/the middle class. Remember, back then even the poor didn’t know they were poor. Today they certainly do. This geographical distancing gave way to economic distancing. As their wealth grew, so did their power. Oh gosh I could go on. I’d talk about this w/family and friends years ago. Only to be looked at like I was nuts. Most of my family are Republicans. I continued being a Democrat because that is what my mother and father raised me to be. Someone who fights for the middle to lower classes of this country. It seems I have failed. They are winning. We are losing our middle class. If this happens, forget totolaterian and think third world.
    Hey, just this Democrat’s opinion.
    Just saying!

    Hubie Martello
    Long Beach, Mississippi

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