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The title’s harsh, I know, but aggression and bluntness has become the only way to get noticed. This, however, serves as an appropriate launch-pad for the point I’d like to make:

America needs to wake up or face an inevitable coma in its futile grasping at a “dream” that is nothing more than an outdated sales pitch.

The dream WAS real: a place of freedom and potential that would allow for any to shape their destiny depending on the amount of work and dedication they invested. It was a beautiful dream, no doubt about it, but did you feel a twinge of skepticism at first when the ideal was stated? As powerful as that dream–that slogan–was THEN, it has devolved into a set of shackles fastened to the wrists of most of us. Debt, servitude, mistreatment, poverty… so many face a totally unfair reality despite investing more work and dedication, but their inability to advance becomes a reflection of failure when held against the mirror of the American Dream. Sure, back then it was, at least for most (but I’ll come back to that), a reliable philosophy to pursue, but now it’s a means to turn that “failure” into a shaming device. If YOU’RE not where you want to be, then it’s YOUR fault; YOU didn’t work hard enough; YOU didn’t educate yourself enough; YOU just aren’t as good as THEM. Depression and self-loathing have become weaponized tactics by those in power to neutralize any potential uprising and demands for equality.

Let’s start with a familiar point as a metaphor:

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The average CEO earns about 10x the wage of workers. We’ve all seen this sort of comparison at one time or another, and, sure, it elicits a swell of emotions–be it envy or anger or repulsion or anything of that nature–but, more than the numbers, I want to put some focus on the people these numbers represent. When a single person is earning almost ten-thousand dollars an hour while so many others are earning something in the ballpark of $10 in that same time, it becomes VERY simple for the average worker to feel a sense of inferiority. They find themselves trapped in a system that’s unfair and seemingly inescapable; to complain is to threaten that sliver of control and risk losing the job and then having nothing.

But we’ve heard that all before. We’ve seen the protests, read the complaints, etc…

But enough about jobs; what about the bigger picture?

Just the same way the average worker is terrified to complain about their place/earnings out of fear of termination, we find ourselves ever more terrified about speaking out at all. In fact, between publicized corruptions in government and massive spikes in figures of authority abusing control with no threat of persecution or glimmer of justice, it’s become the norm to feel fear just being an American.

And may the heavens grant you decent fortune if you’re a minority.

I feel that, with the recent spike in violence against the African-American community and the media dishing up a skewed perspective, there’s a valuable point to be made and, ultimately, greater metaphor to be offered.

Anybody with a somewhat decent education (more on that soon) already knows that the history of black people in the United States is not a happy one. Slaves were kept scared, uneducated, isolated, and shown to society in a way that urged everyone to keep them scared, uneducated, and isolated. And while their eventual “freedom” was a shift in the lives they lived and the goals they were able to strive for, it seems that the system has only been cleverly masked, not altered. Rampant racism kept them terrified and compliant, kept them out of decent schools and, therefore, unable to realistically strive for anything but the bare minimum, and, too scared to socialize and too impoverished to flourish, they remained isolated. With no source of reliable income, it was only a matter of time before crime became the only option to offer anything to families or communities, which built and perpetuated the seemingly “proven” point that they were criminals. More and more support towards isolation; more and more reason to justify keeping them scared and uneducated. Even protest, the simple act of demanding an ear to listen, was futile; a biased system had already soured their voice before a single sentence could be uttered. If one or even a few dared to speak up, they were met with ridicule, persecution, and raw hatred. Anybody–black or white; human or animal, for that matter–is bound to lash out at such treatment, and any acts of violence that sprang up became a brand on the forehead of not just the ones guilty of an attack, but the entire race in general. It can be seen even now: consider how the media would portray a dozen African-Americans going on a violent rampage compared to a dozen Caucasians. Would you ever expect the dozen whites to become the faces for all whites; that the American justice system would suddenly perk their ears to every white face that passed as a potential criminal? Not at all. It’s absurd to even suggest it, right? But that’s the system society has implemented on minorities. All minorities. After all, it worked on the African-Americans ever since they were let off the farms. So why not the Latinos or Muslims, as well? Or anybody else that those in power could easily pick out of a crowd to get us afraid of the wrong people; questioning and rising up against the wrong people.

The American dream was once a beacon of hope that had people going to great lengths to set foot on our soil; immigrants eager to get a piece of the American dream. Immigration BUILT the United States of America…

And now, ironically enough, a certain presidential candidate is using their dream and the fabricated hatred constructed around them as leverage.

11215846_886720618065104_8949133429339322466_nThe impoverished minority is a victim of a system driven to keep them that way, and now their suffering and struggle is a stepping stone; another excuse to jab a giant finger and tell them it’s THEIR fault they’re stuck there; THEIR fault the country’s suffering; THEIR fault.

In the realm of fiction, this sort of corruption is seen as cliche and outlandish, but in America it’s an ad campaign!

And the saddest part: it’s not a secret. This is not the first time it’s been said–not by a long shot!–and yet the system relies on a population that knows something in their heads but has yet to take the point of it to heart! Being “just okay” is NOT okay! A lobster will fight to get out of a boiling pot, but bring it up to a slow boil and it’ll never know you were killing it.

It’s a fragile system, however, and with the rising of free voices–thanks mostly to the internet–has allowed for some of the wool to be pulled from our collective gazes. But the internet can be worked by either end, and offering new freedoms and recognition to one set of minorities allows for more aggressive measures to be taken while everyone’s distracted. Legalizing gay marriage while flooding the airwaves with more threats of violence overseas creates an illusion of a sympathetic government that’s still interested in our equality AND safety. But, let’s be honest, homosexuals should have had the right to marry since day #1. Marriage–romantic unions–have existed long before the bible even existed to offer up even a sliver of ammunition to use against ANYBODY. In a country that was built on freedom from religion and the ‘American Dream,’ it didn’t take too long for religion to take a seat in office and the dream to be cut off to those deemed unfit.

Attention diverted. The system goes on. And things just get worse:

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A corrupt system has to protect itself. Trying to control a large group of people becomes exponentially more difficult when they’re offered any of the crucial tools to challenge the status quo.

Keep us scared enough to stay quiet; keep us loyal enough to run the machines; and keep us divided enough to make sure we’re too weak to challenge any of it.

Now everyone is being kept scared, uneducated, and isolated under the accusation that the reason the dream they aspired to can’t be reached because of them.

The America I grew up in and taking pride in learning about didn’t work that way, and while that might’ve been the youthful ignorance painting a pretty picture over an ugly landscape, I, for one, believe the country should look more like the pretty picture we paint in a child’s mind. That was the point! That was the dream!

But the dream is over, America, it’s just that: a dream. Real happiness, real pride, and genuine patriotism can begin when you wake up and stand for it.

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