Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is the American Dream Over?

When I was a child my father worked and my mother only worked part-time. Her real occupation was being a housewife. A real one. In Orange County, no less. This was normal back then.

Dad worked. Mom was in the PTA and volunteered and organized things. So we had an organized society with neighborhood parties and dances and such. It was very nice.

 We went to the beach (15 miles away) a lot. There was always a Mom and a station wagon that would take you, and my neighborhood tended to go to 16th St. in Newport Beach, so if you missed the Mom who brought you, you could usually find another one from near your house to take you home, and if you didn't find any neighborhood moms you could call home using things we used to have called pay phones, and sooner or later a station wagon would be dispatched to come get you.

 Realize: the house and the station wagon and another car were all bought on one Dad salary. It would often stretch to a boat or airplane, too.

Nowadays? Both adults work and everyone is miserable.

 The American dream? It's right out there with the flying cars, which we were all going to have someday, and our $5 Pan American reservations on Moon flights. My dad got me one so that I could go. He figured he'd be too old; that he was lucky to have gone from a ride in a barnstorming biplane in Ohio to witnessing the ribbon-cutting at the San Onofre nuclear power plant and becoming a licensed pilot himself.

And ham radio. He was big on ham radio.

 There are a lot of things today that are better than they were then, but a lot are not, and my children have life harder than I did when I was young.

Our damn government is now owned by rich people who live someplace else, not by us, and they run the country to make it better for themselves and worse for us, because we are "the help" in their eyes; an expense, not an asset.

 Even Richard Nixon was more on our side than the current crop of politicians.

 My older brother moved to Thailand a few years ago. He says it's more optimistic there. I don't doubt it.

The USA has the same natural resources we had 50 years ago, and our people aren't dumber, but we have let the richies have all the money, and the rest of us seem to have a little less money and a little less power every year.

 It's sad, isn't it?


  1. Yes, greetings from Northern Thailand where there is no unemployment (there is a shortage of workers), the economy is growing at about 5-8% a year (compared to the US hovering around increases of around 1%), and Thai people seem to be generally happy and optimistic about the future. That's the way it used to be in America for a long time. Now I read about all the troubles, the cops shooting anybody's dog for looking at them wrong, the tension in the air, SWAT teams terrorizing children, the economic stress, and I don't want to come home. You are right, life in America doesn't seem so pleasant anymore. Hope something will come along soon to get the USA upbeat and a become a good place to grow a family once again, but unfortunately I am not optimistic that this will happen anytime soon.

  2. yep. sad, but I think so

  3. Oh, what-ev-er. *yawn* People who are unhappy frequently are unhappy because they choose to be. I do not come from a wealthy background -- far from it -- and I never finished college. But I'm doing just fine by hard work and good attitude. My family is happy; I'm happy. What annoys the living Hell out of me is folks who sit there and complain about how good things used to be. Find your money isn't going as far as it used to? Stop spending it! Ditch the wide-screen TV, the monthly cell phone and cable bills, the Internet connectivity, the new car, the new clothes. Have I done these things? No, I haven't -- I happen to *LIKE* having many of these things (well -- don't care about TV, cars and clothes, but anyway...). But you make your choices, and then you live with the consequences. And if you don't like it, get off your a** and *change* things, instead of simply blaming the government. Sheesh.

  4. "Nowadays? Both adults work and everyone is miserable."

    Got to your blog via Greg's here in Thailand, where I am passing through on my second "leaving America to see what else is around" tour. Ireland the first time. Stayed three years.

    Things are what they are everywhere: some positives, some jerks wherever you go, but the main thing is that turning the corner you manage to find something new that you didn't know about. It can happen in America, too, but people keep distracting themselves---work, smartphones---and that gets in the way of making meaning.

    1. Greg invited me and my wife to come to Thailand many times. "We have a much bigger house than we need," he said. The thing is, we're settled in our little "free and clear" place in Florida, in a similar climate to Chiang Mai, and as my wife Debbie has said several times, "Florida is as third world as we need to be."

      I've traveled a considerable amount, and always end up happy to be back in the U.S., where almost everybody speaks Spanish or English and Jeep parts are easy to find. We like the food, too. And Thai and Chinese and Mexican food, too.

      One thing about the U.S. that people forget is that it's a BIG country. I was born and grew up in So. Calif., and lived a fair amount of my younger adult years in San Francisco. The SF Bay area is Greg's U.S., while I have lived in Baltimore, in Texas (in the army) and now in Florida. They are all different. Florida is right wing to the max compared to most of the California coast, but I like the weather.

      No place is perfect. And we all like different things.