Note to the reader: This article is an updated version of one that was posted shortly after my blog “Education, Hope, and the American Dream” was created and at a time when the blog’s readership was minimal.
Because I believe it is even more timely now than it was then, it is being re-posted with modifications.
As you read these words, it is vital that you realize that the United States of America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, is fast approaching a tipping point that will irrevocably alter the reality in which we live.
As a result of decisions we have made as a nation, since the end of World War II, a society of second class citizens has emerged. These Americans are not full participants in the American dream. Many of these men and women have effectively become disenfranchised and why should we be surprised by this.
These are Americans who have not been well-served by our systems of public education; have little or no access to quality healthcare for their families, Obamacare notwithstanding; and, if they are employed at all, they have low paying jobs with no eligibility for healthcare benefits and no opportunities for advancement. These are Americans who have given up on the American Dream for themselves and their families. They have succumbed to a self-perpetuating cycle of powerlessness and hopelessness.
Although the demographics of this group spans the full spectrum of the American population, African-American, Hispanic-American and other minorities are over-represented. For blacks and other minorities, the sense of disenfranchisement is compounded by their lack of faith that the American justice system will treat them justly.
Mainstream Americans resent the dependency of this segment of our population every bit as much as these men, women, and children resent their lack of access to the American Dream. For a huge portion of this population the American Dream is nothing more than a failed promise.
The bitterness and resentment on both sides of the invisible barriers that separate us as a people are enhanced by the racism and discrimination that permeate our society. How ironic is it that the election of our nation’s first African-American president has proven that racism in America is alive and well.
That there is an equally large and fast-growing population of retirees who are checking out of the game at an age from which they are likely to live another quarter of a century, adds greatly to this burden. It does not matter that these retiring men and women have worked hard for their entire lives to earn their Social Security, Medicare and pensions. These facts do not change the economic dynamics that make this population a burden to the Americans in the middle who must work harder to pay the bills.
Fortunately, many of these men and women have invested well and their money is working for us even if they are not. We are only beginning to understand, however, how this aging population will begin to overwhelm an already inadequate healthcare system over the next two decades.
Add the weight of the disenfranchised and the burden is fast approaching a tipping point after which our national misfortune will accelerate and we will all begin to feel both hopeless and powerless.
The Republican Party, driven by the strong conservative dogma of the tea party movement, is choosing to ignore the needs of Mitt Romney’s imfamous “47 percent” and focus only on the needs of the middle class and, even more so, the corporate elite. These political leaders believe they can turn back the clock to a time when the white man ruled the roost and when values seemed clearer.
The Democratic Party continues to pursue its traditional liberal agenda that has become equally ineffectual.
In the meantime, China, Europe, Japan, India, and other developing nations are challenging our supremacy in the international marketplace; Al Qaeda and ISIS are seeking to spread terror to weaken “the evil empire;” and, Mother Nature is meting out the consequences of global warning.
We cannot continue to trudge down the dry and dusty paths of 20th Century political dogma, conventional wisdom, or business as usual. Somehow we must pull the disenfranchised back into the game as full and equal citizens, as believers in the American dream, and as partners in rising to the challenges of this new century. We need to do this not out of altruism, however compelling the argument, rather because we desperately need the committed participation of every single able-bodied American.
We must demand that our elected representatives cease their paralyzing bickering and begin working together in what is a conflict of historical proportions in which the very survival of our nation and way of life are at an unprecedented level risk.
We desperately need new leadership with fresh ideas to respond to these extraordinary challenges of this young Twenty-First Century and we do not have so much as a single nanosecond to spare.
I invite you to follow this blog, “Education, Hope, and the American Dream,” in which I offer innovative solutions to the problems we face as a society.
I also invite you to read my four books.
1. The Difference Is You: Power Through Positive Leadership, in which I offer the reader powerful principles that enable individual men and women to change the world around them;
2. Radical Surgery: Reconstructing the American Health Care System, that offers a way to provide universal healthcare and prescription drugs to the American people without socialized medicine;
3. Reinventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-First Century America, in which I offer a blueprint for reinventing the educational process to one that focuses on teachers and students working toward success, absent the risk of failure; and
4. Light and Transient Causes, a novel that tells a story of what could happen if we lose faith in the principles of democracy and with one another.