What is the American dream we share? Is it political, economic or social?
If it’s equal voting rights, then why do 40+ percent of us routinely neglect to vote? Why do huge numbers leave most of the ballot blank? If we seek fair elections, how can we let Citizens United stand?
If it’s an equal say in our leadership, how can the Electoral College still exist and five become president with a minority of our votes?
If it’s economic fairness and opportunity, why is the federal “living” wage so low while the income gap is immorally huge and growing? If it’s a social vision espoused in our Declaration, Pledge and poem by Emma Lazarus, then why all the rhetoric that focuses on how we look, our land of origin or our beliefs while ignoring our own history?
And why can common street crime yield years in jail while corporate rape and ruination of millions of homeowners, account holders and miles of shoreline yield mere fines (and bonuses) for Wall Street and Big Oil?
George Carlin said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.” I think it’s because we’ve been asleep that it slipped away.
Democracy is a verb, not a noun; we have to do it or we don’t have it. Participate, for “power concedes nothing without a demand-never has; never will” said Frederick Douglass. The dream, democracy, is ours if we can keep it, demand it, do it. Now!