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Saturday, June 15, 2019

The End of the Dream - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

The End of the Dream

When I was growing up, when I was still a child and had that child’s mind, when I still believed in magic, and the force, I also believed that America stood for truth and justice.

I knew the broad strokes of our history, I knew that we had once been a slave holding nation, but we fought a war over that issue, we ended slavery, and the good guys won, or so I believed, when I was a child and I still thought that magic was real.

I came from a racial blended family. I knew that African Americans continued to experience injustice in the world. I knew that in the decade prior to my birth America had been engaged in the struggle for civil rights, and the good guys won, or so I believed, when I was a child and I still thought I might discover the force.

I believed that Adolph Hitler was evil, and the Klu Klux Klan, and white supremacists everywhere, and I was not wrong.

I believed that America led the world in its commitment to freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assembly, equal treatment under the law and fundamental fairness above all else.

I believed it, and long after I came to realize that these values were not held by everyone, I wanted to believe that they were held by most of us.

I wanted to believe that even my fellow Americans, those who I disagreed with on matters of public policy, nevertheless held principled position, even though I thought they were wrong.

I came to understand that truth and justice were not really characteristic of the American way, but they could be, if the people demanded that our elected leaders make it so.

The American way was an aspiration, it would take inspiration to bring it to fruition.

I have come to understand how naive I was.

We were never the honest brokers of the world, in the era of President Trump America has stopped pretending that it even mattered.

Many of our politicians stopped pretending to care about these things long ago; letting lies go forward to protect the tobacco industry, the oil industry, to confuse the public on global warming and climate change, to suppress the vote, to poison our water, to enrich themselves off the public trust.

What marks the Trumpian era as different from that, is the willingness of the people to accept the lie. Some people actually believe the lie, but many more simply do not care that they are being lied to, and they know it full well.

This is where the American Dream goes to die.

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