Thursday, August 27, 2009

The American Dream

"I wonder what it's like to grow up in rural Georgia today" I pondered after an ice cream truck, volume full-blast, parked near where I lay on Zuma Beach, and briefly interrupted the magic of the waves and the sun and the warmth of the sand.

It must surely be different now. Even in the south. Can any of you tell me?

There were no ice cream trucks in my neighborhood. My street was dirt and it was called a road. The bus picked me up in front of my house, and the bus drivers, Mr. Spence, then later, Miz Frances, were kind-hearted and didn't take any guff.

I hardly recognize my America anymore. And, I've come to the conclusion that it's my own fault. I left her to others to run, trusted others to look after my land-of-the-free and home of the Braves. I mean...brave.

I do vote. In the beginning, for Carter because I'm a Rebel from Georgia. Then, for Reagan, because my boss/finance professor at West Georgia College told me I should. When I was younger, Georgia was considered a Democratic state. There was no such thing as Red or Blue, only the red, white and blue. We were all one, and we all agreed on that, even those still fighting the civil war.

What has happened to my country? She's terribly broken and the people I've elected to fix her seem to be running around in the muck. Alaska is melting and has replaced California as the land of fruits and nuts. Texas and Hawaii want to leave the union. And Arizona, sensible with medicine, is not so sensible with AK47's. In an 8-mile stretch of Sentator McCain's Arizona, between the Utah and Nevada border, we saw one after the other automatic weapon billboards. I was shocked, appalled and deeply offended, and not just a little frightened.

And our President has taken up golf. Golf!

So now I'm forced to take up government. I can't be any worse at it than they've been. I'm good at problem-solving. And goodness knows I can see the problems, looming as they do in front of my face.

So, I must pull my head out of the proverbial sand, wake up and come to know.

I haven't wanted to know. It was easier to let someone else worry about things like health/sick care, bailouts and fiscal responsibility. What does that mean anyway?

Plus, if I paid attention to what was going on, if I really knew what was happening right under my nose, I might have to do something about it. Much like having to get sober once I knew I was an alcoholic, or close my business after the ink bled red.

I do have a theory.

I didn't want to know, because I was just too darned busy.

Doing what, you ask?


You know. The Dance. You do it, too. We call it 'The American Dream'. I call it 'The Dance'. The more, more, more dance.

This dance is exhausting, it's draining, it kills. We dance longer and harder and faster, performing more intricate, and more dangerous, leaps, hops, whirling, whirling until all is a blur, and nothing is distinguishable. Nothing at all.

We follow the dream and the dream is the blur, while the corporations infiltrate and the tail wags the dog. We're addicted to prescription drugs, sugar, fast-food, Hollywood and sports, don't get enough sleep, consume petroleum in our cars, in our plastic water bottles, our polyester clothes, and even our chapstick. We work like dogs (although, no dog ever worked as hard as I've had to!) and have the fewest number paid vacation days per capita than most any other country in the world.

We're sick and we wonder why. Is the healthcare system broken? Heck, yeah! But what we all seem to be missing is so much more fundamental than that. We eat crap, feed our kids crap, and call it food. All the goodness has been taken out and it's full of addictive sweeteners and fillers and fat. Let's get back to the basics, fruits and vegetables. Let's grow our own. Stop trucking stuff across the world and the country, picking it green so we get none of nature's nutrients. Stop filling ourselves full of 'medicine'. Get out of the house and exercise, feel the wind and the sun on our skin. Do some manual labor. THESE are then answers, prevention, not health care.
But, back to the dance. So, we're all whirling and dipping in our own frantic dance, bouncing one off the other, each spinning our own web, striving, working, spending, more, more, more, more, more, more, more.

There's an old saying about making sure your ladder is against the right wall. Well, for 52 years, every ladder I've climbed has led to another. I've come to suspect that there are no right walls, only ladders, disappointment, falling down, bruised knees, and getting back up to trudge once more. More striving, more ladders, more dance, more blur.

To help fix our problems, we must stop the dance. We must come to know. And we must help America get better again.

I'll finish with another old saying, one we used a lot as kids, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I don't know where it originated, but it occurs to me, today, as I open once-veiled eyes and survey the broken-ness and divisive-ness going on in our beautiful US of A, that angry, hate-filled words do hurt. They are hurting us. Their words create the dance and the dance creates the blur.

I also know that words can heal. I have words. I am a healer. And I'm a rebel to the core. It's time to remember that I have a voice. Ever heard my rebel yell?


How about yours?

1 comment:

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

BTW, I apologize for the spacing in the middle of today's blog. For some reason, Blogger won't let me change the formatting. I'll try to get that fixed...for readability!

Please forward this to your friends, with enough followers, I can get on a Facebook feed.

Thanks, guys! Olivia

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