American Dream Rulebook Revised…

An older white man, who attends my church, left multiple copies of a document on the table where the adult Sunday School meets that outlines how an older white man may feel in America today.  Because of his beliefs, the author of this outline of statements believes that others see him as a racist, fascist, homophobe, traitor to the working class, infidel, member of the gun lobby, useless old man, reactionary, xenophobe, right-wing extremist, anti-socialist,  and militant.  In it, he pleads for others to help him come to terms with the new him, because he is just not sure who he is anymore because of all the abrupt and new-found changes in his life and thinking.  He doesn’t know what happened.

What happened is that the rules have changed!  The American Dream use to mean that a white male would easily get a job and follow the rules and be either equally or more than well-off then his parents in supporting his family.  But then, accelerated technological change, globalism, gender and minority equality and immigration changed the playing field.  Good paying entry-level jobs are either few and far between or no longer available.   White men feel betrayed by the failure of the promise of the American Dream that they grew up believing in.  And they are angry!

Some angry white men tend to blame feminists, gender equality, minorities, immigrants and LGBT people for their current situation (which partly explains their allegiance to Trumpism’s racism and misogyny), rather than the plutocracy that has overtaken our democracy.  The plutocracy is now enjoying massive tax cuts, while labor unions have been dismantled eliminating the power of collective bargaining.

A similar situation happened after the stock market crash in 1929.  Unemployed men became angry and Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded with the New Deal in 1932.  This legislation worked from the bottom up by implementing substantial government spending to put people back to work.  Conversely, Donald Trump is responding with a trickle down method that has proven not work over the last 30 years.  Trickle down only enriches the few while impoverishing everyone else.

We need legislators who support repairing infrastructure, public education, job training, and affordable healthcare for all, not those who support massive tax cuts that result in stock buybacks that only enrich CEOs and stockholders.  We need a fair and honest government for all.  Focus your righteous anger in the right direction rather than at the people who are in the same boat with you.

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Concerned Citizen

2 thoughts on “American Dream Rulebook Revised…”

  1. What do old whie men need to come to terms with
    Most older white men I know worry about the future of their families, their friends and neighbors and country. We tend to be confused about solutions for poverty race relations, our personal roll in contributing to the betterment of civic life. We are confused by the media who shows the rich the famous and corrupt and stereo types them to contrive easy answers. Yes Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein’s access to privilege has turned them into monsters whose crimes need to be dealt with but is this the big issue.
    A big problem in our country is the high amount of poverty existing today. Increasingly a large part of our U.S population is poor. The poor make up 15.1, measured in 2010 up from 12.5 % in 2007. While poverty has increased our social safety net is disappearing. While I was unemployed in 2001 I was totally dependent on unemployment insurance which had a time limit of 6 months and still does . Many of the people in my back to work group, both black and white, men and women, ran out of benefits, dropped out of the work force to take early social security at reduced benefits and then accepted marginal jobs.
    We white men also worry about social and economic mobility for our children and all U.S children. What are the chances of making it to the for the poor and middle class. Are the chances of my children and the children in my integrated housing development the same as the children of the well educated rich and well connected? This does not seem to be the case. According to the Social Mobility project there is a strategic link between parental education and children economic social and emotional outcomes. Further this link, according to the project, is worse in the United States than any other country investigated including those in old Europe. Most Americans believe the key to success is a good education but the Mobility project states that poor kids who are good students are less likely to graduate from college than richer kids who are poorer students. Even if poor kids do graduate they are less likely to be as successful as their rich low achieving counterparts. I have been present when a well connected executive has shamelessly pitched a good job for his child while I as an average employee could do nothing like that.
    Its irks white men that even the middle class children receive a sub par education while the rich get a world class education. It bothers us also when we hear about rich executives who receive outsize bonuses while they fire workers because these same executives claim they can’t afford them. After the great recession of 2010 why weren’t these executives, who make 200 times the typical employee, brought before congressional committee and made to account for their lending misdeeds and poor management and then brought to justice? Is it because the banks lobby our government elected officials? Is it due to government bribes or is it because the type of cronyism that comes from class snobbery. The result of congressional investigations was a complex law, Dodd Frank, which according to noble price winning economist Joseph Stiglitz does little to prevent predatory lending. Now our current president has signed a bill to weaken Dodd Franks liquidity acid test for mid size, and some large banks.
    I feel the average person is loosing the political war against the wealthiest one percent. Its frustrating no matter what race or sex or religion we are and makes us feel emasculated.


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