• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • February 6, 2017 in Columnists

    The American dream is not dead — it has just changed

    I believe the American dream is not dead — it has just changed, just as it has changed before. Originally, it was the pursuit of happiness, but with the industrial revolution, the definition of happiness changed and it became more of a material thing like houses, cars and bank accounts. Thus happiness was driven by greed, so there was always some other guy who had more than we had. With the stock market crash in 1929 followed by other more recent similar crashes, it’s clear that this kind of happiness is unobtainable.

    Now with the passing of the industrial age into the information age, the definition of happiness has again become unclear. Our government, I’ll call it a democracy, when all is said and done, has done less harm and more good than any other form of government. Made up of humans, it has developed human characteristics. It travels through time trying to find its way by trial and error. It will make mistakes just as we do.

    We forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign and unfortunately, democracy feeds off of the intelligent input of its citizens. In our desire for simple and easy, we have opened ourselves to manipulation by the forces that can mold public opinion. Again we find ourselves in the process of redefining exactly what happiness should be. We are in need of some new rules and disciplines.

    For me, happiness is creating a meaningful life, contributing to community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends. In the last 200 years, the government has provided the majority of us with unprecedented abundance and comfort. The rights we enjoy outnumber the wrongs. Correcting the wrongs is an ongoing process and in the end, we will certainly find the time to address what must be changed.

    The rights we enjoy are not the given rights to office and power. Our rights are equal entry into every avenue that may nourish and test a man’s fitness for office and power. Our rights are not a gift from God or nature but a privilege where what is good for the group is what the individual should have. Every person has their own idea of how the government should proceed, but we have yet to reach any agreement, so like its human counterparts, the government seeks its own path.

    Our government has clearly dedicated itself to the spread and lengthening of education and the maintenance of public health. The form of government we enjoy can only be real and justified if equality of educational opportunity can be established. Access to education opens the doors to opportunity and in opportunity lies happiness.

    We are on a grand adventure and no one knows where it will lead us. History tells us that the excessive increase in anything creates a reaction in the opposite direction. Thus a dictator rises out of democracy and the most extreme form of tyranny and slavery rise from the most extreme type of liberty.

    Using the same logic, equal access to education will lead us all to a more equal access to happiness.

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