The American Dream has been epitomized by opportunistic words exalting the surreal standards defining the limitless opportunities, professional success and material wealth of the American nation, yet the reality is far less optimistic and more repressive of such unrealistic expectations.
A land of boundless wealth, employment opportunities, and equality has been cast in idolized lights along the borders of the American nation, prompting foreign and domestic populations to flock to mythological lands of endless promises. The surreal illustration of the American Dream was defined by the foundation of the nation, structured on the base of equality and freedom for all. This illustration has grown in magnitude and fabrication so as to encourage competition among the population, creating a society whose pursuit of material gain has paralleled that of a state of nature. With a capitalist hierarchy emerging to incorporate the 1% of corporations and business leaders that truly govern the infrastructure of the nation, the blinded majority is caught in a perpetual material war against one another. So saying, the peoples’ dreams for wealth and status have become goals only achieved through treachery and violence, resulting in the gradual decay of morals and values. Grasping for even a minute fraction of prosperity and progress, the corporate controlled government dangles the peoples’ dreams as a lure to perpetuate the struggle of the people, to perpetuate the onward push of the masses in order to fuel the American machine. The American Dream has no solid meaning; rather, it is an ambiguous term to be defined by the peoples’ aspirations and dreams. Nevertheless, the corporations have managed to grasp this term and mutate it into another tool to proliferate their totalitarian power. The corporations have taken the American Dream and incorporated it into yet another propaganda tool to indoctrinate the masses into their state cloned tools, to indoctrinate the masses into their mindless workers. Beginning as a tale of rebellion against the foreign oppressors of the British Empire, the American message has perpetuated its message of freedom and liberty, only now the message is hallow and gilded. The American Empire now stands as the new tyrannical power, seeking to secure its hegemony through repression at home and abroad. With the American Dream corrupted into yet another fabricated tale of American glory, this post aims to examine what the new American message has truly become.
“If I had a lighter in hand with some oil rags, is that what it’d take to wake you from your sleep? To take you from your American dreams to be surrounded, surrounded in flames!” – Anti-Flag, “Wake Up!”
A large portion of the masses, who were born, raised or have spent much of their formative years within the US have been systematically programmed to truly believe that the American nation is the gold standard when it comes to prosperity. The misleading propaganda runs rampant throughout the imperialist empire, indoctrinating the new waves of innocent minds into the great American swindle. The gold standard is held true by a minute fraction of the population, the 1% of elites that create and help promote the fallacious program. The American capitalist system caters only to the elite class that operates its one-dimensional gearshift, controlling every major apparatus within American society – government, education, media and economy. The hierarchy is prolonged by the docile masses, complicit in their own polarized inequality. The people are oppressed, trained to have blind and unwavering faith in the merciless capitalist system that has no regard for the well-being or overall prosperity of the rest of society. This is not to say that the masses are left to struggle for crumbs, through the comparison is rather appropriate considering the check-to-check standard of living that has become the status quo for over 77% of working Americans. The capitalist system does not deplete the resources entirely for the working majority, rather its sadistic nature ensures basic needs are met through an employment market based on minimum wages, a wage barely livable. The barbaric nature has prompted a state of nature, turning brothers and sisters against each other in an endless competition of rugged individualism, a notion inculcated into the hearts and minds of many Americans regardless of their socioeconomic background. The economic system that dominates American society is not built to sustain all or even most of its populous in prosperity, as promised in the propagated American Dream. It is truly a system that is catered for the extremely wealthy and their families. While many Americans work multiple jobs only to make ends meet, the elite class enjoys capital gains tax benefits at almost half the rate of the working class. It is true that a portion of US citizen’s tax dollars go towards public works and service jobs, but 53% of American tax dollars go towards defense and security, programs that target innocent people domestically and abroad.
“Behind locked doors in session, world sponsored corporate politicians structure policy to build more corporate strength. Fight strength with strength. At news conferences they claim, ‘we listen’, while they lock out their constituents.” – Anti-Flag, “What’s the Difference”
The American Dream, along with evident false promises of economic equality, depicts gratuitous employers and endless opportunities, alluding to the sick and hungry migrants that they too can become the poster-child of the American Dream. So saying, the American system has implemented guest worker program to integrate the workers into the competitive markets. Yet, the guest worker program expanded by the Bush administration has been criticized for locking thousands into a modern-day form of indentured servitude. The system forces many workers to borrow huge sums of money at high interest rates in order to land short-term, low-wage jobs that all too often end up shorter-term and lower-waged than promised. Under crushing debt, and legally bound to work only for the employer who filed petition for them, these workers often face the most dangerous and harsh of working conditions in places like shipyards, the forestry department, or construction, with no medical benefits for on-the-job injuries or legal services. In March 2008, more than 500 shipyard workers from India filed a class action suit against the Northrop Grumman subsidiary Signal International in Louisiana and Mississippi, and against recruiters in India and the US, on charges of forced labor, human trafficking, fraud and civil rights violations. In 2006, over 600 Indians paid up to $25,000 each for a promise of green cards and permanent US residency. They instead found themselves trapped in squalid and dangerous conditions, bonded through the H-2b guest work program to an employer, evidently depicting a new form of 21st century slavery. As a land founded by foreigners, dedicated to a government by and for the people, the American Dream proliferates this historic-based mythological tale of material wealth spanning all classes, depicting a norm of lavish luxury for each individual. Clearly the propaganda does not compare to the realistic depictions of the conditions facing the migrants workers that continue to advance the American machine onward through their blood, sweat and tears.
“Rats, moneys, mice – teach ’em little tricks. Stay far from creativity and from politics, ’cause the multinationals need a solid work force or their growing profit margins will be wiped out at the source. Conform to the status quo, set rules, hold your mind into their fucking tool!” – Anti-Flag, “A Start”
A more frank characterization of the juxtaposition of surreal dream and reality is that of the domestic populous that already exists in the capitalist system and has already resigned themselves to degraded standards of living. The born and raised Americans are witness to the true America from their cradle to their grave, indoctrinated into a life based on check-to-check living and financial desperation. As it stands, the federal poverty level is maliciously low: $22,050 a year for a family of four. According to that number, 21% of all US children – 12 million in all – live in families with incomes ‘below the federal poverty level’, a more useful and compassionate estimate would be 42%, or 30 million. So saying, the American Dream lies dormant within the children and it is the offspring of America that control the future of the system and its corrupt infrastructure. The desperation of the scenario is illustrated by the fact that 2,660 children are born into poverty every day within American and 1 in 50 children are currently homeless. The impoverishment of American society only continues to worsen with job numbers continuing to sink. After the global recession, reportedly over despite evidence to the contrary, taxpayer dollars were spent on various bailouts dedicated to banks and the auto industry. These bailouts were to ensure that the corporations, already in control of said politicians, could create jobs and lower the unemployment rate. Nevertheless, the recent job report of May 2012 showed unemployment rose to 8.2%, thus illustrating that the mass bailouts only further polarized the inequality of the American infrastructure and also perpetuated the degradation of the American populous, all of whom remain desperate and dependent on their corporate overseers. The disparity in wealth is sure to continue however, as the ruling class needs poverty in order to stay on top of the hierarchy of power, and the people with power drive the realities of the people without power. The ruling 1% have maintained the gap and inequality in society through the education system, reflected by the realization that impoverished areas have the lowest test scores and the wealthier areas have the highest. Poverty and testing are benefiting the wealthy and hindering poor. This is also illustrated by the rising cost of education, making it too expensive for many in society and forcing those who graduate into crushing debt and facing a starting salary that continues to drop. Thus the conveyor belt continues to propagate an endless stream of desperate and dependent workers willing to enslave themselves to the corporate controlled infrastructure for any measly means to escape the pressure of their debt, a debt put upon them for seeking to better themselves through the promises of the American Dream.
“She never even had a chance. Mental, sexual, physical violence. Not once she heard an encouraging word, just the phrase ‘you better shut up!’ and ‘you’re going nowhere!’. Her sad stories, all left untold, so her life became something so out of control: angry, young and poor!” – Anti-Flag, “Angry, Young and Poor”
The American Dream, offering to the world a bastion of stability and socioeconomic liberty for all people, has also stood resolute as a symbol of democracy and domestic freedoms unparalleled in much of the world. The truth of the propagated system is closer to state sponsored terrorism within its own borders, silencing opposition, implementing censorship and state-control over media, and creating internment camps for its own populous, thus resembling more the police states that foreign peoples sought refuge from. The tactics of American diplomacy at home parallel to their policies abroad: military force whenever questioned or threatened. Under the Bush administration, the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 and the Military Commission Act were both signed and enacted. These doctrines made permissible the stationing of military troops anywhere in America by presidential authorization, as well as allowed the President to take control of state-based National Guard units without consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to suppress public disorder. The move towards martial law clearly marks a transgression on the civil liberties and justices promised to all Americans, as well as an affront to the proliferated ideals of the American Dream. Not only did the laws allow for the President to assert powers of a dictatorial nature, but it also appropriated $532.8 billion in taxpayer money in grants to the Pentagon to implement the new law which further facilitated militarized police round-ups or protesters, supposed illegal aliens, potential terrorists, and other undesirable in facilities contracted and under construction. The infringement of basic human rights also continued under the NDAA 2012 (National Defense Authorization Act) signed under the Obama administration, which explicitly states dictatorial authority of the US executive branch to order US military to seize any person, including US citizens, for unlimited detention and without rights. The political system of the American nation is not one of idolized democracy, not one of equality, not one of freedom; rather, the political system is one of unwarranted incarceration, of discriminatory repression, and of dictatorial assertions of tyrannical power.
“I will not sign my blind faith away to an unjust leader of the unjust police state. Corporate masters live in their cess pool of extreme wealth and excess.” – Anti-Flag, “No Borders, No Nations”
In retrospect, the American Dream has become a propaganda poster to indoctrinate the new masses into state tools through which the corporations can ensure their capitalist hierarchy will be secure on their toils of work and sacrifice. Idolized slogans selling liberty, equality and justice, in a nation defined by borders of electric fences and barbed wire, the American nation has come to resemble a permanent internment camp of indentured serfs and slaves for a repressive political system and a socioeconomic scale defined by mass inequality. So saying, the pursuit of material gain has resulted in the dissociation of the majority from reality; allowing the elites to continue to publish fabricated tales of a paradise in America, a paradise for all foreign peoples to come to and become the new fodder for the capitalist machine.