The Beer Goggle American Dream

And now if you don't mind I'm going down to the dollar store for a can of Patriotism.

And now if you don’t mind I’m going down to the dollar store for a can of Patriotism*

It’s the fourth of July: Independence Day. It’s the day when Americans celebrate their national pride by waving flags and setting things on fire.

I’m having a hard time getting into the patriotic mood this year. In years past Independence Day meant going to parades in the morning and fireworks in the evening- possibly with some barbecuing in the middle. Then I moved across the country and the hassle of finding a fireworks display and figuring out parking and navigating hundreds of other people somewhat outweighed the novelty of watching stuff explode.

I think I am also experiencing a bit of disillusionment with The American Dream at the moment. The American Dream, as it exists today, doesn’t seem like a very good one. Mostly it seems to involve apathy and helplessness in the face of pervasive injustices existing just below the surface of a comfortable lifestyle. This is the Beer Goggle American Dream: it still seems pretty OK as long as you don’t look too closely.

This is not a dream that inspires.

The biggest problem is comfort. I live a comfortable life: comfortable enough to never worry about whether the next meal will happen or whether or not I will have a place to sleep at night. We aren’t rich, but we aren’t poor either. We’re just comfortable enough to know we shouldn’t be complaining. But there is a lot that needs complaining about: racism, sexism, debt, legislature, corporate interests, lobbying…

It’s extremely difficult to not fall into the trap of thinking that one’s voice means nothing in the sea of other voices clamoring against yours. It’s no wonder we young people are turning to sarcasm and irony and internet gallows humor to come to terms with a destiny that we don’t want but can’t escape from: the destiny of being The Generation Who Let The American Dream Die. We grew up wanting to be great and now we’re just feeling lucky to be housed and employed and we don’t want to rock that boat too much.

Quixotic as it may be, I feel personally responsible for the future of the American Dream. As per my post yesterday about the importance of putting ideas into words it is the responsibility of the storytellers to write the narrative of peoples lives. I haven’t figured out where the story is supposed to go from here yet: all I know is that the current narrative is Not Acceptable. One thing is for sure: if we want to be the heroes in our own story we are going to have to get uncomfortable. No story has ever been told about a comfortable hero.


*Also, for what it’s worth: Ol’ Glory beer is actually pretty tasty.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 4, 2013.

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