The American Dream, Culture, and Exceptionalism

Have you ever considered what the term “the American Dream” means?  Is there any such thing?  Do you believe in the American Dream?   Does this mean when we all sleep at night we have the same dream?  Does it mean we all want the same thing?  Precisely, what is this American Dream and what are the implications?

One version of the American Dream is home ownership.  The idea that every person’s desire is to own their own home.  Another version is success, fame, and wealth is realized through hard work and thrift.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the American Dream as an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity.  There are many variations on these themes captured in literary works or used by politicians for political purposes.

The term is promoted and propagated as though every person in the U.S. has the same dream.  Of course this ideal promotes the concept that we are all one people and that people are essentially the same.  The ideal strips away individual identity and the diversity of ambitions, desires, interests, needs, wants, and talents.

Furthermore, the ideal of an American Dream is merely another arrow in the quiver of nationalism.  Cohabitating in the quiver with the American Dream are other nationalist arrows such as American Exceptionalism, American Culture, and Democracy.

The symbolism embodied by this rhetoric has one overarching goal; to bind the people to the ideal of one nation.  The idea that diverse people have the same American Dream or there is one American culture is abstract and foreign to founding principles.  Democracy is used to entrench these ideals in the minds of the people.   Democracy encapsulates of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Consequently, the notion of American Exceptionalism emerges as another unitary, abstract notion that the country – the nation – is somehow exceptional.  Stir in patriotic overtures such as the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem and the result is one consolidated nation, one mass Democracy where all people are the same, have the same American Dream with one American culture.

Politically this creates sentiments, movements, rhetoric, and messages around the themes like; Take Back our Country, Take Back our Culture, and We are a Christian Nation.  Unfortunately, these nationalistic goals promote and reinforce national symbolism dependent upon an all-powerful, centralized national government.   Naturally, this results in national policies on everything and anything.  Major policies such as health care to minutia such as light bulbs and toilets.  There isn’t a single thing in our daily lives untouched by the cabal of 545 people in Washington, DC.  Demonstrably, a small cabal of 545 people cannot rule over 310 million people with diverse interests, needs, wants, desires, ambitions, talents, and virtues.

What passes as constitutionally limited government is farcical.  Today’s governance is the antithesis of the founding principles, republicanism, and decentralized power.  Today’s governance is unlimited, centralized, authoritarian rule by a cabal of legislators, bureaucrats, and a president.  It is arbitrary and capricious.  It is legitimized by a smaller cabal of lawyers on the Supreme Court.  Our form of governance is unrecognizable by anyone that has studied and understands the founding principles and documents.

Whenever anyone has the audacity to question the leviathan or promote alternative solutions they are treated with mockery and contempt.  It is political heresy to question our leaders.  You are unpatriotic if you dare to question them or propose alternatives such as decentralization of power and republicanism.  You are branded a racist, terrorist, or extremist if you mention federalism or states powers under the tenth amendment.   For those thinkers that discuss constitutional solutions such as an Article V amendments convention or nullification you castigated as the lunatic fringe.

The establishment parties and media, and the ruling class demand acceptable political thought to be constrained between Hillary Clinton on one side and Mitch McConnell on the other side.  All pretend the differences between the two sides are vast expanses of political ideas battling in the arena of public opinion.  The fallacy is the differences are not vast.  The differences are merely window dressing meant to retain the status quo.

More importantly, the ruling class, and the establishment parties and media want the people to believe their only solution is through the electoral process.  As the establishment controls the electoral process only their candidates, policies, and solutions enter into the political debate.  They want us to believe our only recourse is voting.  This plays into their hands because they control the rules and the game.  Their hand-picked lawyers on the Supreme Court adjudicate the game in their favor.  Voting is the least political or patriotic thing a person does.  If all you do is vote and you do not advance alternative solutions you are part of the problem.  If you hope that voting in a handful of new freshmen Congressmen or Senators is the panacea then you are ignoring reality.   Vote, hope, and cope is a failed strategy.

The Declaration of Independence elucidates five truths;  that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that amongst these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted amongst men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The last two truths epitomize the right of self-determination and self-governance.  The only legitimate government is one instituted by people, exercising only those powers consented to by the people.  More importantly, the last two truths embody the principle that the people can not only create their government, but they can alter and reform their government, and they can abolish that government.

If we are one people, with one American Dream, one American Culture operating as a Democracy, and promulgating the idea of American Exceptionalism then the foundational principles elucidated in the Declaration of Independence conflict with the rhetoric we’ve heard all our lives.

We are not one people, we do not have one culture, and we are not a Democracy.  Nor are we exceptional as a nation or a country.  A nation or a country cannot be exceptional.  Only people are capable of being exceptional.   We embrace diversity.  Diverse people have diverse heritages, customs, traditions, languages, religions, beliefs, interests, food, music, etc.   The only solution to governance that embraces true diversity is federalism, republicanism, and the decentralization of power.  This is precisely how 310 million diverse people can live peacefully and harmoniously with one another without coercing and obliging others to live under a form of governance they do not consent to.

 

 

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