The American Dream: Is It Over?
The system is no longer working for taxpayers, and the country's upside down.
Those of you who grew up in rural Arkansas in the ‘80s and ‘90s probably look back and say, “It was a good run, sad to see its over.”
Our generation can remember some of the best times and some of the worst.
The 1980s had it all. Do you remember the music? From George Strait to Bon Jovi to Whitney Houston. If you grew up in that era you really had it made. Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev off: “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall.” That ended the Cold War.
Hope, Arkansas’ own Bill Clinton was gearing up to take over national politics. It was really something. Arkansas’ finest ended his reign of power with stains on a blue dress while Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr locked up his friends. Do you remember how Hillary couldn’t recall her career at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock? Party politics were on full display, a new age of politics was forming right before our eyes. Those were the days.
Somehow television went from right and wrong shows like “Andy Griffith” and “Gunsmoke” to “Married with Children” and “The Simpsons”. I can’t remember Opie ever outright disrespecting Andy. I don’t recall Matt Dillon's gunfights being a gruesome blood bath like John Wick, and we didn’t glorify serial killers like “Dexter” either.
I can remember Bart Simpson causing trouble and never really learning a lesson. Homer got up and went to work down at the local nuclear plant then came home to enjoy a can of Duff beer, living the American dream or was he?
Video games sure changed a lot, too. I can still hear Pac-Man occasionally when I’m eating a burger and fries. It reminds me of Sheridan’s local 80’s diner Mott's. They had the best burger and fries! Sadly it’s only a memory.
When Nintendo came out characters like Mario and Luigi were tasked with saving the princess. Who can forget Leon Belmont in Castlevania? He took on the undead and mystical monsters like Medusa. There was nothing more exciting than a good chain whip upgrade to a fire whip or holy water to take down the “evil spirits.” Nintendo was a major advancement over Atari. We never played Sega. Households then were lucky to have one gaming system so we never had Nintendo’s competition.
Video games these days are so realistic its almost scary.
Have you heard of “Call of Duty: Black Ops”? What about “Halo”? Video games brought war into every home that could afford a PlayStation or Xbox not just the thought of war but full-on realistic war right in your home. Weapons upgrades and ambush scenes regularly portrayed over hours and hours of intense battle. Does anyone else think that kind of changes how a young person views the world? Who can forget “Grand Theft Auto” and glorifying everything from prostitution to car jacking? It's just a game though, right? I guess it’s all acceptable because those companies cashed in, and whatever it has contributed to society, we own it. We allow it.
Married with Children
One thing that hasn’t changed much is Al Bundy's mentality on scoring four touchdowns in a single game for Polk High.
I bet Bundy didn’t play on the fancy turf fields like we have now, paid for by the sweat of working-class Americans’ taxes. There’s no way he had an indoor practice field. There’s just no way. He would’ve no doubt went pro if he had all the advanced NFL-like facilities of today’s high school football teams. Without an indoor facility, Al became a shoe salesman.
Do you remember his old car? I bet it’d still be running if Cash for Clunkers hadn’t came along and gobbled up the majority of the vehicles that shade-tree mechanics could keep rolling down the highway.
It can be a little shocking when life slows down enough for a person to take the opportunity to look back at all the changes a few decades of television and music can make in how generations view right and wrong. We watched respect walk right out of our lives through influence. I don’t know about you but when my mother told me to do something I did it or faced real consequences, not to mention I loved that woman and respected her.
When I deserved punishment I took what I earned and never once thought that my rights had somehow been violated. Kids these days do no wrong. Don’t believe me? Join your local community Facebook group and pop a bag of popcorn. It’s better than a night at the movies.
The Simpsons, Again
Bart Simpson was a rule breaker and taught many lessons on being a troublemaker. When Homer would get him by the throat, everyone just would laugh. I guess that was “ok” in Springfield. Does anyone know what state that even was? Did Bart help usher in a new generation of behavior that is not so uncommon today in every school district and community across Arkansas and the country? We all laughed about it then, but what we see now isn’t very funny, is it?
Politicians warn us that China is swiping our information through Tik Tok, but the American people are not deterred. Tik Tok challenges shut-down discipline and orderly conduct in public schools on a regular basis. Its hard to imagine how much influence is in the hands of most Americans, even our kids. Cell phones are a permanent fixture engrained into society for better or worse, and they are here to stay.
I’m pretty sure that in today’s world Ozzy Osbourne could bite the head off a bat everyday and no one would even notice or care. It would probably make a great Tik Tok challenge until people lined up to get their daily rabies shot.
Do you remember drinking Tang? What about the block government cheese in a plain cardboard box? What about the no-label peanut butter? If you were lucky enough to not remember it, you probably did not grow up the way we did here in rural Arkansas.
When will the politicians bring back the government food banks? According to the USDA, Arkansas households have a 16.6% food insecurity rate, and 1 in 5 kids are hungry — the highest in the nation. I’m not going to rant and rave about the governor, but all the unnecessary spending is ridiculous considering the way the economy is now. Conservative, I don’t think so. Folks are hurting. Peanut butter sandwiches, a pot of beans or maybe a cheese sandwich isn’t all that bad. I survived on it. Sleeping hungry sure isn’t much fun. Politicians don’t have that to worry about.
You know, if the economy continues to spiral a bag of dried beans and rice with a chunk of government cheese might be on Arkansans’ tables. Even the peanut butter might be a reality again for the middle class. In some households it already is. It’s pretty sad that hunger is still such a major issue for so many families throughout this country.
Politicians send billions of tax dollars out of our country to support every cause around the world. Let a hurricane or typhoon hit somewhere, our government jumps through a hoop to pay for it. Look at Ukraine. It’s terrible to see what is happening there, and our money isn’t fixing it. But politicians are still sending it. All while the homeless and hungry here get no help, or at best very little.
We the taxpayers are tasked with footing the bill for every war in the world in one way or another. Some psycho group gets fired up and attacks a U.S. ally, and politicians send billions. But they never send us any financial aid. If they do I’m unaware of it. I’m sure someone on social media will call me out if I’m wrong on that.
Anyway, can you imagine America if we had the financial aid that’s sent to foreign countries back in our bank accounts? Not in the government’s account, the taxpayers’ accounts. If you’re a politician reading this don’t get your hopes up. I’m not advocating for you a raise. If it was up to me, you’d be on a performance-based salary before the end of business today.
What if we simply cleaned up the wasteful spending right here in Arkansas? We report on it, but sadly there’s no one in Arkansas government taking any significant action. It’s embarrassing.
Somehow Americans have been convinced that we live off the government’s money. You can get some weird looks from people when you say “the government doesn’t have any money, that’s our money they are spending.” It's baffling that so many people don’t know that.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle aren’t really focused on fixing our broken system. Pick a party. Both sides have had super majorities in DC, but somehow we still have a broken immigration system.
Remember Reagan and Gorbachev? Do you agree with the border problems? Democrats fought Trump’s plan tooth and nail. Biden has opened it up, and it’s a free for all. Republicans scream close it down. I hope all of you see what both sides are doing. They are playing games for what benefits their agenda. Neither party has addressed immigration in my lifetime, at least not with common sense. Immigrants come here to work. The system allows foreign workers, but statistics show most don’t follow the rules. Just like in procurement, the rules obviously don’t matter.
Both parties rely on media-generated fear and division to pass policy.
They are focused on the social issue or cause of the day to distract us from the reality: We are in trouble. I mean that as in the American people are in trouble. The system is no longer working for taxpayers. We rely on foreign goods to supply our country with the basic needs from medication to car parts. No one is really working to change that. They also are not stopping the influx of illegal drugs pouring into small-town America that are destroying families.
Americans should ask themselves: Why are some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in America outsourcing all manufacturing to China to make their business model profitable?
If you don’t believe me, watch a few episodes of “Shark Tank”. Brilliant American ideas succumb to deal-making on the show that result in their inventions becoming victim to the Chinese manufacturing machine. It’s heartbreaking that all those manufacturing jobs are not in America.
Politicians could learn a lesson from legendary musician Michael Jackson. He made a real statement in “Man in the Mirror.” “If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.”
If you aren’t a fan, you’ll love what I have to say next.
I’m pretty sure every American tax payer is just about ready to make a Johnny Paycheck move and tell you to “take this job and shove it.”
We are just about done.
When we vote you in, we expect you to work for us. That’s right. The taxpayers expect you to work for them — not just your party. We elect you to represent our best interests, not a political agenda. We don’t like your narratives.
It’s funny how music crosses party lines and influences the population.
Oliver Anthony just gave you all a lesson in what we think. I know his song called out the “Rich Men North of Richmond”, but America is applying that to each one of you politicians across this nation. Are you listening?
We are forced to live inside the means of our budgets. What are you doing? That’s a rhetorical question. We see you, we get it. Americans understand what’s happening.
American politics are about the will of politicians these days, not the will of the people.
You politicians have to change that, or we have to vote you out.
A clean slate doesn’t sound too bad to a guy like me.
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