Gratitude Sunday: The United States Of America Is A Lie

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable.” Simone de Beauvoir

Sunday Haiku
August memories,
frivolous grasshopper days,
warm campfire evenings.

Sunday Musings
The United States of America is a lie.

I can’t put it more bluntly.

We posit our country as the land of opportunity, as the place where if you are brave enough you can fulfill the myth of self-sufficiency and succeed to a life of financial security and comfort, even if you start with nothing.

So many things wrong right there. Nobody starts with nothing. Nobody is self-sufficient. Not everybody has the same opportunities. And many of us have the brave kicked right out of us from day one, if not by our families, then by the warehousing process we call public school, or by the hierarchy of employment when we realize how little influence workers have in this land of opportunity.

So where does freedom fit into all of this if the above is true? It doesn’t. We are not free.

To be free we have to have truth, and the truth in the United States of America is twisted and spun until every last dollar is stolen out of the pockets of the poor. The truth is our economy is rigged and for some of us success will never be part of the equation. Nationally, that’s bad math.

Freedom is available to the wealthy, most of whom have not worked for their money; most of them have inherited their wealth. Their wealth has come to them freely from the manipulations and thefts of their forebears who found ways to not pay tax on it, who found ways to lie to their neighbors and citizens to gaslight us into thinking they would do good things for the USA with our money; instead that money lined their pockets and the bassinets of their children.

You’d think after 65 years I’d be jaded and not let all this bother me, that some folks are the folks who have and some folks are the folks who don’t have, that’s just the way things are. Seeing the truth is hard. Watching greed and hate prevail in the USA is hard. Maintaining a work ethic is hard. Scrabbling for every dime and any advantage or broken opportunity is hard. Believing in the morality and ethics of honest people is hard, yet one must believe in the best of others to maintain any form of sanity.

America is a myth. There is no self-sufficiency. Not one person in the world makes it on their own. If you believe that, you are not only in denial, you are lying. “Rags to riches” only works for the few who happen to be in the right place at the right time and even then it’s likely been 40 years of ripping up rags on the way to the those so easily lost riches. Most of us don’t need that level of wealth; most decent, honest, hardworking, accountable American citizens are satisfied with covering the basics and have a comfortable amount of disposable income beyond that.

So, let’s say you start with a few basic nothings. Your parents worked hard enough to have a house that they are still scraping to pay for every month, so you have a roof and a bed and food. You have one parent able to work and one physically unable. Both are aging. You managed to muck off a high school diploma, but also managed to get a GED with three out of five honors scores. You even did all the work to earn Eagle Scout status in Boy Scouts. You own a driving license and are registered to vote.

You’ve been through a couple minimum wage jobs. You are terrified of going to college, not only because the warehouse you schooled at convinced you you couldn’t learn since they did not know how to teach dyslexic students, but also because you saw your working parent struggle with student loans ALL OF YOUR LIFE. Not her life, yours. The whole 25 years you’ve been alive, she has tried to pay for the cost of an education that didn’t give her a job with enough income to cover the basic costs of supporting and housing a family let alone pay back the student loan debt. You learned watching her struggle to think the risks of investing in higher education outweigh the benefits.

Just for extra fun, your disabled parent never qualified for financial assistance through any of the social security nets for disabled people despite being unable to work. Your parents did the best to support you, but there was never a day when the worry over keeping the mortgage and bills paid, supplying needed school supplies, or clothing for a growing child, or equipment for youth group involvement, or Christmas presents, or new shoes new shoes new shoes wasn’t pressing on their minds as they just wanted to give you a simple middle class upbringing. What you got instead was distress, and worry, and feeling like a burden though you know they love you the best way they can. They continue to provide for you as much as they can, accessing food banks so you can all eat and public assistance programs so you can stay in your home, while you are trying to launch into this lie we call the United States of America.

You have “advantages”. You had the fortune of being born male. You had the fortune of being born with white skin. Unfortunately these two things are part of the myth. Being a white man is no guarantee of success. It is certainly less fraught, but still no guarantee. Starting in lower middle class is not a rocket boost either.

You can walk and are physically able. You can talk in complete cohesive sentences (which means you are better qualified for the American presidency than its current occupant though you’re too young to apply). You have some wit and above average intelligence. You apply for every job opening in walking distance because between you and your parents you don’t even have enough for bus fare and you’ve killed every used car you’ve bought, not like they had much life left in them when you bought them.

You don’t get hired. You can’t get a bank loan for a decent car until you’ve been in the same job for a year. You are uncomfortable borrowing money because you have no clue how you will pay it back.

How do you believe in the land of opportunity when you aren’t rewarded with opportunities you seek? You might not know how to do anything, but being willing to try to learn ANYTHING for employment hasn’t worked for you either. All of which is complicated by the fact the public school system you warehoused in convinced you, despite a high IQ, that you don’t have what it takes to learn and succeed.

You know your parents are being kind, because they aren’t asking you for rent, only asking you to keep looking for work. You get to a point you just don’t know what to do as an average young white man who would like to meet a young woman and fall in love, start a family, and buy a house, but you can’t even get started. No woman wants a man who can’t get work. Partners of whatever sex like to know their partners have an income.

Gone are the days when Uncle Harry, who owned the local pharmacy or grocery, can help out the family and hire the young unemployed man. Nepotism or no, that’s still opportunity. Fewer people have their own businesses, or live close enough to family who do, to have this older model of employment work any more.

The United States of America is the land of anxiety and depression unless you have the luck to be born into a family with independent wealth. For most of us it is the land of struggle, disappointment, disability, and declining ways of life. For many of us we are only one illness or injury or job loss away from under bridge living, as our families don’t believe in multi-generational households any more and our social security net is not as guaranteed as we are led to believe.

What do we do? We take it one day at a time. We suspend our disbelief and distrust in a country that lies to us and we keep trying. We keep applying for jobs whether we know how to do them or not. We keep looking at creating our own opportunities. We employ our brains because it is the one thing they cannot lie about. We are enterprising because it’s one thing they haven’t figured out how to take away from us yet. Sometimes we fail. When we fail we take a deep breath, maybe even a nap, pick ourselves up, disregard the myths, disbelieve the lies, and get back at it. It’s not easy. It’s never going to be easy. It’s the only way we can get to the truth.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Flame colored lilies against a charcoal gray fence. Spot the little gray spider in the middle of one of the lilies? The green shades of incense cedar and old brown seed pods. Coral pink trumpet vine flowers. Little blue violets defying the nearby gray sidewalk. Double your peachy rose pleasure. I see a little silhouetto of a bee on this golden yellow sunflower.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} On the Basis of Sex (2018, rated PG – 13), a Hollywood fictionalized version of the beginning of the career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Bonus: the son ended up watching most of it with me, tablet it hand, and got a tidy history lesson about Ms Ginsburg. * Binged through the latest Tales of the City (2019, rated TV – MA) on Netflix. I was not previously aware of this series, and so now I’m watching the originals from the 1990s.

Currently ReadingAny Man (2018, fiction) by Amber Tamblyn (American author). A chilling and innovative exploration into the rape and mutilation of multiple men by a predatory woman. * Tidy the F*ck Up: The American Art of Organizing Your Sh*t (2019, home economics) by Messie Condo (pseudonym), a parody version from the same old dump your stuff camp. I like most of my stuff, but want to learn how to create some money from the stuff I’m willing to dump. I learn something from every book I read; I learned how to fold clothes from the Marie Kondo book. I learned too much of my stuff sparks joy in my life. And one critique: if you are going to use cuss words in a title, have the balls to use the real cuss words, none of this censoring the expletives crap; they are words, use them, own them.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The hubster driving me on some errands.
  • Having the sense to understand the mess called my Social Security account is going to take more than a few days to get straightened out.
  • The son doing a few tasks around the house when asked.
  • My local lending library so I don’t get sucked into buying books and movies which will then need to be stored and cleaned.
  • Winning another Summer Reading prize at my local lending library. Now I have a matched pair of drinking glasses!
  • Getting one of the jobs on my outside-the-house work list marked done.
  • The ability to recognize a con, a scam, or a bad deal, and persons who are trying to perpetrate same.
  • A milder summer this year. I am the fragile flower who does not do well in the heat.
  • Though milder, the summer has not been wet, so the fresh food harvest is still good.
  • Meeting one of the farmer/vendors I buy my strawberries from at the market.
  • Fresh Oregon strawberries picked by the sweet hand of little girls.
  • Remembering when I was a young teen, I too picked strawberries in the cool summer Oregon mornings.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Work and Labor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gratitude Sunday: The United States Of America Is A Lie

  1. piratesorka says:

    I was reading Tales of the City as it appeared in local installments when I lived in Berkeley. Part of it was my own life as I remember. I loved it then but I have only seen a couple episodes on Netflix. I seem to be too wistful when I watch it now.


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