By: Patrap , 4:28 PM GMT on October 12, 2013
Death of the Dream
Barry LevinsonAcademy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer
Posted: 10/11/2013 5:54 pm
With the recent calamity of the Government Shutdown and the looming debt ceiling fight, one thing has become crystal clear: we are witnessing the Death of the American Dream.
In the past we believed all things were possible, there was absolutely nothing that Americans couldn't accomplish. In the '60s, President Kennedy said we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and few doubted the possibilities. After all, America was always capable of great and glorious accomplishments.
We were the Dreamers. It was instilled in the American psyche, American ingenuity. We led the world in research, medical or scientific, our engineering feats astounding the world. We had a government that participated, encouraged, and supported this mighty economic engine. We had a middle class that was the envy of the world. Things were good, but they would even be better in the future. Our education system supported all economic classes, and we had fluid upward mobility. We made the impossible possible.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Naval Marshal General Yamamoto is rumored to have said, "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant." And he was right. Within three years we built the strongest, most advanced military on the face of the earth.
We believed in Democracy, in fairness. We believed in our Government. We disagreed, argued, but we never doubted our form of Government, or the Government itself. Now a harsh reality sweeps the land. Our precious form of government is dying. Democracy is dying. A minority can now control the majority. Fanaticism that we thought applied to less progressive countries is now homegrown. In the past we didn't always agree, but we accepted laws that were passed as the law of the land. We might fight to overturn some legislation within the halls of Congress, but a minority never took it upon themselves to deprive millions of Americans their jobs, stopping their ability to earn a wage. Never were we this destructive because a minority was opposed to a piece of legislation. And so our Democracy grinds to a halt.
We might get past the debt ceiling crisis, the government shutdown, but the future of America is clear. We are no longer the wonder of the world. We exposed our ignorance, our ugly insensitivity. We are a petty people with a government that has ceased to function. The great achievements are part of yesterday. The future is a dark place.
We have proven a Democracy is a fragile form of government. And we have shown the world how easy it is to kill it.
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