We all need dreams. They give us direction to a future we can embrace. What's yours?
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"If there is a book that you want to read,
but it has not been written yet,
then you must write it!"
~ toni morrison ~
DO IT YOURSELF
Back in the ' olden ' days, when we had to walk both ways to school, uphill, in 2 feet of snow, in July, life was difficult. Real tough. Not at all like what we have today, where we can get everything and anything you could ever want, delivered to your door by a guy in a brown suit (not a red suit with fur trim) from amazon or whatever, although somebody does have to pay for it at some point, at least most of the time. And to top it all off, shipping is free with a minimum purchase! It should be a political right to get whatever you want, forget whether you need it or deserve it, anytime you want it, and A S A P. Wouldn't that be great?
Well, let's break open that new bottle of ' get real ' and talk about it. Maybe things were not quite like my opening statement but it was not really that long ago, in terms of the ' tick-tock ' of civilization, that times were tremendously more difficult than what we experience today. People, at one time, had to draw water from the lake or river for their daily needs. That is, until wells and running water were available. Nice touch, getting rid of outhouses and open sewers. Can you even imagine what someone from three hundred years ago would think, seeing an indoor toilet for the first time, much less something like a bidet? What a hoot! And what about things we count on, every single day, such as showers, and metal boxes that wash our clothes and even our dishes? There was a time, not so long ago, that people had to hunt their own food, dress the meat, and salt it. No refrigeration until relatively recently. Supermarkets? A wondrous experience we all take for granted. And how about heating our homes in the winter? Today we accomplish this with the touch of a button if it is not already on automatic. Can you imagine the youth of today not only being asked to clean their rooms or take out the garbage, if that even happens anymore, but how about helping put up 20 cords of firewood, or more, to ensure, not only warmth but that we even survive the winter. Built character. It was a pretty healthy lifestyle. If it did not kill you. Ironically, they died young and tired. That was a very difficult and tough existence. Not really much of a ' life '.
Today, we have a rather luxurious life. Many of us do not reflect on this enough. I know you may not think so, and to be totally honest, I lose sight of the wonders myself from time to time. But I do try to think about it as often as possible. It is difficult to not appreciate what we have when we understand the responsibilities that are no longer put upon us, due to ...... what is it due to? From what I see all too often in the media and in my little corner of life in which I reside, it seems that people think all this progress, all these ' things ', are their right. They deserve them. Without contribution. Without responsibilities. Even without cost. Can you believe it? And if there is something they cannot get, they blame the very people that made it all possible. And it ain't the government. Not that they don't point to the government, and blame them, for most of their trials and tribulations. No, what I am talking about here is who they blame for not having even more of what they want, and it really seems to piss them off. They certainly are not going to hold themselves responsible for any of their wants so they do the next best thing. They blame the hand that feeds them.
The movers and the shakers. The creative. The industrious. The curious. The motivated. They are all ' others '. In the fact that they march to a different tune than most. See a different horizon. Their thoughts go in directions where most people seldom venture. I know we are not supposed to assign value to a person, but the reality is that one mover and shaker is worth a thousand of anyone else. It is true that all people have intrinsic value, deserve a certain degree of respect, and a right to pursue their own happiness and destinies. That is not the issue today. But people who create ' things ' are extremely unique, and they make our lives infinitely better. They make our lives more comfortable. For the most part, they make our lives less complicated. They make lives easier to navigate. They make your life enjoyable. So try not to just appreciate the material ' things ' that exist for us today. Appreciate the thought and effort, and the time and money that went into the creation of those objects. There is a lot wrong with our world and the people in it, but the people who produce innovation, and the benefits we derive from their efforts, deserve whatever rewards they can realize and wealth that they can accumulate for the ideas that they bring to fruition. They earned it. They truly earned it. And we will discuss the meaning of truly earning something at a later date. They dream. They think. They create. And we get to enjoy the concrete results of those dreams in the form of a better life for ourselves and those that we care about. Most of our society tends to envy the rich, the successful, and the powerful. Many vilify the rich. Way too many hate and despise them. This is a real problem that we have today. It just doesn't make any sense. America has decided to take the road less traveled. Less traveled because no one is ever successful when they make that turn, onto the road to self-destruction.
Make no mistake about it. Do not for a second, entertain the thought that this can improve your existence. Under no circumstances can this work. I struggle, every day, with the concepts I hear dripping out of a media, and a body politic, that has lost its way. The ability to talk and discuss has left us. The ability to think, in an objective manner, seems to be beyond the capabilities of the citizenry in the street as well as our representation not only in Washington, DC but at all levels of our government. And tragically, the least capable are those that reside in our ' Fourth Estate ', those we look to for help in creating an educated populace and to diligently work to protect the integrity of government and protect our freedoms. The concepts of fair, and tolerance, and even ' we, the people ', are alien concepts in government today. They have the ability to believe these things. They all have the choice to do so. They have made their choices. They have decided that America is not working at all. They don't intend to fix it. They intend to destroy it. And they could not care less if you agree, or not. You are not a part of their thought process, their mindset. You are not important to them. At all. Except maybe for your vote. And they spend an exponential amount of time fishing for that vote.
The ironic part is that we all want the same thing. Some modicum of success. A life that is easier than that of our parents. Opportunity for ourselves and the children that will follow. I try to understand the vitriol. I do understand the frustration. Frustration has been the main ingredient in my recipe for life. But it is a challenge to be overcome, and not a weapon to be used indiscriminately to batter everything and everyone in your way in a psychotic rage. A rage with no goals, and no hope of success. And I look for solutions. Do you see anyone out there that has a solution? Do you see anyone that even sounds like they might have? I really don't. They all look like they are afraid. Afraid of the issues. Afraid of themselves. Afraid of putting themselves out there to achieve change. Change that works. Leadership is something else that is getting away from us in America. Leadership demands respect. We are supposed to look to our leaders for direction and to mirror our own ideals and dreams. They are supposed to be our heroes and our role models. We should appreciate what they do and try to emulate them. That is not happening.
So we must look to ourselves for an answer. It is a difficult task. How to make change when the ' man ' is not helping, but is actually the problem. There may be no answer. There does not seem to be a direct path from ' problem ' to ' solution '. You ' can't get they-ahh from he-yahh '. But whatever the problem, and whatever the solution, it starts within yourself. Taking 5 minutes every year to pull the lever or fill in that difficult little circle just won't cut it. You have been pacified. You have been duped. You are being manipulated. You have been led down the proverbial garden path. But there is no garden. I believe there was, at some time, the hope and dream of one, but it is a dim memory that exists today. You vote for people that don't really believe what they say, and that don't act on their words. They don't deliver on the things they promise. But you continue to vote and you continue to pay the price. We don't need a system where we vote ' in ' people that we don't want and we don't believe, we need a system where we vote ' OUT ' those that don't have the backbone to stand up for what they believe. It is not supposed to be about them, but most of the time it is. It is supposed to be about us, and that just does not seem to be the case.
I have read a story once about a place. A place where all men can be free. Free to decide their own lives, on their own terms. A place where none can take from you what is yours, and where people can grow strong and independent. A place where all men are equal, with the freedom to have unique beliefs, even if a bit crazy. To decide who they believe directs their existence, and are willing to allow others to do the same. To associate with whomever you so choose, and you alone. With little or no obstruction to those beliefs and the pursuit of your own happiness, with a government whose only reason for existence is to provide security to create an environment where this is all possible. This place had a weird name. I am not sure where it came from. It was not Eden, not nirvana. It was not utopia. It was named America, and I can only hope and dream that such a place someday exists. I long for a day where we live in such a place, and such a world.
The story of America is a whisper in the dark corners of my mind. I feel it beating throughout my soul. It is a story that I need to read, a world in which I wish to live. It is a story that was started but never finished. It is a story that needs to be written, or I am afraid we may never live in peace and harmony. The story needs to be written. It must be written. We MUST write it. Words are important. Action is imperative. Philosophy is the key to reopen the dream. The Great American Experiment, The American Dream, must not be allowed to recede into memory and disappear. We may not ever get another chance.