Saturday, February 9, 2013

losing touch with the american dream and the golden rule

originally posted on the posterous hosted site. july 17, 2010 10:50:00am

this is the first of two blog entries today.

this one is a rant about how in our efforts to become politically correct i think we have lost site of two things: the first is the american dream and the second is that all of us learned everything we need to know in kindergarten.

first the easy one, we did learn everything we need to know in kindergarten. we all learned to treat everyone with respect and kindness. it’s this guiding principle that drives “works well with others”, “uses time wisely”, and so on…in our efforts to become “politically correct” we apply labels to so many things, that we’ve lost sight of this. the golden rule has been taught for millennia and somehow we have decided it’s not enough and that we have to not only “re-write” it but we have to redefine this single teaching in the guise of political correctness.

now seriously there is nothing wrong with political correctness, but the major defect in this twentieth-century morale is the way that society applies it and uses it as a scapegoat. if we simply just changed the name of the “golden rule” to “political correctness” then this wouldn’t be an issue. the golden-rule was unchanging, steadfast, resolute, but by redefining it, it has morphed into this idea that is no longer only a life lesson, but it is this new found “quasi-corporate-american philosophy" that is an excuse for people to behave badly. i say this because anytime someone behaves badly, someone then goes and amends the political correctness rules, followed by weeks of online training and in-services that we’re all familiar with. this week it could be not using a certain word (and not the obvious ones) because it offends a group and next week it could equal employment laws for individuals with blue-eyes. you see how ridiculous this gets. if we would have simply left the golden rule alone (do onto others as you’d have done unto you) we all might live in a better place.

now onto how we’ve lost touch of the american dream. this one is more muddled, mainly because i don’t know why we’ve lost touch of it. in my eleventh grade history and english classes i learned that the american dream is to build a better life for your children, that everyone should be able to have a home and an education and that through hard work its one that is achievable.

i’m not saying its not attainable still but just that we have lost touch of it. perhaps it’s because of the internet and the ease at which information and data flows between people. and maybe because of globalization, maybe we need to redefine the american dream. the part that bothers me the most about the definition i was taught – education, home, yadda, yadda – is that we have so much in this country now (excluding the current recession) but yet we have people who lack college degrees or even high school diplomas, and people without homes. of those that bother me the most is the military, this group of individuals put their lives on hold for a commitment of time, and then put the life on the line for their country to defend our american dream and yet we can’t give them a free ride to college and a home? i am the first to say that i would make a run for the northern-border if my name came up in a draft and that i do support the troops (not the wars, and i do believe you can do both) but for a volunteer service to not get a complete free-ride to college, well i can’t call that fair. sure there is the gi bill but that doesn’t come close to paying for all four years at most institutions of higher learning.

so that said, how does one wind down this post? the golden rule isn’t “those who have the gold make the rules” it’s “do onto others….” and that by remembering that perhaps we can go back to living the american dream and not some imitation thereof.


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