Why the American dream is a lie that only Americans believe

Before I get into the article, I find it very interesting that a corporate firewall would block a site like my friend’s Oso’s as political/activist but lets drudge go right through.

My relationship with America as a country is a complicated one. I am an American. I have the citizenship and passport to prove it. However, I am not happy with the status quo and even angry at times for what this country does, not so much to the world but to its own people. I also long ago stopped believe that this was the best country in the world because I found the view not just inaccurate but myopic and even at times absurd. How can the best country in the world let the aftermath of Katrina happen?

Today I want to talk about the American dream, and something that conversation with one of my best friends brought out this week. There is a huge disparity between what the American dream means to an immigrant and what it means to an American. While both of them are hard to achieve, one is not just unrealistic but a flat out lie.

The American dream to an immigrant is that they will be able to feed, cloth and educate their children. That they will have the opportunity to get a job and earn a good wage in an honest way. I don’t think many immigrants come to this country believing that it will require no work or that it will be astronomical.

Not everyone can be a winner. Not everyone can be Donal Trump. Not everyone can be a sports or TV start. Not everyone can be a celebrity.

I never considered this before, but it seems that a lot in America believe they can become Rockefeller. That his story is not only possible but almost guaranteed! and that could not be further from the truth. No wonder the sense of entitlement so many people feel. Even through hard work, astronomical rise to fame and fortune is not easy to attain or sustain.

If that is what American’s believe, that everyone can be in the 1%, then the American dream as presented to them is a lie.

Capitalism is very cruel because failure is very punishing. You invest, you fail, you lose. In order for there to be winners, there has to be losers.

What frightens me the most is that the middle class is being eroded, and nobody seems to be noticing the trend. You can look to your neighbors to the south, not just Mexico but all of Latin America and you can clearly see that when you do away with the middle class, the economic system breaks down. See the huge difference between Argentina and Brazil. I mean Brazil is now lending money to the IMF.

Wake up people. If you continue to think that the country is the best one in the world and don’t pay close attention to what has failed around you, this country will end up in the same situation. I guess as long as everyone is entertained and with a full belly, we will all be ok. Having celebrities is way more important than being sold a dream that is really not attainable by everyone.

Stolen from a thief!

Stole it from Angelchrys. Also it has the added bonus of potentially annoying Meesha.

1. Why did you sign up for writing your blog? Initially I thought I would better my writing by practicing, then eventually the grammar mistakes and quirky way of writing was almost like an online accent so I only improve on my way of confusing people with run on sentences. It then became online therapy for me, where it seems a lot easier to deal with things if I just write about them even in a round about way that most people don’t understand. I enjoy making others think or see another point of view.

2. Why did you choose your blog’s name? I think the blog has had a couple of names or taglines during its life, my online name has been Logtar for a long time from playing various video games made by Blizzard. I am a total fanboy of that development studio.

3. Do you own another blog? I blog about my WoW gaming, and have other outlets but none of them see consistent updating. Maybe 2012 will see me go back to a couple of them.

4. What do you do online when you’re not on your blog? Lots of WoW time for sure, also love YouTube and sure exited that you can now see videos via Xbox. It is a lot more fun to share a video there than having to hand people your headphones or connect speakers. I also stream anime from Japan about once a week and read forums.

5. How about when you’re not on the computer? The wife and I enjoy devouring series via Netflix/Hulu or DVD. When we find something we like we watch the complete series. I think we started with BSG and went from there, Dexter, Madmen, etc. Right now we are on True Blood. I also enjoy reading and now that Bea has the kindle fire, I inherited the old kindle and omg I love reading on it. Just finished the hunger games series which disappointing me, but that is for another post.

6. What do you wish people who read your blog knew about you? That the only way to get to know someone is through conversation. Assuming that just because you read an article I write you have the whole picture is absurd. I wish more people engaged in true conversation but this society seems to be all about first impressions and only reading books cover deep.

7. What is your favorite community in the blogosphere? I miss the days of blogdrive, when it seemed like a community. I think the WoW blogsphere is nice but kind of fragmented into a lot of different pieces. I still feel somewhat part of the KC blog community, but overall I think G+ is the only place that is giving me a sense of online community recently.

8. What is your philosophy on your blog layout? Simple is better… I have wanted to go back to totally minimalistic, but there are some things I like about the current layout. I change it every once in a while.

9. Tell me about your picture you use to represent you on your blog. Right now I don’t have any picture representing it. I have tired to work on a logo before with no luck there. I like the current picture on my G+ because that smile was the start of the second Chicago chapter of my life. Its a fond memory.

10. Pick 3 random blogs from your blogroll and tell us about them.
I met Burro through DeGuia and assume that Meesha found burro through me. It is interesting that people of such different backgrounds come together and form a weird web of mind bending proportions. Burro is always an awesome read, he talks about anime and even politics. I would like to meet him out in California some day, but I suspect he wants nothing to do with other human beings… specially those coming from the internet. Meesha makes me laugh with his strange view of the world and other people, but he is super honest and I appreciate that. He is another one with an antisocial streak, but if you have not seen his post you can get lost just on the pictures alone. Not just the ones he digs from the past, but the ones he takes of food. And what can I say about DeGuia. We talk almost daily and I think we need to start podcasting because some of our conversations are hilarious… maybe just to the two of us, but I think it will be good to record them for posterity. Like the other two, he is very honest and reveals a lot about himself on his blog. I think that is probably was made us fast friends, that we both ask a lot of questions and are honest about the answers without assuming or trying to predict what the other one is thinking. It makes it easy when you are not trying to predict things and just simply being amazed. His blog is informative and an awesome window into parenting. I am proud he calls me a friend.

11. What features do you think your blog should have that it doesn’t currently? This could take a whole week… bu the number one is comment consolidation. There should be some kind of service (not discus) that consolidates G+ – Facebook – Twitter – blog comments, into one thing that people can have a conversation on… kind of like google wave but for blogs. I know its a lot to ask for, but I think it would be great to have a topic aggregator that could be seen and used by all those services. (I am painfully aware of the technical limitations)

12. What do you consider the 10 most “telling” interests that we would infer from what you blog persona? I honestly don’t understand this question fully… maybe because I don’t disassociate my blog persona from me.

1. I don’t like religion. – I am Catholic but respect all other ways of thinking (and sometimes admire them.) I think Tim Teabow might convert me to Atheism.
2. I don’t watch movies anymore. – Truth is I just have not reviewed any lately.
3. I like everyone. – Not True, there are plenty of people out there that I find insipid.
4. I love my wife. – Very True.
5. I am a liberal. – Oh so much to say.
6. I support gay rights. – Yes I do, I have plenty of friends that should be able to get married if they want to.
7. I don’t listen to that much music. – Not True, I have spotify on almost constantly
8. I don’t love my pets. – I would love to do more cat pictures and stuff, but cleaning the litter box erases all cuteness from my brain.
9. I have battled bullies and weight loss all my life. – True
10. I have a messes up relationship with my family. – Not true, I love them and love spending time with them, I am just honest with the feelings I sometimes deal with.

13. Do you have any unique interests that you have never shared before? Have I ever told you that I love the Jersey Shore? lol maybe not. I enjoy the fine arts in small doses.

14. The best thing about blogging is all of the friends that you make. Beside from those folks, do you think your blog has fans? LOL… fans, no. An interesting fact is that I have received plenty of hatemail before. I even considered featuring some of it a while back… Writing about politics and immigration seems to be a bad topic. You can see 300+ comments to one of my articles in blogcritics that still gets spurs of activity once in a while (and hatemail here and there as well.) There was a time early on that I was also linked from an extremist white power group, and that also made for some interesting hatemail. So besides my friends, those are my “fans”.

15. What’s your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination? Vampires and the extreme anger I feel when the vampire keeps a fragile damsel in distress in human form to hang onto their own humanity! TURN HER ALREADY AND LETS HAVE A PARTY! I love vampires and the concept of immortality.

16. What are you glad you did but haven’t really had a chance to post about? Plenty of movies I wanted to review. I don’t like blogging about my trips that much, but maybe next time I go to Colombia I will actually post what I write… I have like 6 half written posts. The problem is that I get there and there are so many cool things to do.

17. How many people that first became a blog friend, have you met face to face? I think I have a list on my 100 things.

18. What don’t you talk about here, either because it’s too personal or because you don’t have the energy? My divorce. I think it would be too one sided if the other person cannot give their point of view. I am happy to say that she has remarried and has a little girl though. We are still good friends.

19. What’s a question that you’d love to answer? What was it like to (X) in Colombia.

20. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and regretted it? Nope. The ones I lost I was glad to lose. I can only take so much negativity from people… and well those of you that remember that saga know that I am not a sexist or racist.

21. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and thought, “Was that overdue!” A couple. The thing is that I try to see the best in people, but some people try to see the worst in others (including me) I am a very flawed person, but I am ok with being flawed. That seems to make people that have not dealt with their own demons very uncomfortable. It is never that I don’t see I have flaws, its that my true friends love me warts and all.

Clean The Backroom

If you think that the power of knowing what people really think about you would be an awesome one, think again. Most people that you meet never tell you how they really feel. Some people don’t want to know how you really feel either. Some don’t know how to express their feelings, some just simply don’t want to, some are just kites left the winds of change and whatever is popular or accepted by their current group to follow is what they do.

A recent conversation with someone was really eye opening for me. I personally try to get to know people before judging them, and if at all possible I try to converse about things before making assumptions. If you have ever ran a bulletin board you might be familiar with the concept of backrooms, a place where the moderators talk about issues that is only seen by them. Sometimes there are conversations about a person you are bringing into the moderator group, and you “clean up” those post if that person makes it in.

What happens when someone does not clean up those conversations before you get a new moderator in? Lets call it over-sharing.

I won’t go into the mess that it can create. It is at best amusing at worst hurtful, but through the situation I got to learn something that had someone calling me naive. Funny enough this was not the first time that I had seen similar situations both online and in real life. I have been in a motorcycle message board for years as part of the backroom and also seen situations when others find out what is said behind their back about them.

One thing about me is that I do like being a happy person all the time. It might not be sustainable forever or in every situation but I sure as heck try. The thing about it is that one of the things that it entails is thinking the best of people and try not to become jaded. I don’t expect for people to psychoanalyze each other without conversation first, and when it does happen that you try to figure someone out or come to a conclusion about them, I think it is important to discuss it with that person. The issue arises (at least in my experience) when the person that you talk about is not part of the conversation.

Granted when you are choosing a new moderator that person is not part of the conversation, but then the conversation should be cleaned up, burned or whatever. People online seem to have a persona, what they put out there, but it is often quite different from who the person really is. It is worse when the conversation might make insinuate that someone has no depth to them.

I guess I am in the minority once more when I think that you can only get to really know people through conversation and that assumptions about them are best checked well, with them. I guess it is naive of me to want to get to know people before I assume I know them, but it seems to be common practice. I am not sure if this is purely cultural or not. I guess this society grows up putting people in the jock, chess geeks, cheerleader and outcast groups.

So are you a person that gets to know people and check your assumptions with them? or do you draw conclusions based on first impressions or the “group” you think they fall under. Its weird that it sounds exhausting to people to get to know others, I think that is the fun of human interaction. Every person is a world and there is lots to learn about them. I guess I am as naive when I did know for a fact that the biggest issue with not having cleaned up a backroom was to left evidence of assuming someone is one dimensional.

Mid Life Crisis

It seems that now you go through a midlife crisis when you hit 30 rather than in your 40s. That is what I am starting to realize about people around my age. Why are we having this happen earlier? Or is it that we really are not growing up until we turn 30?

The current economic climate is making people think more than ever. The “when poop hits the fan scenario” is not that impossible now. Recession? Revolution? Rebellion?

Those are things that used to sit quietly in history books, but now more and more seem to be back in the newspaper. Or rather internet publication, because even newspapers are going away.

I am always curious to see how each generation feels about their identity. I am kind of stuck in the middle of a couple of generations because of several factors… so I am not quite a kid of the 80s or the 90s. I have a little of both. Then the whole being in Colombia in the 80s and being in the US in the 90s makes it even more difficult to define what my generation really is.

The people I am putting in the peer bucket are the ones from their late 20s to their mid 30s. We are talking a lot about accomplishments, who recognizes them, what they really mean to them and others. Also, who would survive the post apocalyptic world and who would not. The common theme though in the end is, who am I and what defines me.

I had a good laugh recently when someone in an discussion tried to establish superiority by rattling off their employer and salary to let the other person know their “worth.” It seems that some people are really stuck on thinking that money is the only think that can define people, or that shows how successful they are.

It is still baffling to me that people take their own lives. It makes me sad. Then I realize that so many people in life have tried to tell me personally that I am not worth it, or that I could have been a doctor, or a lawyer, that it would have made me “worth” more. I wish that everyone could shut up the furies of the world and live a life where we all know how much we are truly worth.

My midlife crisis has been happening for a while now. I have re-evaluated relationships in my life and reconnected with people over the last couple of years. I still have plenty of places where I could have better relationships with people, but that is where my focus is now. I think that is what makes people rich.

One of my old chess partners and I discussed the topic of where to live… Colombia or here in the U.S. my take away out of that conversation was simple. It really does not matter where you live, it matters who you share your life with. Hopefully all of the people that go through a midlife crisis, or even those that even think of suicide as an option see that the connections, the true connections they have with people is what makes life worth living.