Follow That Dream

It was an Elvis Presley tune from 1962. Do we not all have a dream? Sitting here in my self-imposed Sunday afternoon exile, a time of solitude some call it, that is the question I contemplate.

Doctor Martin Luther King spoke famously about his heartfelt dream. Most of us will never be able to speak so eloquently of ours. He dreamed of Americans of all persuasions coming together in unity. Since he spoke of his hope, we have traveled the road toward our own hyphenated cultural enclaves. Sadly, it is a journey that has taken us farther away from rather than bringing us closer to his noble dream.

… when a dream is calling you,
There’s just one thing that you can do
Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead

What is the American dream? What is it these days other than an overused oratorical club with which politicians beat one another?

The American dream, from my humble perspective, is not so grand. Other than being a dream that built the world’s freest and most prosperous nation it is not overly complicated. I need only God’s help to achieve it.

My American dream is to live free. To pursue life. To be happy in a safe and secure country. To freely worship the God of my choice. To be free to speak my mind. To own property and a home. To raise a family and feel safe in that home. To fear God, but to stand in fear of no man, no government, and no country.

That may not be your view of the dream. Unlike politicians, I am unable to presume to know what most Americans want or believe. Of more concern to me is that what I view as the original dream has morphed into being something all together different. From the urban landscape of concrete gray to the vast uninhabited wilderness that makes up our country, the dream is changing. It is being let go. More precisely, people are letting it go or are being led away from it into believing they are entitled to the dream rather than having to work to achieve it – and keep it. Or, they are following the dream of another. One that is wholly not an American dream.

When our recent pioneer ancestors set out to build this country, was there any politician with a promise? Was there any government entity offering them anything or trying to convince them that they were entitled to something? The founders of our country broke the ties between an oppressive controlling government and liberty loving people. Self-serving and power seeking progressive politicians have been trying to take back that fought for freedom and expand the control of government ever since. They have worked tirelessly to replace a free and fiercely independent American spirit with a spirit of entitlement begetting dependence – on them.

If we are to pursue the original dream, what is it that stands in our way? First, I blame me. The individual American. The person looking back at me from the mirror. For it is what I allow to happen that becomes the standard. Generations from now, once free-spirited, Americans will be suffering because of what I allowed to happen -if there even remains a world entity known as the United States of America.

Most people are not leaders. They are followers. Because of that, we have followed politicians and their sycophantic minions toward our hyphenated existence. We have been led away from the American dream into pursuing one of Balkanization. Incessant pandering to whichever hyphenated interest group that may provide the additional few votes needed to place or keep career politicians in power is what has led us to where we are, which is the brink of our own self-destruction. That along with following a silly philosophy that says government, not free people, should be the benevolent givers of charity. It is a kind of controlling government that wants to make our personal decisions for us and become all things to all people.

Many Americans have worked hard throughout a lifetime to gain some portion of their dreams. There is fear growing in the segment of America that has worked the hardest to achieve what little they have managed to accumulate and who have sacrificed the most in our nation’s wars. It is a fear born of an awakening to the fact that our national wealth has been squandered. Squandered by men and women whose only contributions to our country have been corrupt lives as career politicians. It is the fear that in the blink of an eye and the stroke of a Washington fountain pen that all they have will be lost – taken and given to the collective for the greater good. What the government decides is the greater good. That fear is being covered with a growing anger – a simmering rage. The fear and anger can be sensed and felt if one but ventures out into his neighborhood. It is not what one should sense in America. The combination of the two emotions does not generally turn out well.

If things can improve, this means that there must be some absolute standard of good above and outside the cosmic process to which that process can approximate. There is no sense in talking of “becoming better” if better means simply “what we are becoming – it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as “the place you have reached.” – C. S. Lewis

God, I pray today that you will awaken the hearts and minds of the American people. I ask you to raise up Godly leaders to save this nation that you have so richly blessed. Amen.

©2010