The Anguish in the American Dream
All national narratives are to some extent fantasies based on distortions and fabrications. The United States is no different. The early English colonists had a dream. John Winthrop spoke of a “city upon a hill.” And it continues to the present. It was one of Reagan’s signature lines. Today, as the economic crisis deepens many are realizing that the notion of their children being better off than they is over. Downsized and outsourced. Those good paying union jobs with pensions and benefits are gone forever. If you’ve worked hard all your life, tough luck buddy, you can just be tossed overboard. You can choose between being a cashier and flipping burgers. A lot of working people have figured out capital’s loyalty is only to capital.
Robert Jensen is professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of Citizens of the Empire, The Heart of Whiteness, All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, and Arguing for Our Lives.