The latest challenge to my sanity came about when I started thinking about how in America we agonize about "luxuries" like health care for all, aid to the poor and care of the elderly. These " luxuries" are expensive as is the case with all luxuries. There are those who say we can do without these "luxuries". Even worse there are those who say government is a luxury. I'm tempted to say that "those" are a luxury, but it is not a luxury I can afford.
Questioning whether or not we can afford these "luxuries" is an indication that the American Dream has become a nightmare as far as social services are concerned. It has become a nightmare because too many choose to define the American Dream as the attainment of materialistic goals (aka get rich). In doing so we betray what this country set out to become.
A while back, musing about immigration and diversity (It's Who We Are), I was drawn to the poem by Emma Lazarus:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
These are powerful words. We invite the tired, poor huddled masses to be part of America. We advertise a way of life that is superior to what other parts of the world have to offer. We fail to mention that the golden door will not be fully opened for the havenots until there is no longer a need to satisfy the insatiable appetites of those who have. We fail to mention that filling our war chests takes priority over filling everyone's belly.
In the meantime, the tired and the poor must be satisfied to be the rhetoric of political campaigns. The Statue of Liberty still lifts a dimmed lamp by a rusty gate. One wonders what she did to be ignored.