Unclassified Info: Waking up to the new American dream

October 10, 2011

I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street movement with real appreciation for those rising up to protest. I’ve also been hearing critics say the movement lacks focus and a clear message.

Personally, I think not having one unifying voice is a good thing.

There will come a time when this uprising will need a more honed agenda, but right now should be the time to gather in enormous numbers and throw every issue against the wall and see what sticks and what doesn’t.

With that in mind, I’ve got some things to put on the table. I believe my concerns are shared by a number of people like me — employed, not financially secure and feeling as though the dream of getting ahead is just that — a dream.


I live in a nice neighborhood. I have medical insurance. I have food in my refrigerator. You’d think I should just shut up and be grateful for what I have.

But then truth is, I work 50-plus hours a week and I am unable to save anything significant. I do not own the home I live in and as things stand, saving up enough money to buy one is completely out of the question.

My medical insurance is OK, but what it does and doesn’t cover feels more like a Las Vegas game of chance than a security blanket. That is not the fault of the current administration.

My job only facilitates an existence where I shovel money out at the exact same pace by which it comes in. Virtually every dollar earned is spent living.

Sure, occasionally I can go out to dinner and a show. And I even managed to take a six-day vacation last year. But do I have any real hope of saving anything significant when utility bills, gasoline and groceries cost so much? Absolutely not.

Then again, I stopped hoping for that years ago when I realized treading water was the new American Dream.

I often wonder who those retirement savings ads are talking to on the TV. They sure aren’t talking to me, and they aren’t talking to most of my peers. We’re in survival mode.

I know a lot of out-of-work people will be inclined to say, “Man, you should be grateful just to have a job!” And I can empathize with that. But should I be happy the majority of my waking hours are spent in a high-stress environment just so my bills can get paid?

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