The American Dream? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The American Dream?


Katherine Day Photo courtesy Roy A. Adkins

Back in my day, the "American Dream" was to have a successful marriage, a booming career, to own your own home, and if you're lucky, have children who didn't resent you. The only problem was that women couldn't vote. We can now. Next, black people needed to be respected and not herded and treated like animals. It's debatable whether the "inclusion" of African Americans ever really took place. Next, the LGBT community simply needed to be able to walk around in public and hold hands with their lovers without risk of being tied to a fence and left to die. We've won that one. But we want more.

As children watched their elders clamor for which gender or ethnic group had the right to be, they lost respect for them. There were the elite few whose parents had enough money to threaten their future securities. They would always be taken care of. So why even get involved? There were those who were born with nothing, who would die with nothing, who were blessed with the ability to make the best out of whatever they had. Then there were those of "Middle Earth" who were industrious, hard-working, that eventually built a life they were proud of. Everyone would applaud.

These three families were not confined to these groups. Just like in the "Old World," there were ways of moving between the three. You could unknowingly marry into one of them, you could work your way into another, or you could simply be gifted one of them. Either way, in the quest to attain rights, visibility and security, we neglected our inner lives, our inner freedoms, our inner happiness. As we neglected ourselves as individuals, we coped by creating other things that made us feel, instantly.

The only problem with feelings is that they aren't always factual, and without being properly armed with the facts, it's difficult to assess the true problem and form a proper solution or opinion. So ignorance is bliss, unless you're angry; then, some actions produce irreparable results. What we consider to be true of masculine and feminine are but a social construct, and so were the Jim Crow Laws.

Opinions are there to express thought and perspective, but once these things, in any form, manifest into the reality of excluding one person or an entire people, should we not, at that point, consider that creating a hegemony of thoughts and practices that affect so many people negatively be revisited?

Our answer may very well be no, until the shoes are no longer available to provide comfort and protection to our sensitive feet. And to decide that one person or group of people deserve such disadvantages is a look into a broken kaleidoscope dreaming of stars while staring at the clay.

So just how do we "Make America Great Again?" By investing in Americans (all of us). Do I propose a proper method of investment? Here's an idea: Instead of thinking about how to govern the country, I suggest we first learn to govern ourselves. I am president, CEO, employee, teacher, student, lover and child in my life, and "In God" I trust. Any infringements on this "country" (me) is in direct violation of the Peace Trade Agreement I signed when I showed up to life today. And you signed this agreement when you showed up to your life today, whether you know it or not. The universe is a vast network of macro and microcosms coexisting. You are your own individual network of magic and infinity. You are perfect.

Is there a standard of what is perfect? Seemingly, but this is only in relation to what is perfect for you. Selfish, right? Yes and no. It is silly to walk around this planet consumed with the idea that you are the only one who matters, but it is equally foolish not to think about your own needs and desires.
 This is that Peace Trade Agreement I spoke of earlier, the balance between my wants and needs in connection to yours. And this is where the problem lies. Someone has to be willing to sacrifice, right? But who and/or what? Just like the passing of the House Bill 1523, a bill seemingly implementing into law ideas or statues supposedly enforcing "a greater good" in a state, in a country where each individual has the right to believe as he or she sees fit, from a religion that supposes the offering of salvation, not the force feeding of it to people who are not hungry. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him, her or them drink.

Katherine E. Day, an author, filmmaker, and designer is native to Mississippi. She loves traveling, adventures, and gardening.

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