Decline of the great American experiment
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
When vanity overtakes liberty, the concept of freedom becomes nothing more than a fairy tale.
What if you woke up one day and realized that your nation and way of life were nothing but lies? Everyone seems oblivious to the obvious. We carry ourselves as drones mesmerized by promises that never bear long term fruit. In the United States, freedom is sold as an element interchangeable with our national identity. It is widely believed there is no other nation in the world that enjoys the same degree of freedom and liberty. The fact of the matter is that as a nation, the United States is based on a timeless idea. Naturally, we carry a great sense of hope in the maximization of our shared potential. The basis of which has evolved into the multicultural edifice of the nation. Definitively, what did the United States mean to our founding fathers? Did they imagine that three hundred years after the invention of the Great American Experiment it would become the world’s premier empire? Each generation is tasked to relearn and redefine the ideals of its past.
There is this assumption that history has a mind of its own and that in one way or another, it is bound to be repeated. Ironically, the United States has transformed into that same monolithic edifice its founding fathers sought to defeat.
Freedom is a relative term supported by ambiguous baggage. If we asked the generation that survived the Great Depression, freedom could be defined as being able bodied and employable. Nowadays, the concept of freedom has made us aloof to its existential meaning. The availability of information has overloaded us with an ability to define it. One consistent variable is that freedom is a term left deliberately abstract in a nation’s underbelly. It is to be defined by the people. As Americans, what have we done with our freedom? Are we to define freedom as mastering our capacity to be aggressive compulsive consumers?
It is thought the more we consume, the more advanced we become by virtue of that awesome effort that makes passive consumption possible. Consumer masterminds argue that material consumption is fed by a process that is self-recycling to the ever-changing needs of society. As long as we can reasonably consume based on what we can freely acquire, it is argued that we have freedom, but is that truly the case? What if consumerism is nothing but a paradigm of control to cultivate and manage a system of obedient serfdom? The liberation of a nation is achieved after a series of long arduous events drawn out over an extended period of time. When vanity overtakes liberty, the concept of freedom becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Perhaps the same could be said about the American Dream? Millions of people from every walk of life have tried to acquire a slice of that dream, but in the end, it consumes them absolutely and indefinitely.
People die on their deathbeds with regrets wishing they did something else with their lives without pursuing something foolishly superficial. The stuff of life loses its meaning without comprehensive purpose. We become enemies to ourselves based on the infinite expectations we extract from that dream. Thus, the Great American Dream has turned into the Great American Nightmare. We have entered a state where the United States has reinvented itself as a new nation: The United States of Debt Slavery. As a nation, we no longer value ideas in their rawest form. Your idea succeeds only in the event of its institutional endorsement. It is not about what you can do with ideas that are indisputably yours, but on how much you can regurgitate while falling in line. You only have one form of freedom and that is the freedom to be in perpetual debt to a system maintained by hegemonic overlords. They are your owners and they know it.
As much as you want to liberate yourself from its unforgiving tutelage, your day-to-day survival depends on it. In due time, we are fossilized by age and eventually become complacent with the way how things are. We commonly feel there is nothing we can do to reverse the standard order of things because it is thought that resistance is futile. As a result, you, as a free thinking person, cannot help but to feel hopelessly small in some way, shape, or form. That is where intoxicants, pharmaceutical medications, and legions of entertainment come into play. The masters of this paradigm have reached one conclusion; the longer we remain pacified, the longer we remain desensitized to a system of absolute control. The United States is internationally recognized as a paradigm to emulate based on the existential qualities that make the American Dream possible.
Yet, what is there to emulate in a system that exists as a contradiction to itself? What kind of example are we setting to the rest of the world as we drown our sorrows in abominations of material consumerism? It will only be a matter of time until the Americanization of the world turns it into an inhabitable wasteland, but maybe we are already there? Did America’s founding fathers envision a future where each citizen would one day be treated as an expendable container to be overstepped by the convoluted perplexities of law? Once we restore the value of individual liberty, the American Dream will indeed make a comeback. The notion of America was established on universal principles inalienable to all. The best way to redeem its pledge with the people is to restore the intelligence of the nation outside the controls of a select few. Hence, the best freedom is the freedom to think.
A culture of material consumerism overshadowed by a system of perpetual debt keeps the mind stultified. The storm clouds of decline are looming in the horizon, but once they arrive, will it be too late to make that revolutionary change to our national consciousness? A faceless system that ignores the people it serves will ultimately collapse from an infidelity of trust forged by a generation disillusioned with its institutional orthodoxy. A true nation is built and driven by the ideas and pursuits of its people and beyond. Once that is achieved maybe then America stands a chance of reclaiming its lost greatness?
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer, and a social activist.
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