Death of the American Dream
©2013, Kirby Sanders
Yeah — in a way I could miss the 1950s. But only in childhood dreams.
I was born in 1952. It wasn’t easy. I was kind of sickly. But Davey Crockett, Daniel Boone and Lone Ranger on the radio and later on the teevee were good guys — righteous. So were Zorro and the Swamp Fox and Robin Hood. They defended the weak and downtrodden. They were voices for a growing nation — reliant in the knowledge that everyone’s efforts would be needed to bring a society to greatness. They gave me things to live for. Purposes and goals.
Frontier women were respected and strong figures. Often as fallible as the men themselves. NOT the June Cleavers who wore pearls to vacuum the living room. Those women were jokes (as were their weakling husbands).
Sometimes I still smile at old pictures of me in my kid get-ups as a cowboy or in scruffy slacks and a coonskin cap. I was barely aware of Joe McCarthy (Dad thought he was “nut” — and disillusioned with Eisenhower for not standing up.)
Moving into the 1960s, I thought John Wayne was a schmuck; Roy Rogers was a live-action cartoon — but Sky King and Penny were cool, as were Chuck Connors as “The Rifleman” and Crusader Rabbit. Crusader Rabbit was a cartoon cartoon that eventually morphed into Rocky and Bullwinkle and (one might argue) even later Calvin and Hobbes.
Come about 1963, I was 11-years old. President Kennedy was assassinated and the downtrodden were being murdered just for not being white. The police were hiding the murders (if not complicit) — and everything I learned from Davey and Daniel; Lone Ranger, Swamp Fox and Zorro; Chuck Connors started to appear as though it had been lies.
Through the latter 1960s and into the 1970s, the lies became blatant. Murders were perpetrated and hidden by the powerful. Vietnam was an obvious quagmire with no higher goal whatsoever. Nixon was a crook who declared “I am not a crook” – and a bunch of idiots bought it.
Come the 1980s, I saw Reagan parlay “voodoo economics” into a dismantling of the American economy — trading with enemies to enrich his own goals. By time of the Savings and Loan collapse, I had a small bit of money built up with which to pursue dreams. It disappeared overnight when new policies did what they were intended to do and tanked the small investors.
1990s – the Bushes built a power base on old school bigots, Nazi sympathy money and people who bombed doctors’ offices. The transformation was almost complete. America was no more.
The rich and powerful bought the nation — with the intention of driving it to ruin for their own profit. If you ain’t in — you ain’t gonna get there.
Yeah — in a way I could miss the 1950s. But only in childhood dreams. Contemporary TeaBag reality has strangled them all — gradually and intentionally.
RIP, Davey and Daniel and Zorro, Rifleman and Swamp Fox. We who remember will join you soon. The American Dream is over.