I have an active brain, and an active pre-toddler, so my current back-log of blog posts is hovering at around 8. I’ll get to them soon enough. For today, I want to lead with the one that weighs the heaviest on my mind.
I’m 32…No, that’s not the topic. I’m not panicking about that.
When I was younger, I had an idea of what my life would be like at 32. What I wanted to happen and be happening right now. I’m nowhere near that. Obviously, any dreams I made at 15 (when chat rooms were all the rage and cell phones weren’t a mandatory accessory) are irrelevant now in the Digital Age. Who could have forecast life in a world with 24/7 access to so many things? My 15 year-old-Self would be astounded. The world I was raised in and the world I find myself in are two totally different places. I straddle (hehe) two totally different worlds. Some days I don’t know what to do with that. And some days I think back on what I used to want and compare it to what I have. I’ve adjusted certain expectations, but there are a few things that I think, in American today, should still be the case. They’re not, and it’s a social failing that they’re not.
What I think should be a given in our society:
1) Medical care: I should be able to afford basic medical care without having to go into debt. I don’t mean brain surgery. I mean basic medical care. If I get strep throat, I shouldn’t have to re-think my grocery budget for the next two months. If I break an arm, I shouldn’t have to get a second job. IF I HAVE A BABY, I shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage. (Here I will note that it is practically impossible to get a health plan with maternity coverage. Because, you know, it’s not in anyone’s best interest for women and their babies to have access to affordable health care. Go
Team America Corporate Healthcare! Working great so far in the free market!)
2) College: It doesn’t have to be free, but unless you’re teaching me brain surgery, I shouldn’t be paying student loans off until past my retirement. Think “Good Will Hunting.” You know which scene I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen “Good Will Hunting,” then shame on you.
3) Housing: A roof over my head and working electricity and heat shouldn’t cost more than my firstborn. I’m not asking for a mansion. I’m asking for affordable housing that’s not in the ghetto and has some good schools nearby. No, that’s really not too much to ask.
Those are just my top three. Those are the bare-minimum-basics that I thought should be covered in the more affluent country in, oh, the history of the fucking planet. I’m not asking anyone to pay my way for me. But don’t set up a feudal system and then tell me it’s a fair, free market. And that, in case you’re paying attention, is exactly what we have. A feudal system.
Think about it. They- the ubiquitous “they”– make us feel like it’s our fault if we’re not succeeding. If we can’t afford certain things, we must not be trying hard enough. That’s the common wisdom. And it’s designed to keep us from looking closely at the system that we have. If you’re telling me that in the most affluent society in the history of ever, a two income family has to work 70 hour weeks to afford to save enough IN CASE one of them gets sick, then I think we need to rethink the social contract. A. Lot.
The American Dream used to be a house with a family and a comfortable life. Then it morphed in to riches and fame. I think we all know how that worked out. At this point, I’d settle for financial security for me, the Hubs and this little cherub:So I ask you, Dear Reader, as a non-rhetorical question:
What is your idea/vision of The American Dream?
Really, what would that be for you? What would it look like?