The Late Great American Dream

By Denise Gibel Molini

For some reason, I have been dealing with writer’s block for a while, but this seems so important to put out there that I had to express my concern.  Sunday, I was watching 60 minutes.  They aired a segment on robots that were doing the work of employees in the manufacturing industry.  The experts said, in that segment, that in the near future, robots would fill the jobs brought back from China and other areas of the world.  When we go to the supermarket, we see more and more that self-service lanes are replacing cashiers.  Even garbage trucks have arms that lift and dump the garbage into the truck.  It is no stretch to imagine that robots will soon be able to stock the shelves in the stores and, as moving computers, be much better at advising consumers the precise location of any item on any shelf in any store.

In Florida, the Sun Pass is taking the place of tollbooth attendants.  We have automated telephone operators, automated customer service, self-service gas stations, automated parking lots, and e readers.  It is no giant leap to envision automated buses and trains.  We already have automated bank tellers.  And in case Hollywood has not noticed, the actor will soon be replaced by automated characters, without in anyway effecting the box office receipts, as seen by the movie Avatar.

The technological advances that we once hailed as devices that would make the jobs of workers easier, are replacing those same workers and then some.  If we continue in the direction that technology is leading us, we will arrive at the destination we fear most.  Every medical, military, industrial, commercial, educational, service oriented advance that we have made with technology, from the Gutenberg printing press, has inevitably eliminated jobs.

Einstein did what he loved, and in his heart, he imagined that his work would ultimately be in service to mankind, never did it occur to him that it would be used to destroy it.  Invention is form of art.  The inventor is inspired to create.  The inventor is carried away by the invention and never, in the end, does he or she consider that it is taking us closer and closer to the elimination of our basic ability to survive.

If we make the effort to move, for a moment, away from our awe in what we are able to create, we will realize that each creation brings us closer and closer to our irreverence.  We seem intent on destroying ourselves and all that we believe in.  It says that art imitates life, but I think that is not the case.  Art gives us a glimpse into our possible futures.

Some will remember the television show, “Touched by an Angel”.  It did not really impact me that the head angel was Black.  However, when they finally brought us face to face with God, and He was Black – it was in that moment that I knew I would live to see a Black President.  This was only later supported by the fact that it seemed from then on, every time I saw a depiction of God in a movie it was Morgan Freeman, and when he was not playing God, he was busy playing the President.

How many movies today depict the takeover of computers, the ultimate enemy of mankind being none other than mankind’s own technological creations.   If we can even remember, those of us who were not educated to memorize, but to think, imagine, and envision, what the possible symbolism might be hidden in our obsession with blood sucking vampires, or the walking dead feeding on each other?  Leonardo Da Vinci, Nostradamus, Jules Vern, just to name a few who peaked into the possible means to our own end.

Perhaps the true prophets of our age, are the writers of these movies and television shows that we perceive as entertainment.  Perhaps we should take heed of the repetitive theme of the need for individuals from the future to return to our present to change the course that lead to our end, and find a way to change that course, NOW.

It is our nature to create, explore and expand, that cannot and should not be curtailed.  It is our unalienable right.  And I do not believe that it in itself is the means of our destroying the quality of life we so deeply cherish and pray to leave for our children and grandchildren.  I do believe, that the use of that gift, for financial profit, power or supremacy, is what will guarantee that our children and grandchildren will have only one dream left by us, and that dream will be to survive just one more day.

Barack Obama – A Guiding Star

It is difficult to know how to process the idea that a presidential candidate can fill a stadium to the same capacity as a rock star. But think about it, how does a rocker become a rock star? It’s all about the music. Before we see their faces, we hear their music – and if the music hits us in just that certain way, if it makes us feel something that other music does not make us feel – we become captivated. When we see the singer or group, we want to feel that we can believe that the music and the instrument are one. If they are, it brings us a sense of peace, if they are not, regardless of the music or the instrument that it comes from we feel a discord. We want our apples from an apple tree. We may love oak trees, but we will never trust an apple if it comes from one.

Barack Obama looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting who overdosed on bronzers. He looks like Huckleberry Fin out in the sun too long. He just looks like an average American. From his first speech at the Democratic National Convention, his story sounds like a story out of the “American Dream Book”:

“My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”

Black people say that he wouldn’t face the problems that he faces if he were White. White people say that he wouldn’t get the attention that he gets if he were White. There are Black people who don’t trust him because he is not Black enough. There are White people who don’t trust him because he is too Black. Still he packs them in from both races.

I worked in the Title Insurance industry it had functioned the same way for decades. Because it was different than other industries and very set in its ways of functioning, it almost always hired from within. When I first tried to get a job there at a company in that business I was told that it was just too costly to train someone from the outside. Years later I entered the industry as a temp and ended up making it a career. When my Boss was asked to open his own office, he put me in charge of staffing.

The majority of the staff that I hired were, like I was, from outside the industry. This was because I felt that the way the industry functioned was outdated and financially wasteful. I was not going to hire a staff from within the industry because it would be too costly to untrain them. Experience is just another word for habit. If someone is experienced in doing things in a system that is failing, it merely means that they are experienced at working within a failing system. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. No system can be changed by the same level of consciousness that created it either. If we want a change – we must look outside of the box. And you can’t get more outside of the box than Barak Obama And yet, at the same time he exemplifies the best of the box, he represents the purest form of the American Dream. He is not anti-war, not a peacenik. In that same speech in 2004, he said:

“I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.
Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.”

Yes, he is outside of the box, but think about it, isn’t the outside of the box supposed to let you know what is inside? How does he represent what is inside the box of the United States of America?
He says this:

“…If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.
If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.
If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.
It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

…“I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.”

Those who fear the fact that this country is a melting pot fear Barack Obama – he is the product of our melting pot. But he is not a superstar. He is the appropriate voice for the message that our forefathers created 222 years ago when they met to define our country. He is not a superstar, we gather around the world to hear him speak, partly because his is a message that we, the people of the world, need desperately to believe in again. Yet, it is even more than that – more than anything it is because that little voice inside of each of us tells us that he believes his message. He believes that we can be more than the capital of Capitalism. He believes that we can be, once again, “One Nation, under God – Indivisible… with Liberty and Justice for All.” And most of all, he believes in us. We are in very dark times – we don’t need someone who does the same thing in a different way. We don’t need someone experienced in what it takes to get to where we are, because where we are is lost. We need someone inexperienced in the system that is faulty – we need someone who believes in the spirit of our country, and has the foresight to recreate the system so that it mirrors that spirit, uncorrupted by experts. We need a star to guide us out of the darkness of despair with his belief – his hope – his vision. Someone who believes that each and everyone of us are better than what we have been promised and even more than that – better than what we have been given.