An American Dreamin

Does anyone remember the “Peace Dividend” we were supposed to get after the cold war? Am I the only one whose check is still in the mail? We heard that all the money we were spending on bombs and missiles would go into education, hospitals and domestic improvement for crumbling infrastructure. Then we were told that we would have to pay billions to the former Soviet Union to secure their nuclear arsenal and “pay-off” disillusioned Russian scientists. In other words, the checks may be slow in coming. I am still waiting for mine.

Then there was the promise of NAFTA. Remember all the jobs that were supposed to be created as we cleared away our aging textile mills, rusting factories, and blue-collar workers to make way for all the white collar jobs of the information age and service economy? Pardon me, but did I miss something? Did I fall asleep and fail to see the political promises bloom? Did I sleep through some economic springtime and summer, only to wake-up to a financial nuclear winter? What happened to Sam Walton and his promise to sell all American products? Was not that the reason for his red, white, and blue color scheme? I must have dozed off. Say, did I hear correctly that the President of Mexico is demanding American rights for its Mexican Citizens including driver’s licenses? And what’s this about Communist China (let me say that again, Communist China) buying IBM?

Should I be waiting for Rod Serling to say something? I know that he is behind all this. What a jokester. Wait a minute. It is really 1962 and I am in the middle of a bad dream. I must have also dreamed that I was sent to Vietnam to keep the dominos from falling. I must have dreamt that nearly sixty thousand body bags were needed to bring home our army. I must have dreamt that our Presidents were just politicians and not Statesmen. One said, “I am not a crook.” One said, “I did not sleep with that woman.” And one, in a kind of Falini movie, seemed to be kissing and holding hands with a Saudi Sheik, before I heard the first lady standing at a microphone and joking that she and the Secretary of State went to Chippendales.

Yes a dream. I think I must have fallen asleep with “California Dreamin” playing on the radio, and now there is a Cali-fornia Governor speaking with a thick Hungarian accent who married into President JFK’s family and is talking about Social Security not having enough money to pay for my retirement. This is a dream, right? That’s okay. If this is just a bad dream, I will soon wake up and the American Dream will still be alive and well. I will still be just 16 and still have time to invest in Plastics with Dustin Hoffman. Social Security will still be solvent and my future sound. The United States will not be a the world’s largest debtor nation, and two incomes will not be necessary to live as my father did on one. That of course, is if this is just a dream.