I was dressed in a long, white sequined gown that glittered and caught the light at every turn. My husband, Reg, wore a white tuxedo, gloves and an elegant tie. My gloved hand rested on his arm as we emerged from the limousine stepping onto the marble entryway of the towering mansion.
Our eyes traveled up the pillars to the shimmering windows which sent patterns of golden light showering down around us.
The valet drove the car away, and we walked to the door with our heels echoing the spaciousness of the place. The colossal doors swung open, and we entered to the sound of the announcement, “Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Tenney”.
Soon we were seated in a great banquet hall. Sweet aroma filled the air as we sat down at the elegant candlelit table shimmering with crystal and china. Steaming plates served by maids in black dresses adorned with white aprons and hats and waiters with towels draped over their arms. We should have been shocked at the silverware, for they were no bigger than toothpicks and the crystal goblets were the size of thimbles. Elegance precluded us from using our fingers. So we picked over our food with our minuscule silverware in the elegant setting, yet we starved for the want of nourishment.
When I woke up from my dream, the elegant dinner at the mansion seemed like a nightmare, or perhaps it was a vision with deep meaning. My dreams are often significant and symbolic representations of my life. As I pondered the dream, I could see the allegorical symbols unfold. The mansion with all its elegance represents the American dream and all its possibilities. Being guests at the table represents the God-given blessing of citizenship in this great land. The table symbolizes all the opportunities that belong to American life. The minuscule spoons, forks and goblets, represent the perceptions and educational enlightenment we bring to take advantage of the opportunities we are given, and finally the embarrassment of digging in with our fingers represents the aura of political correctness that hovers over our way of life, dictating that rising above the mediocre or status quo is an unforgivable offense. Socialistic equality permeates our way of life.
Children are taught that everyone must win equally. First, second and third prizes have given way to participation ribbons so that no one has hurt feelings. Token trophies are given to everyone on every team, and sometimes scores are not even kept so that the focus is on the game not the outcome. If there are no winners or losers, no one gets their feelings hurt and everyone is happy in a mediocre sort of way.
Classrooms expect every child to master every subject and are not rewarded to shine in their particular talent. It reminds me of the school for the animals where everyone was expected to do everything. The birds did well in flying, but they flunked the climbing class. The squirrels were great climbers, but they flunked the digging class. The bears were great summer school students, but they were lazy and didn’t participate in the winter. In such a school, no one really achieves success because all students are trying to be the master of all trades and become the master of none.
Some schools even insist that students wear uniforms so that everyone looks alike. Of course, the idea is to get away from gang attire, but uniforms are still a step for the direction of socialism and killing the individuality that is so precious to a free people.
The idea that everyone should be able to have everything everyone else has just because they were created equal is a dangerous philosophy, and it is destroying the American dream. The Constitution says that all men were created equal, but I have never read where the Constitution says that all men should remain equal throughout their lives no matter what they do.
The boy who sits in the shade hour after hour while the other boy works hard in the heat of the sun should not have an equal pay at the end of the day. Our lawmakers don’t seem to see the connection between work and incentive. The more the government plays Robin Hood with high taxes, the less incentive people have to pursue the American dream.
Shouldn’t we take care of the poor? Yes! As Christians that is one of our main responsibilities. The key word is our responsibility! The responsibility belongs to individuals not the government. When a person sees his neighbor in need, he gladly rushes out to help him and feels the reward of his generosity. If the government gives the handout, there is no reward for generosity. This way of giving simply engenders anger, resentment and closed eyes to the suffering of needy people.
If the government is going to help my neighbor, why should I bother? Do you think the good Samaritan would have stopped to help the beaten man, if he thought the government was right behind him and would reward him for his suffering with massive amounts of money? Do you think the beaten man would have wanted the Samaritan to stop if he would miss out on the government’s generous handout? Charity is a delicate commodity that must be fostered in the heart, not in the pocketbook.
When the worker continually supports the poor without the reward of the compassionate generous feeling of giving, he loses the incentive to achieve financial independence. Why work if all the reward is squandered on those who have no incentive to work? Why not join the ranks of the poor and have someone else take care of you?
Of course the American dream is alive and well in America. People can still pull themselves up by their boot straps. But the searing question remains: What about our children? What about tomorrow? As the older generation, we have been taught to work, achieve and meet challenges with a passionate desire to win. What about children who think there are no winners and losers? The trends and social morays are teaching our children that incentive to achieve higher and work harder is the path to inequality and inequality is bad. With that frightful mentality, what will the future be like?
Another frightening trend in our society that is stealing our American dream, is the idea that the government will solve all of our problems. When I was a kid, my parents were fiercely independent. They looked to their own two hands and hard work to solve their problems. My dad often held down two jobs in order to support his large family. He would no more have considered going on welfare than to jump off a cliff. My mother worked to fill in the places that my dad couldn’t fill because of time constraints. Mom planted a huge garden, driving a tractor and cultivating even when she was pregnant and tending two or three toddlers. If she became overburdened, she looked to the children for help in cleaning and cooking. We all worked together to achieve goals.
By contrast, children today often whine if they have to put the dishes in the dishwasher, run a vacuum over a carpeted floor or pick up the knee-deep clutter in their own bedrooms. They feel impoverished if they don’t have an iPod, MP3 player and a cell phone with games to occupy their time. Many young people don’t know what it’s like to get a blister from using a hoe or a rake. They think they are going to die if they have to walk a mile to school or if they don’t have a supply of cold cereal in the cupboard for breakfast.
Well, its not the kids’ fault; circumstances dictate that Mom and Dad both work so the kids can keep up with the Jones. Even Mom and Dad who don’t have any desire for their kids to keep up with the Jones are in peril. The taxes from a Robin Hood government make it difficult for Mom to stay home even when she wants to. Without Mom in the home, who is making the educational choices for the kids? Who is teaching the children a work ethic? You got it! The television and the Internet. They are poor replacements for a mother!
I wonder about the American dream of the future. Who will be the boot-strappers and the champions of the future? We live in a society where change is inevitable. Change is born in the home. “She who rocks the cradle, rules the nation.” I’m not sure who said that, but I know it’s true. Women who have the most influence are the ones who are at home sacrificing the good life so their children can have something better. Not the trappings of wealth, but the passionate desire to realize and save the American dream so that it does not become a fantasy of long-forgotten days or a nightmare of beggars running to and fro searching for what they can never posses because they believe it is unattainable.
God bless the American dream and mothers who will keep it alive and well! PD