We’ve all had them.
They both serve to awaken us in the darkest of night-times.
We call the loving ones dreams. The fulfillment of our best hopes. The presence of our dearest loved ones. The experience of our deepest desire.
We call the fearing ones nightmares. The fulfillment of our worst doubts. A walk through the valley of the shadow of death, a seat at the table in the presence of our enemies. The experience of our deepest dread.
Happens to us all as individuals.
Happens to us all as societies. Societies of nation states, in point of fact.
And it’s happening to American society today. As we speak. And write. And read. And watch.
We are a nation of dreams. And of nightmares.
Yet the very mystery of it all is that one American’s dream in these days and nights we live in becomes another American’s nightmare. Dreams of getting ahead. Nightmares of falling apart. Dreams of wealth. Nightmares of poverty. Dreams of success. Nightmares of failure. Dreams of safety and protection by police officers. Nightmares of danger and persecution instead.
Dreams vs. Nightmares. Winners vs. Losers. Privileged vs. Marginalized. Private Freedom vs. Common Good. Today’s America. Divided.
Our rich have gotten richer because our poor have gotten poorer. Notice I say “because.”
In a system of free-market capitalist economics, profits are increased by a mix of different efficiencies of scale. But they are increased even more, and I would declare to an obscene level, by the efficiency of cheap labor and low taxes and weak regulations or protections.
Okay. I can hear some of you right now.
You are already questioning my thinking where economics are concerned. Maybe you even question any connection between economics and dreams vs. nightmares. If so, you are certainly free to question. And I am free to answer.
Free-market capitalism is a nightmare for those who are not born into privilege. Those not born into marriages and families and communities where education and healthcare is a social right provided by the government for the common good (this being why government rightfully exists in the first place) are most definitely NOT born into privilege. Instead, they are born into a land of nightmares, fears, and failures.
So what’s the alternative?
You are free to answer to your own liking and system of beliefs. My answer, though, is fair-market capitalism. Fair profits through fair wages and fair laws regulating the common good and requiring fair taxes that are invested in dreams of education, healthcare, justice, and peace. NOT in nightmares of ignorance, disease, injustice, and war as used by, sadly, far too many free marketeers to achieve obscene profits for themselves at the expense of the poor.
It is my own educated guess that until we make this shift within our nation’s economic culture, we’ll not have a larger culture in which black and brown people will find their own American nightmare of death, whether by Covid or Cop, giving way to the dream of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.”
Any nation under God's loving influence and blessing will do more than just dream of liberty and justice for all. It will correct any impediment to such, starting with its own political and economic culture where power and profit for some comes from oppression and injustice for others. Under God we live with faith in love and doubt in fear, not with faith in fear and doubt in love. Under God, we all have the same privilege to love, to liberty, to justice. And to dream without the nightmare of today's America.