OWS and the Death of the American Dream

Every generation or so, a few stand up to try and work things over; to right the wrongs, cure the ills, and set things on a path to decency. But for all their efforts, they aren’t able to turn off the machine. 

The hippies of the 1960s came the closest, but even they failed. Now it is the Occupy Movement, which doesn’t seem to know just which lever to pull. 

The hippies failed because they wanted to create a utopia, and of all the times it has been tried, it has never taken. Although they managed to point out the problems of this country to Americans everywhere, they were never able to mobilize those who mattered: rich, white businessmen, the Texas mafia, the Swiss bankers, the movers and shakers who built this teetering system but will never let it fall over, no matter the cost to others. Maybe it was the LSD craze, Nixon, rabid conservative media spinners, or Charles Manson, but the traditional hippie movement died with its decade, along with many of its idols.

The Occupy Movement hasn’t yet lived for as long as the hippie movement did, but it seems to be suffering many of the same setbacks. The mainstream media covers the freaks in masks, the people’s library, and the drum circles. Then when things get ugly, they frame the occupiers as the troublemakers and make ritualistic beatings by the police look deserved.

Whether the beatings continue May 1st, as the movement plans to protest the arrest of 73 activists in Zuccotti park is immaterial. The American people simply won't be moved by it. Beatings of young people protesting the errors of our ways can never compete with such vapid, voyeur-frenzied dreck as Teen Mom, Toddlers in Tiaras, or Hillbilly Handfishin’.

Where did we lose hold of things? Of all the potential this nation has to be the light at the end of the tunnel for the suffering, the poor, the miserable, and the wretched, we have shown the world instead that we are the root of the problem; the first cell at the center of a giant organism that has chewed up and spit out everything that crosses its path. Unless of course that organism is willing to privatize, globalize, and deregulate until it is unrecognizable from its original form.

Hunter S Thompson said it best, and no better words have been spoken since to describe the nation that America has become:

“This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves, finally just lay back and say it: We are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

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Joseph Sarkisian

Joseph graduated with a Master of Science in international relations from the University of Massachusetts Boston and was an intern at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC. He completed his BA at Arizona State University in political science as well as studied Arabic language, terrorism/counterterrorism, and religion. Joseph also lived in Egypt where he studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo in 2007. Joseph was the Secretary of the Executive Committee for the University of Massachusetts Graduate Student Government, a teaching assistant in his department, and teaches a class on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. His main areas of interest are the Af/Pak region, Iran, Syria, and other current foreign policy issues.

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