What the world has come to perceive as the “ideology of Americanism” over the past 150 years boils down to the much-longed-for American Dream. The Americans were brought up to believe that life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone willing to work hard for it. Social optimism has been a distinctive feature of an American. Whenever asked “How are you?” an American would invariably answer “Fine”, and generations of Americans lived by the “keep smiling” principle for centuries.
In light of this, all the more so shocking were recently published reports that more than 50 percent of Americans, or every second respondent, believe that their kids will be worse off and that there is no point in “keeping a smile”. American trade union leader Tom Woodruff has acknowledged with bitterness that this is something the country has never witnessed before.
Dry accuracy is crucial for statistics. But this case is not about statistical charts or reports. The matter is that the cornerstone of American ideology has cracked under the burden of everyday life.
The optimism, so typical of America and Americans, is vanishing, and belief in a better future for kids is waning too. According to an official report by the US Department of Agriculture, 50 million people have no reason for being optimistic as they lack the resources to buy their daily bread.
Other statistical reports are equally alarming.30 million Americans are unemployed or have part-time jobs. Every seventh family cannot afford a mortgage loan and is on the verge of losing the main component of the American Dream – a privately owned house.
The so-called “Affluent Society” is bogged down in debt, with the US state debt reaching an astronomical 13 trillion dollars. Reports by the US Treasury Department say that every American, including elderly people and children, owes 42 thousand dollars and that this debt will draw a heavy burden on at least two generations to come. In this respect, hopes by proponents of the American Dream that the future generations will live better and fuller lives are groundless.
Bad news has been haunting the Americans. The Wall Street crisis provoked by the bankers claimed 17 trillion dollars, Iraq and Afghanistan bear heavily on taxpayers, and natural disasters are rocking the country.
Though severe, these disasters are minor as compared to the not yet fully acknowledged demise of the American Dream.