The American Dream

It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

– George Carlin, Owners of This Country

The American Dream is a bizarre paradox that holds the weight of American success. It works, sometimes. It allows the forlorn to hope, the dejected to dream, the downhearted to act, and the achievers to stress. The American Dream insists that the status quo is indeed not enough, that there is more, and that if you don’t get that more you’ve failed yourself and your society.

But what is that more? When have you attained it?

The answer to the second question is simple: You can’t. You can’t attain it, because you can’t define it. And you can’t define it, because as soon as you’ve defined the American Dream you’ve lost it.

So we fight a blind battle, searching and lusting for something more, something else, something better… We obtain the better, we get the more, but only to find another better and another more lies just down the road.

We try to make something of ourselves, something great, something big. A name, or recognition. Something, anything. Anything that will leave our own unique mark on the planet; anything that will allow us to feel like we haven’t wasted our life. We don’t know who we are, so we attempt to follow those who, in our minds, have achieved the American Dream. Perhaps becoming the next American Idol? Thousands upon thousands of people were shown last week on national TV attempting to be just that. The catch? Most of them can’t sing. Have they failed in the American Dream? Or a better question…Can you win the American Dream? No. No, you can’t.

I imagine if you walked up to previous American Idols and asked them if they’ve succeeded in life, completed all their goals, and feel completely content with where their life is at they’ll answer “no.” There’s always something on the horizon, something new and better. A carrot dangling on a stick just inches out of reach, and no matter how far you go it’s never far enough, the carrot’s still there, still just out of reach.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Success has become the postmodern Law. Much like what the Biblical Old Testament Law gave many of the Israelites, success gives us purpose and motivation. Most of us, like the Old Testament spiritual leaders with the Law, define ourselves by our success compared to that of others.

But just like Israel did with the Law, we again miss the point. In a society where self-help books have their own section in Borders and Joel Osteen can get millions to watch him speak, where supermodels starve themselves and still need to be photoshopped, and where our millionaire stars check themselves into rehabs; we’ve obviously never been able to beat the American Dream.

But maybe, just maybe, we’re not supposed to.

The American Pledge of Appliance

Let’s face it, the American Pledge of Allegiance…Great idea, rotten execution. Yet, it sounds so good we like to say it anyway.

The problem is, every time we recite it we end up lying through our teeth. I’ve decided to solve this problem, so I’ve come up with a new pledge which I would like to introduce to you all today.

I give you, the American Pledge of Appliance.

I pledge allegiance when I feel like it,
To the flag which I may now burn.
Of the Two Nations of America that switch places every 4-8 years,
And to the Fake Democracy for which it never stood,
Two Nations;
We are gods;
With stupidity and tolerance for all.

So now that you won…What are you going to do?

We all know the Democrats took the House…but does anybody know what they want to do? Because I’m thinking about it, and I can’t really figure it out. Maybe I’m just stupid, but I sure as hell can’t find a plan anywhere other than “change what’s already working and keep complaining about what we can’t fix.”

Here’s what I’m seeing:

  • For the past two years, the Democrats’ main goal has been to complain as much as possible so that maybe by election time somebody will be annoyed enough to vote for them (sort of the telemarketer approach).
  • The economy has been record high, so they focus on Bush’s foreign policy–mainly by using the point that he hasn’t shared much of a plan.
  • They complain enough and win the mid-term elections.
  • They still don’t have any control over foreign policy, and the economy is already record high.

So let me get this straight…They won on the basis that they’re going to change things, but the only things that they can change are already higher than they’ve been for years?

And just curious…has anybody here actually heard their plan?

To Dream of Never-Ending Things…

What if we actually cared?

What if “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” was more than a catchphrase?

What if we really tried to love our neighbors as ourselves?

What if we learned to love ourselves?

What if we desired to change what isn’t right?

What if we took the unjust and fixed it?

What if passion became the norm?

What if hate didn’t exist?

What if everybody lived each day like their last?

What if everybody lived each moment as their last?

What if we believed in ourselves even when nobody else did?

What if failure wasn’t feared?

What if time wasn’t an issue?

What if we were willing to sacrifice?

What if we kept trying?

What if we followed what we believed?

What if we dreamed the impossible, but tried anyway?

A New Kind of Justice

As I established in Justice, everybody cries for justice, but nobody seems to want real justice. We cheer when Saddam Hussein is captured then fight million dollar battles when the RIAA cracks down. We bitch and whine when things aren’t fair for us, and we at least pretend to want things fair for others. Or we pretend as long as we don’t have to do anything about them, anyway–at least until life is perfect for us.

That’s not justice. Yet, we still cry for it.

Around 2000 years ago, this carpenter showed up claiming to be sent by God. Nobody really knew what He was doing, but the general consensus seemed to be that He was the Messiah, here to kick Rome’s ass.

In short, this guy was finally bringing the justice that Israel had been crying for. Finally, He was bringing the justice they deserved. The dream, the prophecy, the fall of Rome that kept them living was finally coming true.

But it didn’t.

He didn’t save them from the Romans; He just said some bizarre things then got himself killed. What kind of Justice is that?

Or maybe, if anybody listened to what He actually said, somebody would’ve realized that this guy didn’t come to fulfill their sense of justice at all.

I mean, come on…”Turn the other cheek”? What’s up with that? That’s not just.

“If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.” That’s not just.

“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” I say whoever compels you to go one mile, jump on his back and ride the rest of the way. THAT’S justice.

Matthew 5:43-44

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”

If that’s God’s sense of justice, He has to have the crappiest sense of justice I’ve ever heard.

Unless the same, and more, has already been done for us.

Because let’s face it, if true justice was given, we’d be damned in an instant. God, of course, knew this. Jesus knew that for true justice to happen (and it would happen), somebody had to pay. Somebody was going to pay. Jesus was willing to pay.

He was willing to sacrifice the fairness that was due to Him. He was willing to forfeit all of that, and He did.

I wonder, what would happen if we were willing to forget about the fairness due to us?

The Cost of Honesty (Or, “Why I Never Lie and Why the Truth is Overrated”)

Lately I’ve come to realize that in our society, the worst possible thing that I can do for myself is tell somebody what I really think. Most of us understand this. We’re masters of creative distortion, persuasive evasion, and selective truthfulness. But we never lie–no, we’d never steep as low as that–we’re just not honest.

See, lies are way too fragile. It takes a George Costanza to really pull those off. Hell, even Clinton had trouble eventually. However, with selective truthfulness, even amateurs can fool the polygraph. It’s simple: We tell the truth but leave out the parts we’d like to live without.

I’m sure you already know how to do it. Without this technique, most of us would be dead by now.

For example, say somebody shows you some of their artwork:

“So, what do you think?”

What is it? Looks like a train wreck. “Very interesting…Really makes the mind wonder.”

Told absolute truth. How they interpret this truth is completely up to them. As Costanza himself would say, “Jerry, just remember: It’s not a lie… if you believe it.” That’s why this works so well. You get out of trouble, don’t have to lie (guilt free!), and even better…it’s so easy.

Picture the scene. Somebody important invites you over for dinner; this is your big chance.

“So, did you like the dinner?”

Holy crap…I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep this down for the next hour. Or if I do, I’m definitely going to die.
“I’ve never had anything like it! That meat was really interesting.”
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as blue pork…

Tricks like these can save lives. Not just vague, other-side-of-the-world, somebody else “lives,” either…we’re talking yours and mine.

“Does this make me look fat?”

Hey, it’s not the clothes’ fault. “No, nothing makes you look fat.”

But in order to use this technique, there is a certain pride issue that one has to get over. Namely, one needs to convince him or herself that their personal thoughts and opinions 1) aren’t worth telling and 2) aren’t funny.

But this I just cannot do. They’re good, and I don’t aim to waste them. Which is also why I don’t have a girlfriend yet two moderately successful blogs.

With Liberty and Tolerance For All

Today’s tolerance is fashionable and considerate, the mark of a truly educated person. Being fashionable, considerate, and educated myself, I believe in tolerance to the highest degree.

America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, has given me a wonderful example of what tolerance looks like. As we relentlessly tell everyone everywhere, America is a deeply tolerant country. Our citizens have the freedom to burn the American flag because we tolerate all of us who stand against us. We fought a hard battle to remove the 10 Commandments from court rooms because we must be tolerant towards those of us who are offended by fools.

That’s how we keep our country so tolerant. It works extraordinarily well, and no true, educated American would dare offend another person or organization–our lawyers make sure of that. Those jackasses are too into their religion to take the 10 Commandments down? Throw ’em in the slammer. That’s tolerance for you.

Our foreign policy lacks tolerance, however. If tolerance is truly all it’s cracked up to be (and they tell me it is), then surely that’s the answer to all of our problems.

We just need to be more tolerant of terrorists.

Surely that would solve things. After all, it’s what any educated person would do. We simply must realize that Al Qaeda just wants Heaven too, and North Korea…Well, who knows.

Besides, I haven’t seen good fireworks in quite some time.

Sports for the Al Qaeda World

It’s obvious that the Muslim extremists hate us, you needn’t to tell me that. What I want to know, though, is why.

Is it just because we’re Americans? Couldn’t be. How could somebody hate a country that has hamburgers, baseball, and more nukes than you can imagine? It’s impossible.

Or could it be because there are so many Christians in America? I say no. Think about it from a terrorist’s perspective: If your whole point in killing people is so that you can get to Heaven and have a chance at those 72 virgins, wouldn’t it be smarter to kill people who are more likely to turn terrorist? Better chances for yourself that way.

I think the real reason they’re always so angry is because of the lack of radical Islamic sports. They just need a creative path to channel all of that hatred to. If we can give them a way to blow off all that steam in a safe-for-us manner, they’d be much happier.

Baseball isn’t going to do it, they’re too smart for that. Where’s the violence?

Boxing’s no good–no uniforms. Everybody knows that Al Qaeda loves uniforms.

So, I think they need their own special sport–it could even be something like a reality show. Here’s one option that I can think of:

Scary video contest. Much like our American Idol, contestants would go for months without taking a shower or shaving, then would stand in front of blank walls holding AK47s and say scary things. You get extra points if you’re already dead by the time the video is shown, and Osama Bin Laden would judge. The loser gets shot (what good is a sport without a little bit of risk, I say). The only problem with this one is that if you’re dead before the video is shown and you loose, they can’t really shoot you.

Any other ideas?

The Truth About Sports

I used to do sports. When I was 7 I played baseball; did that for about 6 years. Did soccer a couple of times.

I remember those first few years, t-ball, hot dogs…confusion. I also remember quite clearly what the coaches would constantly tell us:

It’s just a game!

We didn’t believe them, of course. They won’t tell us the score? Then we’ll keep track ourselves.

But this is what they wanted.

Because the next season, everything is suddenly backwards. The coaches are yelling and swearing, meanwhile the players are telling the coaches, “It’s just a game!”

To many, this whole ordeal would probably be a confusing thing. However, I’ve been able to figure it all out. The first couple of years, you know, the ones where it’s “just a game”–those are there to get you hooked. If you continue playing for a couple of years, then they figure that you’re ready for the truth.

But they don’t really tell you the truth. Or the whole truth, anyway. You think it’s the truth, you believe it’s the truth. Most people, in fact, still do believe that this is the truth. The whole US Government still believes this, as does Japan’s. What they tell you is that it’s not really a game, it’s your life. You need this, your future depends upon it. That even you can be a winner.

This, of course, is bullshit. There are no real “winners” in sports. Actually, let me take that back. There are winners in sports, but most people would never guess them. But I’ll tell you who they are: Drug dealers, and the countries that don’t participate.

Those are your real winners.

Drug dealers, pretty self explanatory. I think that they are actually the ones that started this whole “sports” thing and came up with the confusing introduction to the game. I mean they are masters of addiction, are they not? So what would be better than to create an addiction that will start another addiction that they can sell products to feed? It’s complicated, it’s confusing, it’s genius. Who would’ve guessed?

The non-participants are also winners. Why? Because they’re several billion dollars richer and several times smarter. You see, while we’re plunking millions into training somebody to kick a plastic ball, they can use this money to do much more important things. Like say, build nukes.

Kim Jong Il sucks at poker.

Regarding the whole North Korea thing, I think Kim Jong Il could have something going for him, but he really needs to work on this a little bit more. When you’re playing with the pros, you’d better know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you’ll get wasted. Literally. And lets face it, Kim Jong Il obviously sucks at this.

When you’re at the table, image is everything. As such, the guy’s going to need a name change. I mean c’mon… Kim? Isn’t that a girl’s name?

If you want to be a pro, you gotta look like one. This means that you can’t have a poker face like Kermit the Frog with a name already taken by a piece-of-crap Disney show. I hear name changes aren’t too expensive here in the US, so I’m sure that when you’re god of North Korea you can get them for practically nothing.

That is, of course, unless he (or is it a “she”?) is going for the Miss Piggy look, which I can definitely see on him…But lets face it, if you’re going to do the look, you need to do the moves. Nukes just won’t cut it.

Now second of all, what are you going to do when even China hates you? Kim seems to think that bluffing is a good tactic here. In order to prove he’s no sissy, he launches 7 nukes against stern warnings from the US and Japan. Now, this would’ve been a spectacular bluff, except for one little problem: The freakin’ thing broke 45 seconds into flight.

Talk about embarrassing.