Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is the American dream dead?

Johann Wagener 8-21-13

Dreams don't die; really. Since they only exist somewhere in that blob of grey matter between your ears, they just disappear when you wake up. What is happening now is that many more Americans are waking up and staring right into the stark and painful reality that many of us so desperately work at avoiding; using drugs, booze, sex or anything else those that operate the "dream-weaving" machine dole out.  Sort of like leaving Disneyland, walking through an ocean of cars, jumping into yours and getting freeway ramp; a place where being wide awake and alert is a must and tuning out to reality needs to be put on hold at least until you get home where you can safely distract yourself once more and join ranks with the "walking dead".

Two American Families – FRONTLINE

It’s a central premise of the American dream: If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be able to make a living and build a better life for your children.

But what if working hard isn’t enough to ensure success—or even the basics of daily life?

FRONTLINE and Bill Moyers explore that question tonight in Two American Families, a special 90-minute documentary that was more than two decades in the making—and that The New Yorker says "will take its place among the central documents of our time."

In Two American Families, Moyers revisits the Neumanns and Stanleys, whom we first met in his 1992 PBS documentary Minimum Wages: The New Economy. Back then, the breadwinners in both families had just been laid off from well-paying factory jobs after corporate downsizing.

With poignant and revealing intimacy, Two American Families chronicles the Neumanns' and Stanleys' struggles from 1992 up through the present as they try to hold onto their homes, their jobs and a future for their children.

Where are they now? Have their efforts paid off? And what does their story say about the fate of the middle class in the new American economy?