Sunday, July 16, 2006

The American Dream

Sunny - Hi 113 Lo 87 for Baghdad, Iraq (yeah, but it's a dry heat...)
Sunny - Hi 95 Lo 71 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Georgia On My Mind,
Ray Charles


I've never been one to remember my dreams... in fact the few that I remember are usually bad dreams or in some instances would be considered nightmares... That might possibly be why I've never been one to dream about personal wants... Yes, of course, I've had goals and objectives and together with Michael we have worked towards those goals. We are pretty happy with what we have accomplished in life. I on the other hand take little satisfaction in the achievements we have made... But I digress... My focus is on dreams...

I suppose I find inspiration from those that can dream and make those dreams a reality and in turn make this world a better place.

I chose this Sunday's song because Ray Charles is one of my favorite musicians. His voice is so full of passion, always with a little bit of melancholy around the edges. If you haven't seen the movie, Ray, starring Jamie Fox, I urge you to rent it. The life and times of Ray Charles was a microcosm of the American Dream.

Just what is the American Dream? In an essay from 1973 (which I strongly urge you to read), John E. Nestler wrote:

"The American Dream. The term has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? At one time, people were proud to believe in it, Horatio Alger was a national hero, Europeans dreamed of the day when they could migrate to the land of opportunity. But now the American Dream is no longer a subject of admiration. Instead, the use of the term is confined to satiric remarks, those who believe in it are considered naive, and to be proud of it is proof of romantic sentimentality.

I believe this change to be due to a metamorphosis of the American Dream itself -this as a result of a change in the American mentality. [...]

Let us compare this view of the American Dream with that of today. Whereas the American Dream was once equated with certain principles of freedom, it is now equated with things. The American Dream has undergone a metamorphosis from principles to materialism.

[...] Decades ago, a man would have said he wanted a day's wages for a day's work. Wasn't that materialism? No, because what was being emphasized was that each man, as a free and individual agent, has the right to as much as the market will pay for his efforts. Today, a man would say merely that he has a right to live comfortably; the fact that comfort must be earned is ignored; the question of whether the person is deserving of comfort never arises."

Read the entire essay here. This essay, truly is a must read. Please,

Each of us privileged to call the United States home was given a great gift... We were given an opportunity to live a life in freedom and with liberty. We have been given the opportunity to work hard and be successful--- what ever your definition of success may be. We have been given the opportunity to live as we please, to worship as we please or to not worship at all.

In pursuing the American Dream, we must remember it comes with great responsibility. Our freedom and liberty came at the price of brave men willing to die to keep the dream alive.

All this is a reflection of what we are seeing throughout the world right now. There are those that want to see this country and those that stand beside us fall...

So, back to Ray Charles... He was born under the most difficult of circumstances... He was born into poverty, suffered great loss in his childhood, lost his eye sight at a young age. He was taught to be self sufficient despite his handicap and to never accept a hand out. Ray Charles endured prejudice, but kept on with his dream. Like America, Ray Charles was not perfect... He had his own personal demons to deal with... And despite all the obstacles he faced throughout his life... Ray Charles lived the American Dream- Ray Charles was the American Dream.

The state of Georgia which denied him as a son all those years finally recognized him... and in 1979, Georgia on My Mind became Georgia's State Song...

We live in an amazing country. NO... we aren't perfect... far from it... but the wonderful thing is that we always have the opportunity to correct our mistakes and we do!!

I stand and want to be counted... I love this country... I'm willing to defend her --imperfections and all... I love the American Dream...


Happy Anniversary Mom and Papaw!!
63 years!!
Sixty Three Years is a long time!! And they said it wouldn't last...
Words can not express how much I love you both.

For Michele:

Arigato, Grazie, Danke, Gracias, Dank u, and Thank you!!!!

Some of you may have noticed my blog looks a little different... some of you have noticed that my blog loads a lot faster... some of you have even noticed that my blog looks okie dokie not only in Internet Explorer, but in Firefox as well... One of you even commented, " I didn't realize how much I hated those polka dots." (Reeaalllll nice, Rob... :-))

Well... I wish I could say that it was me... I did it all... I made the changes.... HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

But alas, it wasn't me... Michele from Blogging Chicks, Michele from Reformed Chicks Blabbing and Michele from Life Under the Sun took pity upon this poor girl and last Sunday...

Cath, who is this Michele person? Well, I'll tell ya... she is one nice chick... (or she just got tired of my whining)... ;-)

Sincerely-- Michele--- Thank you. So, very cool of you to do this until I get the other place set up. I don't feel I need to move anymore... ya know? Now once you have caught your breath, I'm going to need to ask you some questions... I want to rearrange a couple of things, but need a roadmap to understanding HTML.... ;-))

Anyway...please, go stop by one of Michele's places and send her thanks!!

Blogging Chicks
Reformed Chicks Blabbing
Life Under the Sun

Have a great week everyone!


Shna said...

Reading my way through the BC Carnival!

Great post, the Ray Charles story is so inspiring.

Congrats on the new look :)

Mike said...

Looks great honey.... needs more green ;)

Mama Duck said...

Lovely carnival post, I hope all your dreams come true! I would have something, but a disaster of chocolate pudding got in my way...

Gina said...

Very thoughtful post. I have struggled over the past 3 or 4 years with how I feel about the "American Dream" and what that really means. I have tried to focus more on "God's Kingdom Dream" lately. It feels good to be "free" of the "American Dream." Ironic - huh?

Malissa said...

thank you for sharing.

Visiting from the BC Carnival

Karmyn R said...

Great post - nice perspective.

michele said...

Email me next Sunday and I'll try to help.

And 63 years is a long time!

Laura said...

The blog's looking great! Very exciting. Love your Ray Charles music. :)

Best wishes, Laura (celebrating my one-year bloggiversary today, we began blogging very close in time!)

CyberCelt said...

Here from BC on this C&C Monday. Great post on Ray Charles.

Otimaster said...

Give a little Help to your Italian friends

Our country has a new government which pretend itself democratic but is trying to move into a socialist dictatorship.

Violations of the rules of the democracy happens every day and the magistracy is used as an arm against the political opponents.
The Communists that are 60% of the coalition of left want to vote against the financing of the military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, sorry if we will not be able to respect the promises made to your country.
The commanders of our Internal Security Services who helped the CIA to capture a terrorist are now moved from their role and inquires because what they did has been considered illegal.
The government has moved the commanders of the financial police that were inquiring on the red cooperatives.
These are some of the things that happen in our country.
Please read our blog for further information, if you want publish our appeal, take it read to your politicians, help us to convince our politicians to respect the democracy.

God Bless You

Cathy said...

I'll have something posted tonight, Roberto! Carlo emailed me to... Anything for my Italian friends.